If you sit for more than 4 hours a day at work, you’ve probably experienced moments where your lower back has started to cramp up, and others where you feel so run down it’s impossible to focus on your assignments.
As it turns out, research shows that back pain from sitting can trigger other medical problems -- including fatigue. Sitting in a static position for an extended period of time places increased stress on the back, shoulders, arms, legs, and significant pressure on the back muscles and spinal discs. Doing so often can lead to back pain, especially if you’re not paying attention to your posture.
Slouching forward, slumping, or sitting with your torso slightly turned can trigger lower back pain or exacerbate an existing back problem. Your energy level becomes depleted as your body tries to compensate for the muscle strain on your back. For your employer, the result of your back pain and interrelated fatigue is lower productivity and reduced work speed.
Everlasting Comfort offers a variety of work products ergonomically designed to alleviate back pain and improve your overall effectiveness on the job.
What Causes Fatigue?
Fatigue occurs when both your brain and your body are worn down. However, fatigue is more than just feeling tired. Studies show that spending 17 hours awake is equivalent to having a blood-alcohol level of 0.05%.
If you have a desk job that involves making important company decisions or completing tasks vital to the firm’s success, fatigue can have a negative impact on your thought process and overall productivity.
Back pain and fatigue can be caused by a host of different reasons. For the millions of Americans who have desk jobs, poor posture is a major culprit. When the spine remains out of balance for an extended period of time, the muscles on one side of the body must overcompensate for those on the other side. This exacerbates muscle strain and leads to body fatigue.
How can you tell if someone is fatigued at work? They may appear sleepy-eyed, yawn repeatedly, or struggle to concentrate. They also may be irritable, complain of having a headache, or demonstrate a lack of motivation or judgment. People who suffer from back pain find it harder to sleep or have disrupted sleep. The less sleep you get, the less tolerance you will have for back pain which inevitably will result in even more fatigue.
Officials at Mayo Clinic advise patients to take an honest assessment of their fatigue and what daily habits may be causing it or contributing to it. For employees with desk jobs, correcting your posture at your workspace could be an important step to alleviating the problem.
How Does Ergonomics Work?
Ergonomics is about designing products with people in mind. Ergonomics aims to increase efficiency and productivity by thinking about how to improve the comfort of office furniture and other products workers use typically 8 hours every day. Desks, chairs, monitors, keyboards, and lighting all need to be critiqued when creating a workspace, whether it is at the office or at home.
Ergonomics also takes into account the need for movement throughout the day. Office furniture has traditionally encouraged stiff, fixed postures and little movement. However, many companies are now offering workers choices between sitting and standing while they work, a proven way to curtail sedentary workplace behavior. Even the angle of your computer monitor or the height of your chair can have a drastic influence on whether you leave work with strained eyes or sore wrists.
Employers who embrace ergonomics understand that adjusting work tools to better fit the needs of workers can prevent workplace injuries, improve company productivity, and instill greater motivation among employees.
A Washington State Department of Labor study showed that employers who created work environments that promoted good posture, fewer motions, and better heights and angles at workstations saw a 25% increase in job productivity and a 67% average reduction in errors. Poor ergonomics, the study showed, led to frustrated and fatigued workers who did not do their best work or perform tasks as they were trained.
Employees notice when their company is making an effort to consider their health and comfort on the job. If an employee does not experience fatigue and discomfort during their workday, it can reduce turnover, decrease absenteeism, improve morale, and increase employee involvement.
Can Chair Support Help Fight Fatigue?
Ergonomically designed chair supports have been proven to reduce lower back pain, increase stability, and reduce fatigue caused by muscle strain. Desk heights, the positioning of computer monitors, and awkward keyboard trays certainly play a role in poor posture at the office.
However, office chairs are often considered the main culprit. Your office chair should support the natural curve of your lumbar spine. If your chair does not have good lumbar support, consider adding an additional cushion between your lower back and the chair back. Make sure to sit all the way back in your chair as you work so that your spine is fully supported as you work.
In addition to lumbar support, you may want to consider trying a coccyx seat cushion which is designed to relieve certain kinds of back pain, such as sciatica, as well as other discomforts.
Coccyx seat cushions provide improved comfort to workers who suffer from hip pain and arthritis and are also beneficial during pregnancy. Coccyx seat cushions are designed to alleviate pressure in the lower back which helps reduce stress and body fatigue.
If your employer offers to help pay for a product that will help improve your back pain at the office, investing in quality chair supports can make a world of difference.
The Best Chair Supports to Fight Fatigue
Everlasting Comfort offers high-quality back pain relief cushions designed with both ergonomics and orthopedics in mind to ward off back pain and the fatigue that often comes with it. Our high-quality chair cushions and travel pillows are made of gel-infused 100% premium memory foam for quality comfort.
- Everlasting Comfort’s Coccyx Seat Cushions are designed to help reduce pain in the tailbone, back, and hips. The memory foam is heat responsive which means it will mold perfectly to your body, providing you with maximum comfort while supporting your back and reducing chronic pain. The non-slip cover is removable and machine-washable. This premium seat cushion also comes with a lifetime replacement guarantee.
- Everlasting Comfort’s Lumbar Support Cushions are created with the contours of your back in mind and are often recommended by orthopedists. The cushion comes with two adjustable straps, is machine-washable, and comes with a lifetime replacement guarantee.
- Everlasting Comfort’s Foot Rest Pillow is designed to go underneath your desk and is a great addition to support pillows that go on your actual chair. It’s easy to forget about your feet and legs while you’re sitting but they need support too! And that’s what this pillow provides thanks to 100% memory foam and an orthopedic teardrop design to eliminate pain in your feet, ankles, and legs.
Other Ways to Fight Fatigue at Work
In addition to investing in quality chair supports, here are some other ways you can fight off fatigue at the office:
- Practice good posture: Sit up straight with your back against your chair, hips squarely below your lap, and your feet flat on the floor. Maintaining good posture throughout the day is key to providing the best support for your back and spinal cord. Slouching forward, slumping down, or sitting at an angle puts undue pressure on your back which can lead to body fatigue.
- Bend: Keep your knees bent at about a 90-degree angle. Adjust your seat height, if necessary, so that your hips are at the same level or slightly higher than your knees. This will help reduce stress on your lumbar spine.
- Stretch: Try to stretch every 30 minutes you are doing desk work. Raise your hands high over your head, out to the side, and then behind you. Lift your legs up from the floor and make circles with your ankles to improve blood flow. Take time to stretch your neck as well, bending it forward, to the side, and back.
- Move: Instead of calling a co-worker at their extension or sending them an email, walk over to their desk. The welcome movement will help your back and increase circulation.
- Ask for a better chair: If your boss is supportive, ask them to purchase you an ergonomically-designed chair for better back support.
- Ask for a standing desk: Instead of doing most of your work sitting down, some employers are offering workers the choice of a standing desk to switch up their position for several hours each day.
Chair support is a critical element to those with desk jobs being successful and satisfied at work. Our bodies were designed primarily for standing not sitting. Yet many American workers find themselves slumped over their desks for hours at a time not realizing the strain it puts on their spine, the impact that has on their energy level, and the ultimate drag it has on their work production. Your best and least expensive solution may be purchasing back support chair cushions!