Back Pain, Posture, and Ergonomics In The Office

In my last post, I gave my top 3 favorite tips that I always give to my Physical Therapy patients in Jersey City & Elizabeth.  In my next video & post, I'm going to specifically go over my favorite exercises that you can do right at your desk to relieve back pain during a long day at the office and at your desk.

But before we go on to that topic, I would like to delve a little further into my second tip: 

Posture.

Now, as I stated in the video, the main component to handling the back pain in the office when dealing with posture is to be mindful of your own back when sitting up in your chair.  This means monitoring slouching, hunched shoulders, and the curvature in the small of your back.  But also, when dealing with posture, you should always consider the chair that you are using as well.  Just remember, that beautiful, leather, CEO chair may look absolutely stunning in person, but functionally, many of those seats do not offer the proper amount of low back support and could be a one way ticket to back pain city.

The best ergonomic chairs come full adjustable, from an adjustable headrest to height seats, and everything in between.

The best ergonomic chairs come full adjustable, from an adjustable headrest to height seats, and everything in between.

Due to the high marketability factory of these chairs, the cost can be unfortunately high and cost prohibitive to some.  But to that, I always ask the question: did consider the costs against the long term health of your back?  In the beginning, it can just start out as just simple back pain.  But, over time, the condition could degenerate into something much worse that could possibly require surgery if not monitored correctly and frequently.  If you're not willing to consider the full chair, I always highly recommend for back pain sufferers a simple, McKenzie lumbar roll to add to your current chair. 

 
Available on Amazon, this little buddy right here can save your back from some serious pain

Available on Amazon, this little buddy right here can save your back from some serious pain

 

In addition to just your chair, you should be mindful of everything else at your desk:  the angle of your knees when you're sitting down, the angle of your elbows as you're typing, the distance from your monitor, and the angle of your computer monitor.

Human Solution has a great tool for easily calculating many aspects of a perfectly ergonomic workstation, whether you're seated or standing at a mobile workstation. 

Just enter in your height where indicated and it will calculate your optimal seat height, monitor distance, etc., to create the perfectly ergonomic workstation.

Just enter in your height where indicated and it will calculate your optimal seat height, monitor distance, etc., to create the perfectly ergonomic workstation.

By following the recommended distances and heights using the calculator, back pain issues should be relatively non-existent, provided that you follow my other tips. 

At the end of the day, it really is up to you.  Pay attention to yourself and how your environment is set up around you, and you'll be that much closer to removing back pain forever from your life!

Dr. James Pumarada is a licensed Physical Therapist with over 17+ years of experience.  He is the co-owner of Complete Physical Rehabilitation, a Physical Therapy practice based in Elizabeth and Jersey City, NJ.