William D. Jones, MD, serves as an independent occupational and preventive medicine physician in Oklahoma City, OK. William D. Jones, MD, helps his patients to guard against and manage a variety of work-related illnesses and injuries, including back pain.
Back pain is a common complaint among professionals who spend a great deal of time sitting at their desks. While the fixed position of sitting in a chair increases the amount of pressure placed on the intervertebral discs and tightens the muscles of the back, poor posture can easily exacerbate it. Slouching or slumping in a chair can not only strain the discs but also stretch the ligaments and other nearby structures, which can cause or worsen pain.
Many experts find that you can reduce the temptation to slouch by adjusting the height of the computer keyboard, which should be positioned so that your elbows can be bent at a 90-degree angle without the upper back coming forward. Likewise, they recommend keeping the bottom edge of the computer monitor close to level with your chin, which will help to keep the back and neck straight.
You may also find that your back pain decreases with a proper adjustment of your office chair. The seat should be adjusted to allow you to sit with your thighs parallel to the floor with your feet flat. A slight slope of the thighs is usually comfortable, but a footrest can make it easier for you to keep your feet firmly grounded.