A Must Read for Any Computer Chair User
If you are spending hours on a computer sitting even on a very good ergonomic chair you probably sincerely care about your lower back health. However, if you are still having back pains and discomfort I strongly encourage you to spend a moment and read this material. You will be able to realize where the pains and tensions really come from. Having the awareness and understanding of the true source it will help you to make a right decision.
Over the past 30 years, Lower Back Pain Syndrome has created an entire industry and it’s growing. Pharmaceutical drugs, Chiropractor treatments, physio and massage therapies, countless of devices that eliminate or ease up the pains and tensions. Many of those therapies and devices are well designed and very effective. The pain or tension goes away but only temporarily. The pain cannot be eliminated permanently simply because none of these treatments or devices go to the very core of the problem. The truth is, the source of the problem is not in a human body and it has never been. The human body is merely the effect. The source of the problem is in the how the body interacts with, in this case, a computer. The problem is in the optimization of the interaction between the operator and the computer. However, if the “tune-up” is not done properly the operator’s body always pays the price. In this segment, we go right to the source of the lower back pain to find out how it can be effectively relieved or prevented. Let’s begin our journey into the lower back area.
Spinal Column and Pelvis Relation
Human’s spinal column stems from a large bone called pelvis, which it is very well connected to it. The position of the pelvis plays a very important role in a shape and ultimately the health of the entire spinal column. Here is how it works. During standing pelvis is in a vertical straight up neutral position. That upright position of the pelvis keeps the spine in a strain free, the healthy shape resembling letter ‘S”. Spinal column, pelvis, and legs form one straight vertical line. This “S” shape of the spinal column also keeps vertebras positioned in a neutral and healthy orientation in relation to each other. That orientation keeps the minimum pressure on the intervertebral discs. This pressure inside the discs plays very important role in keeping the lower back healthy and pain-free
Intervertebral Pressure Explained
Intervertebral discs are doughnut-shaped rings located between the vertebras that work as shock absorbers But if there is too much pressure or pressure is uneven on them they tend to bulge.
But where does the pressure that can bulge or damage the intervertebral disc come from?
The pressure inside spinal discs increases when spine loses its natural curvature and remains static for longer periods of time. Slouching by sitting on a wrong computer chair is an example of this shape. Intervertebral discs are very resilient and flexible. They can withstand a huge amount of pressure. However, the prolonged and uneven pressure inside the discs due to the wrong posture of the upper body during sitting increases dramatically the risk of bulging disc. This happens especially in the lower back area. The bulging disc (protruding outward) often starts pressing on adjacent nerve roots. That pressure on nerves usually results in pain. The pain happens not always in the lower back area It may also occur in other parts of the body. For example, If the bulging disc presses on the sciatic nerve pain sensation occurs in the leg. It is worth to repeat it again:
The majority of lower back pains and disorders originate in a wrongly supported spinal column during sitting on badly designed or adjusted computer chair.
Approximately 90 percent of bulging discs occur in the lower back of the spine. The most common lumbar bulging disc is seen between lumbar vertebrae L4 and L5 and between vertebrae L5 and S1, causing pain in the L5 nerve or S1 spinal nerve. Obviously, there are other than just bulging disc causes of lower back pain but in most cases, the underlying problem is sitting on a computer chair that is not designed for prolonged sitting or it is not properly adjusted.
Lumbar Support Misconception Explained
It is very important to concentrate on this part A traditional computer chair that is equipped with a lumbar support may not be as ergonomically correct as most computer users and the office chairs industry think.
During sitting on a traditional ergonomic chair with lumbar support the lower spine often gets distorted. In the last paragraph, we talked about the pelvis and how important role it plays in maintaining proper alignment of the spinal column. In the case of office seating equipped with lumbar support, the pelvis and its backward motion are completely disregarded. When we get into a sited position the unsupported pelvis is not stable and it has a natural tendency to rotate backward. It does it because when we sit the pelvis cannot stay upright on its own as it does when we stand unless of course, we use muscles to keep it straight. This backward motion pulls lower spine (Lumbar area) towards the back of the chair At the same time the traditional lumbar support hump pushes the lower back in just the opposite direction. Those forces create tension between the vertebras in the lower back region. That is why so many people when sitting on a computer chair with lumbar support often still experience lower back pain or at least uneasiness. This explains why in the western world the lower back pain reaches a detrimental level. But there is a solution.
The Solution for Healthy Sitting
Instead of using one lumbar support, as the typical ergonomic chair is equipped with, there are two fully adjustable back supports. The lower one is to stabilize the pelvis and to prevent it from its natural tendency of moving backward as we stated earlier. Resting on this support the pelvis always stays in a straight up position as if we were standing. This vertical orientation of the pelvis always preserves the natural “S” shape of the spine practically preventing any risk of lower back pains and other related disorders. The other vital part of this computer chair is the upper (thoracic) support It stabilizes the upper body and helps to maintain a proper posture including rib cage, neck and keeps the head in upright position. It promotes proper breathing and effectively prevents condition referred to as Round Shoulders. These and variety of other benefits of using thoracic support will be covered in detail in the second article.
Sitting on this truly ergonomic chair and maintain this posture doesn’t take any effort. If this computer chair is properly adjusted it supports the user extremely well. The user can stay in this healthy, strain free and comfortable position for long periods of time.
The thoracic support is adjusted to be placed 1 to 2 inches underneath shoulder blades so the computer user’s arms, shoulders and the shoulder blades never touch the back of the chair during computer work. This gives the computer user more freedom for arms’ movement. It also promotes correct, completely strain-free posture.
Thanks to those two independent and multi-adjustable back supports and the True Pressure Free Seat Cushion this computer chair user can sit for hours without pain, strain, discomfort or tension As an ultimate result the healthy body will always produce better results in terms of productivity and efficiency.