For many, a typical work day involves sitting in an office chair, working in front of the computer. This ultimately leads to bad posture and lower back pain due to tight hip flexors and shortened hamstrings. But there is hope. From selecting the right chair to stretching throughout the day, you can save your back and restore muscle flexibility.
Quick Tips While Sitting
- Adjust your seat height to ensure your feet rest flat on the ground and your thighs are horizontal to the floor;
- The backrest should support the curve of your spine and provide good lumbar support. Ideally, the width of the backrest is 12 – 19 inches wide;
- Adjust the armrests of your chair allowing your arms to rest comfortably and your shoulders to be relaxed. The elbows and lower arms should rest lightly which means the armrests should neither be too high nor too low;
To further protect your back throughout the day, you must make time to stretch. Stretching increases blood flow which brings nourishment to your muscles. Stretching increases flexibility and joint range of motion. And, stretching decreases muscle tension, anxiety, stress and fatigue.
Simple Office Chair Stretches
- Wrist stretches - Sit upright in your chair. Lift one arm and stretch it out in front of you with your palm facing upward. Gently grab your fingers with the opposite hand. Slowly pull the hand of your extended arm down. Hold for 10 seconds. Repeat 5 – 10 times. Switch hands.
- Shoulder stretches - Lift your right arm and reach behind your head. Place your hand on your upper back, making certain your arm is as close to your ear as possible. Use your left hand to gently hold your right elbow while pushing it towards the back of your head. Hold for 15 seconds. Switch arms. Repeat 3 – 5 times per arm.
- Spine twist - While sitting upright in your chair, place your left arm behind your left hip. Hold on to your chair with your right arm. Keep your feet flat on the ground and slowly turn to your left. Hold for ten seconds. Switch sides. Repeat 5 times per side.
- Get out of your chair - Take time each hour to stand up and walk a few minutes.
To learn more about ergonomics, the right stretching techniques for you, exercises to improve your strength and posture or if you are experiencing pain call your friends at Chiron Physical Therapy. Remember, we are Direct Access certified which means you can come directly to us for an evaluation and the start of treatment toward achieving pain relief.
Chiron Physical Therapy...committed to making people feel better.