We have collaborated with Dr. Kody from Baseline Wellness on this blog and gained insight on what he’s found to be true with his clients and their office work. Dr. Kody has extensive training in the diagnosis and treatment of musculoskeletal conditions and seeks to allow individuals continue their activities as long as possible.
During the COVID 19 pandemic, many clients made the rapid shift from working in the office to working from home. As a practitioner it was disheartening to hear from clients and hear about the challenges they were having at home. As a result, this blog has been collaborated to create a resource for clients and others who are experiencing challenges from working at their desk.
After reopening from COVID, 90% of clients that returned to the clinic had one of three challenges. This blog will explain the details on what has occurred to create these challenges and shed the light on some products exist to help you eliminate them.
Neck And Shoulders
Neck and shoulder pains have always been a challenge for most office workers. With the ongoing amounts of sitting it is common to experience neck tension that makes you crave that shoulder or back rub at the end of a work day. Often times, the environment is the challenge and it could be how the desk is set up including monitor heights. For more information on ergonomic set ups refer to this blog which has some easy solutions that may decrease a lot of tension and pain. Office chairs are so variable and investing in a chair has so many choices that it turns into such a complex decision. There are no one size fits all chair, no matter how it is marketed to everyone! Specifically, for the neck and shoulders, but don’t worry we are here to help. Here are some key features to look for in a chair for these areas:
1) Does the backrest extend all the way up so that your head and neck have a support?
- Did you know that office chairs have the capability to adjust their back and neck support!?!
- This takes a lot of stress away in the purchasing process since you have the ability to fix the support to your own comforts.
- Fun fact: Armrests used to be reserved for executives. Why don’t we change the narrative for headrests?
2) Are your armrests adjustable and if they are not, are your shoulders relaxed as your elbows rest on the arm rest?
- If the answer is no to these two questions here are the options for armrests adjustability that are out there.
- Height wise
- Width wise
- Forward and backwards
- Some chairs even have the armrests tilt back when the backrest tilts.
**If you are smaller or larger than the average person it would be in your best interest to opt for a chair that has armrests with width adjustability.*
Low Back And Hips
Lower back pain has been an ongoing challenge for all individuals. Increased amounts of sitting affect this condition and create a lot of stress in this area. One common misconception that leads to low back pain is that individuals try to hold their seated posture in too extended of a position. I believe that these habits come from the voice that we hear from our parents that keep telling us to "sit up straight". As a result, we often end up arching our back to maintain this "straight" posture when in actuality, this position is out of balance and creating a lot of strain in the lower back. Fun Fact! Most of the problems to sitting up straight are actually due to shoulder position and not low back positioning.
Additionally, with ongoing sitting, we often times get accompanying hip tightness and restriction. Our bodies are really accustomed to adapting to our environments so if we choose to sit more than 30 minutes at a time, our bodies will adapt to the stress of sitting. As a result, the hips will start developing scar tissues to maintain the seated postures. This process known as hysteresis is the reason why we get stiff as we sit for prolonged periods of time. The best way to counteract this type of stress is to get up and move around every 30 - 45 minutes.
Now let's talk about some chair features that can affect our seated postures and lead to tight hips and low back pain:
1) Everyone is a different height so the chair must be suitable for your height.
Most chair heights are meant to accommodate people that are between 5 feet and 6 foot 4. If you find yourself close to the outliers, you don’t need to look for a different chair all you have to do is enquire about the different lift mechanism heights! An easy change in your chair order and most of the time it’s free!
2) The seat depth is such an important feature that is often overlooked. Seat depth is important because even though individuals might be the same height their legs will likely be different lengths and the seat depth is the part of the chair that can make this part customizable especially if it is adjustable.
- Another customizable part of the seat pan is its width. Not everyone is the same size. If you are more petite or wider than the average population you should probably opt for a seat pan that fits you! Once again usually a free quick change!
3) Back support/Lumbar support is a topic that is heavily debated. With office chairs, once again a one size fits all just does not work. Everyone has a different low back curve and so having a lumbar support that is there to facilitate the natural curve that you have is the best. It should not cause you to extend backwards nor should it allow you to slump in your chair. But instead, it should fill in the gap of your low back and should not feel like there is any force placed on your back.
4) You must be able to touch the floor sitting neutrally in your chair. If not, then you will need a foot rest to assist you. The chair should be able to move up and down and allow this to happen.
For more information on all the different types of chairs and how to buy the perfect match contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To contact Dr. Kody from Baseline Health and Wellness click here!