Work Wellness

Mitigate Back Pain Through Ergonomic Sitting at Your Desk

Avatar of Autonomous Autonomous | Oct 27, 2020
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While standing desks are more popular than they have ever been, people still need to sit as they work. That's one reason why the best standing desks are made to be adjustable between seated and standing positions. Ergonomic sitting at desk is an essential practice, and it can lead to long-term health benefits. Though you may be in your private workspace, you still need to pay attention to working ergonomically.

Of course, you need a top-tier ergonomic chair in the same way you need a top-notch anti-fatigue mat for standing at your desk. You need to learn how to sit ergonomically, as the chair can't do it all for you. How do you go about doing that? You need only follow the simple tips below to practice proper sitting posture at desk before you know it. 

Pros and Cons of Ergonomic Sitting at Desk

Pros and Cons of Ergonomic Sitting at Desk

Pros and Cons of Ergonomic Sitting at Desk

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  • icon checkMaintaining good posture and blood flow, which mitigates various mild and severe health risks
  • icon checkGreater productivity as none of your focus needs to be dedicated to discomfort
  • icon checkKeeping your body parts, such as your back, aligned based on their natural positions
  • icon checkReduction of chronic pain
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  • icon timesThe potential strain on areas, such as your joints
  • icon timesLow-calorie burn associated with the sedentary lifestyle

Tips for Maintaining the Best Seating Position for Desk

It's very easy to fall into a routine of sitting improperly for hours on end. Depending on how long you do it, you are going to experience various short and long-term effects. Thankfully, you can correct most of the damage by making the necessary adjustments once you learn how to sit ergonomically. 

Don't shy away from investing in an appropriate office chair and other equipment for your remote workspace. Once you take care of those, the rest is history, assuming you are willing to take the advice below. 

1. Establish an Appropriate Distance

Establish an Appropriate Distance

Maintaining a relaxed position is one of the basic principles of ergonomic sitting at desk. Most people find themselves leaning towards their computer screens as they try to get their work done. Even in your home office, where you should be relaxed, you may find that you start overreaching toward your desk when you get invested in something you are doing. 

If you were at the correct distance, overreaching would not be possible, as you'd probably be hitting your head against your monitor. How do you take care of this problem? All you need to do is get closer to your equipment and avoid moving out of place once you do so. 

2. Set the Correct Chair Height

Set the Correct Chair Height

You can't be in the best seating position for your desk if your chair is too high or too low. You can use your knees to indicate what height you should be aiming for. If your seat is in the right position, your knees' height shouldn't be much different from that of your hips. If your hips are a little higher, that's no problem.

Most modern office chairs allow for height adjustments. It may take a little finagling to get the position right but take the time to do it correctly. When you find the correct height, it should be comfortable enough for your forearms and knees. 

As you adjust the chair, do some work for about 30 minutes to feel the position. You can keep doing this until you've found your optimal height setting. 

3. Ensure You Have Proper Arm Positioning

Ensure Proper Arm Positioning

The arms are next on your list. Though they may not rest against the chair, achieving proper ergonomic sitting at your desk requires you to optimally position your arms. Your office chair should be built with armrests, so you can use them to your advantage. Note that many chairs have adjustable armrests, as opposed to static ones. If yours cannot be adjusted and they are in an improper position, it's best for you to remove them altogether.

At the correct height, the armrests should only slightly lift your arms to your shoulders. They remove some of the natural strain that would be on both your shoulders and your spine. You are likely to find that using the armrests helps you stop slouching and practice proper sitting posture at desk. 

4. Pay Attention to the Lumbar Support

Pay Attention to the Lumbar Support

The lumbar area is your lower back, and you could argue that it is the main reason that ergonomic sitting at a desk becomes necessary. Low back pain is one of the most frequent complaints from people who sit at their desks for long hours. There is likely no queue or clock in your remote workspace to remind you to get up for any reason. 

As you are outside of a traditional workspace, the lines are blurred for areas such as work hours and lunchtime. If you're going to be sitting for hours, then your chair ergonomics should support you. The idea is to align the shoulders and hips, which lessens the weight on your lower back. 

What you need to do is to keep your hips far back in the chair for full support. If you can, recline the back of the chair between 100 and 110 degrees. 

5. Breathe Properly

Breathe Properly

As you are reading about ergonomic sitting at your desk, the last piece of advice you probably expected to get is something having to do with your breathing. What does breathing have to do with sitting correctly in a chair? Well, the idea is to practice diaphragmatic breathing. 

In other words, breathe from your belly, so you can get more wholesome breaths going. Doing this relieves the pressure throughout your body. As you inhale, relax your upper body, and imagine pulling your navel towards your spine. 

6. Avoid Leg Crossing

Even if you know how to sit ergonomically, there are specific actions that you may find yourself doing because you see them as comfortable. Many of these have reached the point of becoming involuntary. Therefore, almost as soon as you sit, they begin to creep up.

One of the most common offenders is leg crossing. People do it when they sit because it gives them a sense of comfort. However, true ergonomic sitting at your desk demands that you do not engage in this practice. That's because you defeat the purpose by placing immense pressure on your lower back and pelvis. The likely result is chronic pain.

Maintain a position where your feet are always flat on the floor. 

7. Stretch to Support Ergonomic Sitting at Your Desk

Stretch to Support Ergonomic Sitting at Your Desk

Do you stretch after you've been sitting at your desk for a while? Even if you do this in a traditional office space, it's much easier to neglect from your home office. However, even when you find the best seating position for desk, you still need to get up sometimes.

Remaining in a static position consistently is unhealthy, especially when the said position is a seated one. Your muscles need engagement and movement, which can promote better energy and productivity. As you are working remotely, you have a bit more freedom and variety, as far as choosing exercises goes. 

Try to stretch every 30 to 60 minutes as you work. Sometimes you don't need to do more than touching your toes a couple of times and stretching your back. Besides keeping your muscles relaxed and mitigating pain, getting through the stretching also helps with your circulation. 

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