Keys to take care of our back while we work from an office or at home

  60% of back pain related to sedentary work are related to a bad chair According to the study “Ergonomics and health in office environments”, about 50% of workers complain of back pain (80% have suffered some episode of back pain in their life), 17% of muscle pain in arms and legs and 45% declare […]


60% of back pain related to sedentary work are related to a bad chair

According to the study “Ergonomics and health in office environments”, about 50% of workers complain of back pain (80% have suffered some episode of back pain in their life), 17% of muscle pain in arms and legs and 45% declare working in positions that are painful or that cause fatigue.

24% of those surveyed indicate the neck-shoulders area as the most affected. These figures deserve reflection, especially because they could have been avoided, since they are related to the design of the workspace. They will increase with teleworking because the equipment in our homes is not appropriate to remain seated at a desk during the working day.

60% of the ailments related to sedentary work have their origin in a poor choice of chair. For a chair to be healthy and not cause these problems, its design must respond to ergonomic criteria and not just purely aesthetic ones, so that the user finds the support they need in the seat to maintain a correct and healthy posture.

An ergonomic chair prevents pain and illness, and also creates healthy psychological states: it achieves greater efficiency in the development of work, reduces fatigue and increases the general well-being of its user and their motivation at work. The highest frequency of complaints occurs in the availability of the arms. Second, the comfort of the backrest. More than 30% of office chair users say that they do not use the back of the chair because it is uncomfortable for them.

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How to take care of our back during this stage of teleworking

It is also very important to replace static postures with that of sitting in active movement. For this, the back of the chair must not be excessively rigid. It has to allow for some flexibility, moving at small angles over a fixed position.

Second, it is very important not to sit in the same position for a long time. We have to change posture frequently, and also try to combine sitting work with standing work. For this, the ideal are tables with adjustable height.

Ergonomic requirements for a healthy chair

The first thing we must demand of an office chair is that it has been designed according to ergonomic criteria, which means that it must be able to adapt to the physical complexion of its user and the activity that he performs, which will allow adopt correct posture at all times.

Thus, the ergonomic and healthy chair must meet the following requirements:

  • The chair must adapt to its user; to the variety of individuals. For this it must be equipped with: swivel, mobility, seat height adjustment (feet must be fully supported on the ground), backrest height adjustment (to allow correct lumbar support) and armrest height adjustment. Seat depth adjustment can also be important for people who are too tall or too short.
  • The backrest must make it possible for the back to be properly supported. The backrest should enable us to adopt an upright posture, supporting the entire trunk, and in particular the support of the lumbar area is especially important. On the other hand, the backrest should not be too wide in its upper part so that it does not reduce mobility to the arms. It must also have a certain curvature, seen from the side, to adapt to the shape of the back. With the shape of a soft S, concave at the thoracic level and convex at the lumbar level, to adapt to the structure of the back.
  • Likewise, the possibility of adjusting the height of the backrest or, failing that, adjusting the most prominent area of ​​the lumbar curvature of the backrest is recommended.
  • The chair must be secure. The work chairs must be swivel and their bases must be equipped with 5 spokes to prevent them from tipping over, compared to the old four legs. The center of gravity of the chair plus the user must not be outside the surface occupied by the base in any of the “limit” postures that the user may adopt; from the sitting position at the front edge of the seat, with the body tilted forward, to the position of maximum backrest tilt.
  • The chair must allow a dynamic sitting position. The chair must adapt to the user’s movements and different activities. In this sense, systems that allow the synchronisation of seat / back movements are recommended.
  • The armrests are convenient to give support and rest to the elbows and forearms. Good arm support will reduce the feeling of fatigue in the cervical area. Its length should be somewhat less than that of the seat so that it does not prevent us from bringing the chair closer to the table. They should also be thick and should not have sharp edges.
  • The seats must not be excessively soft; comfort or convenience should not be confused with ergonomics. The seat should be soft but provide firm support across its entire surface.
  • Design that absorbs the shock when sitting.

We remind you of the correct posture to work sitting in an office chair:

  1. With the spine upright, since in this way it presents its natural open S shape. In contrast, the curved posture is pernicious because we load the spine and the ligaments in an irregular way. Likewise, the muscles work incorrectly.
  2. The shoulders drop forward in this pose, and the arms hang across the front of the body and are turned inward. This incorrect posture also makes the head abnormally forward. Therefore, the trunk erect, and supported by the back of the chair.
  3. A posture as stable as possible; that is to say, that the user is not slumped in her seat.
  4. On the other hand, most of the activities that we carry out daily while sitting in the office, such as writing by hand or with the computer keyboard, require that the arms are turned inwards. However, to make it possible to adopt an upright posture, the arms should be turned out more often. In addition, it is very important that they are supported on the chair (on its armrest) or on the table.
  5. Also the position of the legs has a great influence on the body posture. In a sitting position we must keep the legs slightly open and the two plants resting on the ground; that is, it is harmful to cross your legs one above the other and maintain that posture.
  6. The knees should form a right angle with the muscles.
  7. The foot should form an angle of approximately 90º with the calf.
  8. The calf vertical and forming an angle of 90º with the thigh.
  9. The thigh horizontal and forming an angle of 90º with the trunk.

Contact Absolutely Corporate for more information about practises that will keep your back healthy.