What is with office chairs? They’re “supposed to be” ergonomically correct, such that they give you great posture… but, inevitably, you go to sit down and for some reason the back of the chair seems way too far back. If you were to sit in a typical office chair, your posture would be as if you were lounging at the beach, leaning way, way back. Office chairs can be so annoying!
Did you know most neck pain is caused by the way you sit in a chair? If you’re sitting still for long periods of time, looking at a computer screen but sitting in an odd position, then you’re a candidate for neck pain.
Your neck consists of several muscles that help rotate it as well as your head. Meanwhile, there are muscles connected to the upper part of your chest and your shoulders. All these muscles typically work in tandem so you’ll feel good. When you sit in an odd position for too long, though, without “moving a muscle,” then those muscles become tight. Eventually, you get neck pain– not good.
So what can you do when you’re in an office chair and worried about neck pain? For starters, consider how your head and spine are aligned. When you’ve got your head and shoulders in a “forward” position where the neck slants forward placing the head in front of your shoulders, you’re putting stress on your neck’s lower vertebrae. Meanwhile, the muscles in your upper back are working overtime to balance the pull of gravity on your head. If your head is forward, looking at a screen, your shoulders are usually forward too– and you’re out of proper alignment. Thus, you get neck and shoulder pain! The best way to combat this is to do what teachers and mom told you to do: “sit up straight!” Avoid hunching yourself over to the point where you always seem to be looking down and forward all day.
That said, workplace ergonomics can be improved by repositioning either yourself or the object(s) you’re working with so you don’t have to “hunch over.” For instance, you might need to adjust the height of the chair or table you work at… or move the computer monitor/keyboard to a more “friendly” position so you won’t be in pain.
How do you know if you’re sitting correctly in a chair at a computer desk? Your eyes should be pointed at the top third of the screen. Keeping your elbows at your side, your forearms should be parallel with the floor while typing. Finally, your feet need to be flat on the floor, with your thighs parallel to the floor. When you’re in this position, you can and will minimize neck pain!
If and when you have bad neck pain, you’re welcome to have Dr. Gerard perform chiropractic care. Call for an appointment: 651-464-0800.