A Pain in the Back

One complaint you may be hearing from your employees while sitting is about having lower back pain which is the second highest complaint while sitting.

First, you will or eventually will have back pain if you do not use the backrest of the chair. A well designed backrest and the use of the backrest are essential to eliminating or controlling back pain while sitting.

Second, you will also need to adjust the backrest and seat pan angle on the chair to provide support for the posture in which you will be working. You should make a few adjustments to the chair by adjust the seat pan angle, keeping within a range of slightly forward to a slightly backward angle followed by the backrest angle.

Third, to ensure the backrest makes contact with your back, you should adjust the seat pan depth adjustment or backrest depth adjustment to reduce seat pan depth particularly for small females while leaving 2-4 inches between the back of your knees and the front of the seat pan. Keep in mind that for the shorter or smaller person the backrest should be moved in and for the taller person it should be moved out.

Fourth, there could be many contributing factors to lower back pain, such as the lumbar curvature not being maintained or supported. The lumbar curve of the chair should adjust 6” to 10” from the seat to accommodate varying heights of lumbar curve. For a custom fit, raise the backrest all the way to the top and let it fall to the bottom and then start raising it in 1/2” increments. Small females will be closer to 6 inches height from the seat pan and large males closer to 10 inches from the seat pan.

Fifth and finally, adjust the lumbar curve of your chair to make it your lumbar curve by pumping up the air bladder located in the lumbar curve of you chair. After, you are conscious of the lumbar pressure, back it off a little as we are interested in support and not pressure. You should be supported but not aware of the pressure. As a last note, remember, that while standing the pressure in the low back discs is roughly ½ of that while sitting. For almost all, a sit/stand or stand/sit workstation is ideal. But when you do sit, these ergo tips will make significant contributions to the prevention and control of back pain while sitting.

by: Dr. J. Congleton

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