Feb 2022. This article is independently written by Shelby Golding. All opinions given are hers. Shelby has been certified as a personal trainer and nutritional specialist since 2007. In 2008, she found her passion for writing about these topics and hasn't looked back.
In the midst of it all, office ergonomics have taken a backseat. If we have a desk chair, it's probably the cheapest one we could find on short notice. And a cheap desk chair is the fastest way to back pain. Most modern offices provide ergonomic options, including adjustable chairs and sit-stand desks. But how many of us are making an effort to provide those options at home? We sit slumped on the couch or prop ourselves up with pillows in bed, but correct posture and positioning are all but forgotten.
Keep reading to find out if your desk chair is causing your back pain and learn how to implement proper office ergonomics at home.
What Are Office Ergonomics?
Ergonomics focuses on efficiency. Therefore, office ergonomics concentrates on creating a workspace that fits your body. A comfortable chair, a desk, a mouse that fits your hand, a keyboard placed at the right height – these common office tools need to be adjusted to ensure workplace efficiency.
The Problem with Sitting
Of course, the Mayo Clinic study looks at how lack of activity affects the body. But it also casts a light on how much strain sitting all day puts on the body.
Sitting with your back hunched and your tailbone tucked is a recipe for back pain. It may start off comfortable, but eventually, gravity takes hold and drags our shoulders forward and down. Our core engages, our back muscles stretch, our hamstrings tighten, and our hips are overextended. You may start to feel pain in your shoulders, neck, low back, hips, or glutes- or maybe a combination of all five.
A study done by the World Mental Health Survey found that chronic neck and back pain is often associated with mood disorders, alcohol abuse, and anxiety. On the other hand, employees who practice good office ergonomics are more productive and less stressed than their uncomfortable counterparts.
1. The Chair
Your desk will also be important for preventing neck pain. Ideally, your computer screen should be at eye level or slightly below. It should also be an arm's length away and placed directly behind your keyboard. This position ensures proper neck posture. Your neck should be straight, and your chin slightly tucked while you look at the monitor.
3. The Mouse and Keyboard
Proper wrist ergonomics means keeping the wrists as straight as possible. You do not want any bend in the wrists, whether up and down or right and left. This means your mouse and keyboard should be right in front of you when your arms are at 90 degrees.
Realistically, not all desks are set up for this, so you may need to get creative by adding books or a platform for your keyboard to lift it to the right height.