Sitting for long periods of time can be hard on the lower back. Without adequate back support, there tends to be a lot of stress on the lumbosacral discs. This leads to poor posture with the soft tissues and joints in the spine becoming stressed. Sitting in an office chair can put further stress on the lower back if the chair does not have proper lumbar support. For the right lumbar support, it is important you know the best way to sit at a desk.
When we are at work, it is common to spend long periods time sitting in a chair. We tend to develop poor posture when we sit and we do a lot of it – at work, watching TV, sitting at a computer, sitting at a child’s sports game or recital, etc. Our bodies learn to hunch and slouch which creates poor posture.
Sitting in an office chair and shifting your weight forward will increase stress on the soft tissue, joints, and discs; this can lead to muscle tension and pain in the lower back and legs.
Chairs with Lumbar Support
Having a chair with lumbar support can help alleviate any discomfort and encourage you to sit properly so as not to cause stress on these areas of the body. The lower part of your spine naturally curves inward toward the belly, so having lumbar back support helps to promote good posture by filling in the gap between the lumbar spine and the seat. This will support the natural inward curve of the lower spine.
Without the lumbar support, maintaining correct posture is more difficult. The lumbar spine and the muscles in your lower back have to work harder to support the natural curvature and alignment. When you have sat for a long period of time you tend to slouch, as the muscles holding the spine in position become weak. A chair with proper lumbar support will save the muscles surrounding the spine from being overworked. This support is really important for those with desk jobs where you sit for the majority of the day.
Best Way to Sit at a Desk
Besides supporting the lower back, you want to make sure your chair is positioned such that the rest of the back and your neck are also properly supported.
Your chair should have elbow supports. This helps to prevent strain on the neck. Elbows should rest on the supports at a right angle. Knees should also be at a right angle. For shorter people, use a footrest to elevate your feet if it is required. While seated in your chair, your eyes should look straight ahead at your computer.
Lumbar Support and Neck Pain
You may not realize it but pain in your neck may be related to a lack of lumbar support in your office chair. Alignment of the head and spine relates to neck pain; if your spine is suffering due to lack of lumbar support, you may also experience pain in your neck.
Your work station should be set up so as to improve posture. Consider the placement of your desk or computer work station and where your monitor and keyboard sit. Finding the best way to sit at a desk will promote improved upper back and neck posture.
The US National Library of Medicine has information on a study done to determine whether a lumbar support pillow, outfitted with a cut-out to accommodate the bulk of posterior pelvic soft tissue volume, is more effective than a standard chair in promotion a neutral spine posture and improving subjective and objective measures of comfort in healthy individuals and patients with lower back pain.
If you are suffering from lower back pain that is associated with long periods of sitting, you may wish to speak to a professional who can work with you to find solutions for your given situation. In the Beverly Hills area you can contact Yashar Neurosurgery for more information.