You could be doing permanent damage to your spine

Oct 01, 2006

Last year 35 million working days were lost to work-related ill health and injury – that’s 1.5 days per worker.

Sitting in office operator chairs for hours at a time can cause back pain and aggravate an existing back or neck injury.

After a long period of time, the natural tendency for most people is to slouch over or slouch down in the chair. Such posture can overstretch the spinal ligaments and strain the discs and surrounding structure of the spine.

When standing, the human spine adopts a natural S-shaped curvature. When seated for long periods, the pelvis rotates and the spinal column bends forward. This results in a tendency to slouch.
The pressure placed on the spine by the posture is an inevitable precursor of back pain. All seating should encourage a natural forward tilt, allowing the spine to maintain its ‘S’ curve.

FIRSTLY, sit as comfortably as close as possible to your desk so that your upper arms are parallel to your spine.

Rest your hands on your work surface (your desk or computer keyboard, for example). If your forearms are not at a 90-degree angle to your upper arms, move your chair up or down.

Now check that you can easily slide your fingers under your thigh at the front edge of the chair. If it is too tight, you need to prop up your feet with an adjustable footrest.

You should always choose a chair that is low enough for you to put your feet on the floor. A seat that is set to high encourages people to slide into a slumped position.

Also ensure that your seat pad is not too long for you. It should be short enough for your buttocks to reach the backrest while your back is erect. You must be abe to sit fully back in the seat with your feet flat on the floor. Now are you sitting comfortably…?

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