Biotechnology experts claim that in the course of an office-based worker’s career, he or she would be spending 80,000 hours sitting on a chair, usually in front of a computer. Not a lot of people know that sitting for prolonged periods causes more injuries to the body than standing. To prevent such injuries, many offices now furnish their premises with ergonomic chairs for the use of their employees.
It is important to use ergonomic chairs in the workplace. As stated above, sitting for long hours can harm the body more than standing does. It is because while standing, the pressure of supporting the body is evenly distributed along the spine. The circulation of blood in the body is unhindered, and the spine freely receives the nutrients that it needs to remain fluid and flexible.
Sitting, however, makes the pressure of supporting the body uneven along the spine. The brunt of the pressure is received by the lumbar portion of the spine, which is the lower back. Blood circulation is blocked, and so the lower portion of the spine does not receive enough nutrients, causing it to harden. Preventing the lumbar portion of the spine from hardening is one of the health problems that ergonomic chairs aim to address.
However, buying even the best-designed and the most expensive of ergonomic chairs would be useless if the people using them do not sit on them correctly. Aside from using ergonomic chairs, a few minor adjustments to a person’s sitting habits will greatly reduce the cumulative damages that prolonged sitting can do to the spine.
For example, in the case of lower back pain, it can either mean that the lumbar portion of the spine is not being supported, or there is too much pressure on the vertebrae. It could also be that the muscles of the thigh are pulling at the spine because the legs are dangling and the feet are not flat on the floor. To address this problem, the backrest of the ergonomic chairs being used should be tilted forward slightly so it curves against the lumbar area of the spine. Another adjustment that should be made on the ergonomic chairs being used is to adjust the height of the chair itself so the legs are not dangling.
In the case of neck strain, tensed shoulders and pain in the upper back, it means the head is tilted too far forward or too far back. The arms also are not being supported. The adjustments that need to be made on the ergonomic chairs being used are, first, tilting the seat and the backrest either forward or backward so that the back, neck and the head are in a completely vertical position. As for the arms, the armrests of the ergonomic chairs being used should be raised or lowered so the arms are resting upon them comfortably.
If pain is experienced on the buttocks, then it means that there is too much pressure on the person’s rear. The ergonomic chairs being used should then be tilted so that the people using them are sitting deeper into the chair. The back of the thighs should also be in the seat pan.
Even the best and the most expensive ergonomic chairs cannot help reduce the damage sustained to the body if they are not being used correctly. Only a few minor adjustments to these chairs and to the person’s sitting habits are necessary, but the effects shall be great in the long run.