Articles on chair

Fix Your Workspace Before Its Too Late

Dr. Vishwas Virmani, Physiotherapist
The first sign of an injury is often an ache or pain.And at your workstation, there are many aches and pains which can be relieved by simply changing your working posture or work patterns.Here are some of the most common aches and pains, and some simple tools on fixing them fast.Body part fatiguedCommon contributing factors What can you tryBack of neckLooking down at documents or keyboardUse a document holder. Improve keyboard skills. Check screen height.Side of neckLooking to one sideLocate documents and screen directly in front of youTop of shoulders, outside or front of shouldersKeyboard too high, arms unsupportedRaise chair, use footrest, rest palms on front of desk, reduce desk height (if adjustable)Lower backInadequate lumbar supportAdjust back rest height and angle to give firm support, remove arms from chair, remove obstructions under desk (eg drawers)Upper backTwisted postureSit straight-on, locate documents, screen and keyboard in front of youRight arm or shoulderArm outstretched unsupportedMove mouse closer, use single surface deskLeft arm, shoulder or neckReaching for telephone or cradling telephone on shoulderBring phone closer.  Use headset.Leg discomfort, swollen feetUnderside of thighs compressed against chair seatUse footrest or reduce desk and chair heightHeadachesPosture, visual problems, noise, stress, glare, high work loadRearrange work area; re-direct traffic; screen filter; close blinds; shut door; vary tasks; take micropauses; smooth out work flow; reduce time on computer; eye test.Eye fatigue, temporary short sightednessVisual problems, screen too close, poor image quality, glare, screen reflections

Want to Prevent Lower Back Ache?

Dr. Sanjeev Kumar Sharma, Rehab & Physical Medicine Specialist
Back ache is a very common problem which is faced by each and every of us, during our lifetime. Studies show that more than 90% of cases are due to improper posture. The way we stand, sit and sleep - all affects our back. Studies show that our back or spine experiences 11 times more pressure while sitting and 3 times more pressure while standing, as compared to sleeping.  We spent more than 10-12 hours sitting due to our sedentary jobs. Here are few tips to prevent Low back ache:1. Bad sitting postureSitting for long time in one position (Greater than 30-45 minutes).Sit at the end of your chair and recline completely. Sitting on sofa in slouch position.Sitting with legs crossed.While sitting on chair, bending forwards and sideways to lift object.Driving car with seat adjusted back and driving continuously for more than 1 hour.Bending your waist forwards, while getting up from chair or bed.2. Good sitting postureAvoid sitting in reclining position, like we sit on sofa in our homes while watching TV.Try to sit with your back straight and your shoulders back. Your buttocks should touch the back of your chair.A small, rolled-up towel or pillow can be used to help you maintain the normal  lower back curve. Distribute your body weight evenly on both hips while sitting.While sitting on chair, bend your knees at a right angle. Keep your knees at level or slightly higher than your hips (use a foot rest if necessary).Keep your feet flat on the floor.At work, adjust your chair height and work station so you can sit up close to your work and tilt it up at you. Rest your elbows and arms on your chair or desk, keeping your shoulders relaxed.When sitting in a chair, turn your whole body if u have to lift a item from floor.When standing up from the sitting position, move to the front of the seat of your chair. Stand up by straightening your legs. While driving  bike, Avoid potholes/bumpers on road. Drive slowly. If having backache, use contoured lumbar corset fitted to your back while driving.While driving car, Adjust seat to sit closer to steering wheel, to allow your knees to bend and your feet reach the pedals. Sit with  back touched to lower part of seat. Use seat- Belt. Avoid driving continuously for greater than 1 hour.Hope you will follow this small piece of advise and prevent sudden onset back pain.

Eat. Work. Break. Repeat.

Ms. Swati Kapoor, Dietitian/Nutritionist
Driving to work at 8. Reaching at 9. Starting at 9:30 and finishing at 5:30, do you sometimes feel like you’ve merged with your chair into a single entity? That, you and your chair are now destined to creak together forever and ever?Doctors call this workplace fatigue, but in normal lingo, it’s known as the glued-to-the-chair syndrome.Before you start rolling eyes with “and who’s going to do the work?!”, allow us to inform you that our body is the humblest gift from the Maker. It only demands a reasonable amount of rest and nutrition to sustain itself for the daily grind. You wouldn’t be expected to go missing from desk for hours at a stretch.Here are a few tips to keep you active and productive without sacrificing your well-being:Look away from the screenPay close attention when we say “screen”, which not only means your laptop but also the tablet, phablet or whatever smartphone you happen to be carrying at a given moment. As absurd as it sounds, eyes need plenty of rest too because they generally work overtime. Good news is that it only takes a few minutes of rest to rev up for the rest of the day.Walk around a bitSitting for hours at a stretch can be motivating enough to make you want to get up and stretch your legs. The downside of sitting down continuously isn’t just fatigue; it affects your joints and spine too. Human body was not designed to be still during the waking hours. Therefore, long hours at the work station make your joints less flexible. Even if your office is posh and richly furnished, it’s advisable to take walk/stroll breaks. Even walking up to the end of the hall is better than lulling on chair. Make sure to take 3 to 5 minute breaks every 20 minutes, to walk, stretch and warm your body up before resuming work.Stop talking about work all the time!Modern offices have all the systems in place to monitor your work productivity. Therefore, it’s okay if you don’t talk about it all the time. Keep the lunch time and tea breaks for yourself. Stress doesn’t happen only when you’re at your desk, struggling to meet a deadline. Even thinking about it is enough to send you into a panic attack.Discuss food, weather, movies or even your commute if you must, but avoid work conversations during your breaks.Too much on plate? Eat it all.Skipping meals for work has helped a total of zero people so far. It just makes you crabby and ill. If you have too much on your plate (metaphorically of course), then plan ahead. If that seems too difficult then keep aside 15 minutes at least for a peaceful meal. If you cannot do that then you should seriously consider planning your day better.And, if you really have a lot on your plate then keep your health at the top because regular rest not just prevents functional breakdown but also allows your body to recharge and resume work with renewed vigour.

Putting the Spring Back in Your Spine

Dr. Rajat Chauhan, Physiotherapist
Everything you need to unlearn about sitting down and leaning back in your chairAlmost half our lives are spent sitting. A poor sitting posture can put more strain on your spine than lifting heavy weights. It is, therefore, important to understand the right way to sit, especially if you are required to sit for long.Sitting for a long period can strain your neck and back, and increase the risk of intervertebral disc bulges. Our backbone, or the vertebral column, is made up of alternating bones and a soft jelly-like structure called discs. When they bulge, they can compress the spinal cord/nerve that they are supposed to protect.The spine is like a chassis for the whole body. If the spine is not held in a good posture, there will be too much pressure on the discs.Good posture is not about the spine being straight. The spine actually has curves—convex in the neck and low back but concave in the thoracic (upper-back) region. Too straight or too curved compromises the springiness of the spine, effectively risking too much pressure on low-back discs. Good posture would be one where the spine is held tall, maintaining the curves mentioned above, but just.While sitting does, in fact, compress the spine, sitting in a good posture reduces the compression. For that reason, the spine needs to be lengthened at all times.You need to reclaim your spine’s springiness and be light. When your spine is lengthened, your head will be well balanced on the top of your spine. This balancing is a dynamic act, not a forced static one. Your arms and legs move freely from a supporting back. It’s almost like trying to balance a cue on your fingertip. Initially, it’ll be a struggle and your “good posture” won’t last very long. There will be discomfort and pain too. But soon enough, it’ll become second nature to you.Sitting straight or completely tall is not correct either, the spine needs to be held at an approximate 5-degree slant.The spine needs to be very dynamic, not stiff at all times. If you let go of the spine, it helps hold your upper (arms) and lower limbs (legs) very comfortably. If you make the spine rigid, the arms and legs are held stiff as well. This adds to tension in the shoulders and lower back, which will then lead to neck and upper-back pain along with low-back pain.Everyone keeps talking about good posture, but it’s not sustainable if the muscles that are supposed to hold that good posture don’t have the right balance of strength and flexibility.There is first a need to correct that imperfection by doing exercises with the correct techniques under supervision. Easier said than done. I struggle with helping people with this one all the time because fitness trainers just don’t pay enough attention to this.Also, we all like to blame our tools, in this case our office chairs, for our incorrect posture without knowing how to use our bodies optimally. In the popular illustration showing our evolution from being a chimpanzee to a hunter to a farmer to a man sitting in front of the computer, the one big change is that we have finally lost contact with the ground. Most of us sit on chairs that have wheels all day long. I like to call them wheel-chairs as they make sure you’ll need one soon. Many of these chairs are also sold as ergonomically designed, which is often not the case.But the chairs alone are not to be blamed. It is how you sit on the chair that also affects your posture. Here are some tips that will train you to sit better, independently, without using the backrest at all.Look for a chair with a seat which is parallel or slightly leaning forward to the ground, such that your hips are either at the same level as the knees or very slightly higher. Your hips should never be lower than the knees as that forces you to sink in the chair and does not allow you to take control of your posture even if you want to.You should be sitting in the middle of the seat.Now think of an equilateral triangle, with your sitting bones forming one tip of the triangle. The base of both your feet form the other two tips of the triangle. The gap between your feet should be as much as the length of your thigh.The angles between your torso and thighs should be 90 degrees or slightly more.The angle beneath your knee joint should be 90 degrees, so that your feet are right under your respective knee joints.Sit tall like a puppet: Imagine there’s a string attached to the top of your head pulling you up. It is not really forcing you up, the imaginary string keeps you tall, but your head isn’t stiff and the shoulders are relaxed.Relax your neck and shoulders while you’re thinking of growing taller all the time.Imagine that the strings on your shoulders are cut so that your shoulders are not raised any more. Instead, they are relaxed and fall freely. Now just to test the freedom of your neck, move your head the way the Noddy dog in the car would, i.e., bend your skull backward and forward as if it’s on a pole. Keeping your back tall, imagine that pull of the string is at a 5-degree angle, such that you are tilting forward, without slouching, such that your centre of gravity lies between the equilateral triangle.You’ll be surprised to find that you can keep this position for a very long time. This will make your backrest redundant. It will also help you get rid of your expensive sofas and get back to sitting on Swiss balls.■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■CHAIR FACTSWhat to avoid in a chair and whyA chair with wheels doesn’t let you rest your feet flat on the ground. Even if it does, your chair is not stable, hence you are not really in control.Opt for: A chair without wheels, which is stable and sturdy. The good old benches in schools or straight-back dining chairs do a good job. The so-called ergonomic chairs make your chairs more mobile, when it is you who should be more mobile.The seat on a chair should not be slanting back. This will make your hips lower than your knees and force you to slouch.Opt for:The seat should be flat or just very slightly slanting forward. Your thighs need to be either parallel to the ground or very slightly slanting down.The length of the seat you sit on should not be too long, so that the backrest is too far away: No matter how important it is for you not to use the backrest all the time, once in a while we all want to rest our backs. If the backrest is too far away, it will again make you slouch.Opt for:The length of the seat should be such that you are able to shuffle your buttocks all the way back, so that the backrest then gives ample support to your back.The angle of the backrest should not be leaning too far back. Chairs with this kind of backrest are useless as they don’t encourage you to sit tall.Opt for:A chair with a slight lean, if at all. Good old dining chairs work very well.The backrest of a chair should not be too flexible, because your back will not get enough support. It will make you lean back even when you want to sit tall.Opt for:A chair with a backrest that is firm and does not give too much. This will give better support to your back.The chair should not be too high. If it is, you will not be able to let your feet rest flat on the ground. This will reduce your chances of sitting up tall. Also, if it happens to be too low, the angle at your knee joint will be too acute, and won’t provide enough support for your lower back. This will force you to slouch your back, no matter how much you want to sit tall.Opt for:The height of the chair should be such that your feet are flat on the ground and the angle at your knee joints is 90 degrees or slightly more. It will give you a better opportunity to sit tall.Rajat Chauhan is an ultra marathon runner and a doctor specializing in sports and exercise medicine and musculoskeletal medicine, and founder of Back 2 Fitness. He is also associate editor, British Journal of Sports Medicine.This piece is primarily based on the original work of F. M. Alexander (Alexander Technique), modified by Dr Wilfred Barlow, and introduced into London College of Osteopathic Medicine (LCOM) by Dr John Lester. Dr Chauhan was introduced to them in 2004 by Dr Roderic MacDonald, Principal, LCOM.

5 Ways to Get Your Share of Exercise During Work Hours

Ms. Akshata Dorkadi, Physiotherapist
These days it seems important to log in long hours after idle hour with your buttocks glued to your chairs. Using the old “no-time-to-exercise” excuse is becoming a trend more than ever. Even short bouts of cardio, stretching and strength exercises in your office can help improve your fitness and health. We cannot promise a six packs abs with it, but this can surely get rid of your pain, improve your strength and burn a few extra calories. We have some sneaky exercises to a healthier and a happier work day. CardioBurn Calories not electricity!The Stair Master:Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Feel the real leg burn. If you work on the 8th floor and never ever taken the stairs, start with walking up 3 floors and take the elevator from there. Add in one more floor each week as a treat for completing the task. Slog and Jog:Instead of slogging for hours nonstop, take a mini break and jog on the spot. Pop up from the chair to admire the butt print on the chair, and jog at your desk. Want to huff and puff a little more, lift those knees closer to the chest. Do it for a minute and get back to slogging.The Wandering employee:Walking during working is underrated. Instead of dialling extensions and writing lousy emails, walk up to the cubicle of your co-worker and see the importance you get from them!Sneak into the Conference room:If you find your conference room to be empty, walk in through the doors like you own it. Stroll as fast as you can through the room. Make sure you keep changing direction around the conference table to avoid any hip pain.The Unauthorized Office ChairThe chair Swivel:Use your desk chair to swivel with your oblique abs. sit upright, let your feet hover over the floor. Hold the armrests firmly. Use your core to swivel the chair from side to side. Swish back and forth for 10 rounds. The “Weeee” desk chair:Everyone likes to play with their desk chair. While seated in the chair, position yourself at a one arm distance from your desk. Raise your feet slightly off the ground and hold onto your desk. Pull yourself towards the desk and push yourself back. Repeat 10 times or until you burn holes into the carpet.The desk squat:Start standing with your feet apart. Pretend as if you are sitting on your chair and getting back to business. Bend your knees slightly and the thighs are parallel to the ground. Touch your buttocks to the seat of the chair and push yourself back up. Repeat 10  times.Under the wrapsThe silent Butt squeeze:start toning your booty. Simply squeeze your buttocks, hold for 10-15 seconds and release. Repeat until they tire. The Kegels:Women can do Kegels. Tightening, holding and then relaxing the pelvic floor muscles (the muscles that control the flow of your urine every time you want to rush to the little ladies room).The Ab squeeze:Another silent deskercise, this one can be covertly be executed when walking down the hall or seated during a call. Simply take a deep breath and tighten the abdominal muscles, bringing them in towards the spine as you exhale. Stay squeezed for 5-10 seconds and release. Repeat for 12-15 reps.Be the Mr Deskercise guy instead of Mr FormalMr. DeskerciseTouch your toes:The old touch-your-toes are a great stretch for your legs. Pop-up of the chair put one leg on your chair and bend to touch your toes. I-do-not-know:Remember when you are irritated and you want to say, “ I do not know what the hell is going on around here!” Do the same. Shrug. Bring your shoulders close to your ears. Repeat it 10 times and get back to your screen.Reach for the sky:Sitting tall in your chair, stretch both your arms over your head and reach for the sky. Hold it for 10 seconds and do it again.The chair yogi:Sit facing forward, turn your head to the left and torso to the right. Feel the stretch and do it on the other side. Repeat.Drop a pen:What should you do if one of your coworkers finds you two feet away from your desk , stretched out, staring at the floor? You can pretend you dropped a pen. But it’s better to say, “Feels awesome. Try it!”The Fun Lunch TimeThe Wall Street Squats:When everyone has left for lunch, it's squat time! Stand against a wall, drag your back down while bending your knees till your thighs are parallel to the floor. Squeeze your buttocks and come back up. Repeat 15 times and head for lunch.Desk Push Ups:Lay hands on your desk. Incline your body in relation to the floor. Do 10 push ups. If you’re worried about getting sweaty during work – don’t! Doing five or even ten push-ups at a time is not going to make you sweat.Go for a 20 min walk post lunch:Go for a 20 min walk break after your lunch with your colleagues. Laugh. Praise. Share. Live. Make your workplace fun than boring. Try these fun bursts of a workout either by yourself or with few of your colleagues. 

10 Easy Steps to Protect Your Back

Dr. Karthic Babu Natarajan, Spine and Pain Specialist
Most of us have desk job with a hectic life styles. We have to tackle long stress filled office hours sitting in your office chairs. Its essential you follow these simple rules to avoid getting back pain.Watch your sitting posture. If your work involves long working hours, get an ergonomic chair with good lumbar support and an arm rest. Take periodic breaks and stretch you back muscles.Avoid slouching in your chair. When sitting for long hours, make sure your entire back is touching the support at all times. Support your wrists on your table if you are using a computer.Walk with your head upright, chin in and toes pointing straight ahead. Wear comfortable low heeled shoes (less than 4 cms) with good support on the sides.Daily morning walks and stretch exercises are good for the back. Swimming and yoga provide excellent rejuvenation to the spine. Activity increases blood supply to the spine. Avoid any exercise that is very painful.Watch your weight. Ideal body weight (kgs) = Height (cms) - 100. Excess weight puts enormous strain on your spine and joints.Drink at least 8 large glasses of water a day. Smoking can aggravate back pain.Long term use of lumbar belts and supports, without proper indication, can cause surrounding muscle wasting and can be harmful.If you have to lift a heavy weight, stand close to the object with your legs apart. Bend the knees to go down. Hold the weight evenly and straighten your knees instead of bending the back. Always use your legs for lifting and not the back.Use a hard or a firm bed mattress with a medium sized pillow. Make sure you are not sinking into your bed.Using vehicles without good shock absorbers or using 2 wheelers for long distances in bad roads can affect your spine.Ignoring back pain can be dangerous. If in doubt, please see your pain physician for more specific information and guidance. 

11 Ways to Prevent Back Pain

Dr. Apoorva Kumar, Spine Surgeon
Back pain can be... well, painful. To avoid back pain, maintain proper posture and lift things carefully. Staying fit and healthy will strengthen your back and reduce the load it has to carry. Sleeping in a back-friendly position can also help prevent pain and relieve symptoms.1. Get more exercise. If your back is hurting, you may think the best way to get relief is to limit exercise and to rest. A day or two of rest may help, but more than that may not help the pain. Experts now know that regular physical activity can help ease inflammation and muscle tension.2. Watch your weight. Extra pounds, especially in your midsection, can make back pain worse by shifting your center of gravity and putting strain on your lower back. Staying within 10 pounds of your ideal weight may help control back pain.3. If you smoke, stop. Smoking restricts the flow of nutrient-containing blood to spinal discs, so smokers are especially vulnerable to back pain.4. Sleeping position. If you’re prone to back pain, talk with your doctor about the best sleeping position. Sleeping on your side with your knees pulled up slightly toward your chest is sometimes suggested. Prefer to sleep on your back? Put one pillow under your knees and another under your lower back. Sleeping on your stomach can be especially hard on your back. If you can’t sleep any other way, place a pillow under your hips.5. Pay attention to your posture. The best chair for preventing back pain is one with a straight back or low-back support. Keep your knees a bit higher than your hips while seated. Prop your feet on a stool if you need to. If you must stand for a prolonged period, keep your head up and your stomach pulled in. If possible, rest one foot on a stool -- and switch feet every five to 15 minutes.6. Be careful how you lift. Don’t bend over from the waist to lift heavy objects. Bend your knees and squat, pulling in your stomach muscles and holding the object close to your body as you stand up. Don't twist your body while lifting. If you can, push rather than pull heavy objects. Pushing is easier on the back.7. Avoid high heels. They can shift your center of gravity and strain your lower back. Stick to a one-inch heel. If you have to go higher, bring along a pair of low-heeled shoes and slip into them if you become uncomfortable.8. Stash the skinny jeans. Clothing so tight that it interferes with bending, sitting, or walking can aggravate back pain.9. Lighten your wallet. Sitting on an overstuffed wallet may cause discomfort and back pain. If you’re going to be sitting for a prolonged period -- while driving, for example, take your wallet out of your back pocket.10. Pick the right handbag or briefcase. Buy a bag or briefcase with a wide, adjustable strap that’s long enough to reach over your head. A messenger bag (like the ones bike messengers wear) is made to wear this way. Having the strap on the opposite shoulder of the bag distributes the weight more evenly and helps keep your shoulders even and your back pain-free. When carrying a heavy bag or case without straps, switch hands frequently to avoid putting all the stress on one side of the body. To lighten the load, periodically purge bags, cases, backpacks, and other carriers of things you don't need.11. Forget about back braces. Various back supports are available, from elastic bands to special corsets. They can be helpful after certain kinds of surgery, but there is not much evidence that they help treat chronic back pain.

9 Important Tips to Help You Sit Correctly

Dr. Vishwas Virmani, Physiotherapist
If you work in an office and use a computer, you can avoid injury by sitting in the right position and arranging your desk correctly.Support your backAvoid back pain by adjusting your chair so that your lower back is properly supported. A correctly adjusted chair will reduce the strain on your back. Get one that is easily adjustable, so that you can change the height, back position and tilt. Your knees should be slightly lower than your hips. Use a footrest, if necessary.Adjust your chairAdjust your chair height so that you can use the keyboard with your wrists and forearms straight and level with the floor. This can help to prevent repetitive strain injuries. Your elbows should be by the side of your body, so that the arm forms an L-shape at the elbow joint. Rest your feet on floorYour feet should be flat on the floor. If they’re not, ask if you can have a footrest, which lets you rest your feet at a level that’s comfortable. Don't cross your legs, as this can cause posture-related problems.Place your screen at eye levelYour screen should be directly in front of you. A good guide is to place the monitor about an arm's length away, with the top of the screen roughly at eye level. To achieve this, you may need to get a stand for your monitor. If the screen is too high or too low, you'll have to bend your neck, which can be uncomfortable.Using the keyboardPlace your keyboard in front of you when typing. Leave a gap of about four to six inches (100mm-150mm) at the front of the desk, to rest your wrists between bouts of typing. Your wrists should be straight when using a keyboard. Keep your elbows vertical under your shoulder and right by your side. Some people like to use a wrist rest to keep their wrists straight and at the same level as the keys. Keep your mouse closePosition and use the mouse as close to you as possible. A mouse mat with a wrist pad may help to keep your wrist straight and avoid awkward bending. If you are not using your keyboard, push it to one side if using the mouse a lot.Avoid screen reflectionYour screen should be as glare-free as possible. If there’s glare on your screen, hold a mirror in front of the screen so you know what's causing it. Position the monitor to avoid reflection from overhead lighting and sunlight. If necessary, pull blinds across the windows and replace ceiling lighting with table lights. Adjusting the screen's brightness or contrast can make it much easier to use.Working with spectaclesPeople with bifocal spectacles may find them less than ideal for computer work. It's important to be able to see the screen easily without having to raise or lower your head. If you can’t work comfortably with bifocals, you may need a different type of spectacles. Consult your optician if in doubt.Make objects accessiblePosition frequently used objects, such as your telephone or stapler, within easy reach. Avoid repeatedly stretching or twisting to reach things.