How to combat back pain with office ergonomics
Long periods of concentrated sitting in the office are tiring in the long run and have a painful effect on the body. Almost every employee who regularly sits in front of the computer in the office complains of tension and pain in the neck, shoulders or back area. In order to get through strenuous working days at least physically well and to avoid long-term damage, it is important to actively combat possible complaints.
The design of the workplace as well as one’s own posture and movement patterns are the essence of a healthy way of working. This includes not only the atmosphere of the room and the design of the seating including office chair and desk, but above all your own posture. The following applies: Only those who sit ergonomically and move correctly will protect their backs in the long term and prevent incorrect posture, tension and pain.
Basic rules for office ergonomics
Sitting? They teach you that in childhood. Alright. But how does real sitting work in adulthood? After all, the movement decreases starting with the employment in the office. While children have the opportunity to move freely and balanced, adults are often tied to the workplace and have to relearn how to sit. Office workers who suffer from tension and pain know the problem. Now it is time to react to the body’s warning signals and to investigate the issue: How can long periods of sitting be implemented gently in everyday working life and how can certain postures and movements be integrated to protect the body, and especially the back, in the long term?
Align the workplace optimally to the body
Before the correct posture when sitting can be achieved, it must first be clarified whether the workplace is optimally aligned. This means that not only the working atmosphere, which includes room temperature, lighting and noise levels, is essential, but also and above all the seating equipment. Both the office chair, the desk, and the computer screen must be optimally coordinated with each other to enable the most gentle posture possible. Incorrectly adjusted computer workstations lead to back problems and should – in accordance with occupational health and safety regulations – be aligned in such a way that they are gentle on health, i.e. ergonomic.
First of all, the seat height of the office chair should be adjusted so that one can sit upright. An exact seat height cannot be determined in general, as it varies according to body height. For orientation, however, it can be stated that the chair is only properly adjusted when the user can look straight at the screen without having to bend down or stretch excessively. The legs should be angled at 90 degrees so that the feet can stand straight on the floor. If the height of the chair, table and seat are coordinated and the room atmosphere is good, the training of one’s own posture can be effectively tackled.
Posture school for ergonomic sitting at work
Sitting and movement patterns that – once learned – can be performed automatically or unconsciously are useful. An extensive back or posture training can create a good basis for correcting incorrect postures and optimising movement patterns. Only by permanently ergonomic sitting and acting can pain and tension in the back, shoulder and neck area be prevented and the body prepared for office work.
The postural school focuses on a healthy posture, which mainly includes the optimal use of the back muscles. The training not only strengthens the muscles, but also includes relaxation exercises, breathing techniques and massage exercises that can easily be integrated into the daily work routine. The aim is to train body awareness in such a way that movements and posture patterns – especially when sitting and standing normally – can be performed in a gentle or even supportive manner. Thus, the training focuses not only on strengthening the back and trunk muscles but also on dynamic and upright sitting. Neither a hollow back, a hump nor a tense 90 degree sitting position is conducive in the long run. It is important to find the optimal sitting position for the individual body.
In summary, the posture school clarifies the following questions: How does correct sitting, standing and walking work, which exercises and breathing techniques help to achieve the correct posture, which exercises and breathing techniques help to release tension, which muscles need to be activated or relaxed? How often should one move during work and, how? Sitting upright, regularly lifting your feet and legs, gently circling your shoulders and moving your head can already help to restore the body’s balance. You just have to learn how. Ideally, ergonomics at work should become a matter of course, so that certain posture patterns and movement sequences run automatically in accordance with the optimally aligned workplace.
If the general basic rules of ergonomics are acquired, the body looks forward to a good working atmosphere in which the mind can also relax.