Do you suffer from chronic back pain? Statistics show that four out of five Americans will develop back pain during their lifetime. While countless factors can affect your risk of developing back pain, many cases are attributed to poor ergonomics. If your home office isn't designed with an emphasis on ergonomics, it can lead to back pain as well as other types of musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs).
What Is an Ergonomic Home Office?
The term "ergonomic" is used to describe an environment or product that offers a superior level of comfort and support to that of non-ergonomic environments and products. Therefore, an ergonomic home office is simply a home office that's particularly comfortable and doesn't cause physical stress or pain.
Whether you use your home office daily or once a month, you can benefit from an ergonomic design. It will allow you to use your computer -- as well as the desk on which your computer is placed -- without experiencing pain or discomfort. As a result, you are less likely to experience back pain or other MSDs when using your home office.
Invest in a Comfortable Office Chair
Creating an ergonomic home office begins with choosing a comfortable office chair. Ergonomic office chairs offer a superior level of comfort and support. While they are available in dozens if not hundreds of different styles, most feature a reclining backrest, adjust armrests, a swivel seat and lumbar support.
Here are some tips on how to choose a comfortable office chair:
- Choose an office chair made of high-quality materials.
- Make sure the office chair has armrests.
- Pay attention to the backrest. If it doesn't feature a mesh design, it could leave you feeling uncomfortably hot.
- Avoid non-adjustable office chairs.
Position Computer Monitor at the Right Height
After finding a comfortable office chair and placing it in front of your computer, you should position your monitor at an appropriate height. A good rule of thumb to follow is to position your monitor so that the top is parallel with your eyes. In other words, you should see the very top of the monitor when looking forward while seated. At this height, you can view the monitor more naturally, thereby protecting against eyestrain.
Illuminate Your Computer Workstation
If your computer workstation has poor lighting, you may experience your eyestrain when staring at your computer for multiple consecutive hours. You can still use your computer workstation for multi-hour sessions, but you should illuminate it with lighting to minimize the risk of eyestrain.