Ergonomics Wednesday – 8 – Sit Down, Get Comfortable, Take a Load Off

Last week I got to rhapsodizing on ergonomics, because it’s more than just your desk and chair.

Recall, from Merriam Webster online:

an applied science concerned with designing and arranging things people use so that the people and things interact most efficiently and safely

— called also biotechnologyhuman engineeringhuman factors

This definition shows the field of ergonomics to be so much bigger than just your desk, big enough to encompass, well, pretty much everything. So I decided to do footwear.

Well, today I think I’ll return to something a little more “normal” for the topic of ergonomics, your sitting positions, and lumbar support. We covered this for your office chair when we were discussing creating the best ergonomic setup for your office, but let’s dive deeper.

I’ve made no secret of the fact that modern furniture design is awful. I believe I referred to park benches as, “Medieval torture devices, design to ruin your back and posture.” I’ve said similar things about:

  • Airline lounge seats
  • Dining room chairs
  • Fold out canvas chairs
  • Muskoka chairs (the deep seated, straight backed monstrosities on your patio or deck)
  • Kitchen stools
  • Concert hall seats
  • Stadium seats
  • Even your comfy easy chairs and couches

These things are flat out poorly designed for your back. Off the top of my head, I can only think of one common household chair that isn’t bad for your back; recliners.

So what to do?

First, whenever you’re buying furniture, shop around. Sit in the bloody things and see if there is any lumbar support, at all.

Second, pillows. Buy yourself a stock of small (about 8” square, not too thick) pillows, the smaller the better. When you sit, arrange them to support your lumbar spine.

Third, investigate ergonomic back supports. You can get them in a variety of sizes, so shop around and see what works for your unique lumbar curve. Once you find a good one, get another, or two, and take them with you wherever you go.

Fourth, learn to sit properly. We live our lives slumped over, with our shoulders rounded in, and our lumbar curves reversed and rounded out. Learn not to do this. Yes, it’s the longest term and most difficult of the options, but it is also the best of the lot.

Learning proper posture will solve a lot of pain and movement problems. Maybe I’ve written a little bit on the topic, here and there, now and again. But, as I said above, it’s a long term solution, and you have back problems right now, from your sitting position.

So address them,  now.