Some physicians think modern society is afflicted with back troubles because we sit most of the day. Research shows that sitting is the hardest thing on the back, other than lifting weight off the floor from a bent-over position.
The Best Chair to Help with Back Pain at Home
At home, firm wooden chairs are usually better than soft fabric chairs or couches. If you sink low, you can’t get out without bending/twisting your neck/back. Some people are helped by the “recline-type” chairs, some are not – the biggest problem is getting out. The best way to get out of any chair is to scoot your hips forward until you are on the edge of the chair, then stand up without bending your back/neck. Have a comfortable chair in each room that is “yours.”
The Best Chair and Desk Setup for Work
In the office, you need an adjustable chair if you spend more than an hour a day there – especially useful if more than one person uses the chair. Not everybody needs all the adjustments, but here is what to look for:
- Height adjustment so you can sit with both feet flat on the floor and no pressure areas on the thighs. Height adjustment also helps the chair to be low enough to go under the table-minimizing the need to lean forward.
- 5-6 rollers on the base to help the chair move and to prevent it from falling over.
- Arm height adjustable to be able to fit under desk and allow a person to rest their elbows without tilting their spine or pelvis.
- Seat should tilt forward to use when under a desk, and tilt backward to reach other work areas.
- Chair back should adjust so it contacts the spine. A built-in lumbar support is helpful, but unless it’s adjustable, it may cause discomfort. Better to buy an inflatable support to attach it to the chair.
- Computer screen should be located so hands work in front of the screen, and neck is not rotated or tilted. Try not to work more than 30 minutes without changing position. Use a timer, as needed. The strain that occurs in the office at 2pm may not hurt until 2 am. Timers really help.
- Consider a standing table. Alternatively, a cardboard box works well to raise the work level high enough to stand while working. U-haul sells a tough, cardboard “File Storage Box” that is the right height and even has hand holds; $1. A piece of smooth particle board, plywood or Formica added to the top of the box makes writing easier, but is not necessary.
- A pillow to support the neck in a high back chair is helpful.
If you spend significant time on the phone and have neck problems, try to use the speaker, or a headset.