The Bambach Saddle Seat: Do You Sit In It Or Ride It?

At first sight the Bambach saddle seat looks really weird, you could easily imagine it as some sort of training seat for rodeo riders. It's certainly very different looking to the usual kind of chair you find in the workplace.

So, what is this unusual seat all about?

What is the Bambach and why is it different?
The Bambach saddle seat takes a radically different approach to work seating and is based on the principal of riding a horse. The seat design is built around the shape of a western style horse saddle.

bambach saddle seat

Bambach Saddle Seat

If you've ever ridden a horse or observed someone riding one you'll soon discover it places your legs much wider than they normally are when sitting in a conventional office chair.

This posture has two distinct benefits. First by placing your legs wider apart with your feet resting on the floor you feel far more stable and in control of your seat.

Second, by placing your legs in this position it actually makes it very easy and natural for your body to adapt a good healthy posture. It opens up the angle between your legs and torso helping to improve circulation, muscle tone and breathing.

Nonetheless it does take some getting used to as you will be using muscles which haven't had a lot of use if you normally sit in an office chair. So you'll need to persevere with it as you retrain these underused muscles.

It's worth the effort for those who are well suited to the way the Bambach works.

Who is it best for?
The Bambach is very popular with medical users like dentists, surgeons and podiatrists. Anyone who needs a stable working position where their hands can be freely used in their work.

Architects and designers also find it great too. It's very easy to move about your workspace and office quickly. And for height adjustable desk users it's an ideal seat.

It also works well in the home too, either in the office, kitchen or watching TV.

Many office workers will also find the seat comfortable to work in too.

Where can you find out more about the Bambach?
We've just added a full review of the Bambach saddle seat explaining in more detail what makes it such a healthy alternative to conventional office seating.

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How To Reduce The Threat Of Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI) By Becoming A Keyboard Commando

With all the problems of modern office working Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI) doesn't look like going away anytime soon. It continues to mess up people's lives and we still need to work at computers so unfortunately the two go hand in hand.

With that said some of the actions we perform daily are a lot more harmful than others. It's important to recognize this and take steps to avoid the worst of them if at all possible.

One of the biggest culprits is also one of the most useful. The humble mouse.

How can a mouse increase the chance of RSI?
Although it's an incredibly useful device your mouse also places a lot of strain on your body and this isn't always apparent. It's the way we use it that causes the problem.

Often we keep our hand on the mouse even when we don't need to. This creates two problems.

First it puts pressure on the tendons and ligaments in your hand and wrist as they are held in a strained position.

Second it also places your shoulder and arm muscles in an awkward posture and this can strain them when done repeatedly.

So it's important to be aware of this and release your mouse whenever it's not in active use. By doing this it will help relieve unnecessary strain and stress on the limbs used when mousing.

In a perfect world not having to use a mouse at all would be ideal, however that's not realistic. A viable alternative however is to transfer the load to your keyboard. It's a lot more useful than many people realize when you become a Keyboard Commando.

Why your keyboard is your friend
The most obvious use of a keyboard is of course for typing and inputting data. And for a lot of computer users this is all they use it for which is a pity because it can help take away a lot of mouse activity.

Many software programs have universal keyboard actions especially for repetitive task like copying and pasting data. Very often it's possible to copy and paste items without going near a mouse. You can use the arrow keys to select the content then the Ctrl+C and Ctrl+V combinations to manipulate it. And if you need to switch between different programs then Ctrl+Tab makes it easy to do.

For Mac users substituting the Cmd key for Ctrl is all that's needed.

And if you have to perform a lot of repeat actions that don't have keyboard shortcuts, before you reach for the mouse check to see if the software allows you to create custom shortcuts.

Another area where you can save a lot of mouse use is when you make a typo. Even the best of us hit the wrong keys occasionally. The problem is we often don't see the error until later, so we reach for the mouse and start highlighting and correcting our mistakes. This can place a lot of stress on your limbs.

If you are using Microsoft Word there is a neat solution for typos in its Autocorrect function. Chances are you make the same typing error over and over so why not let Autocorrect handle things for you? Any time you make a mistake just add it to the Autocorrect database. Then next time you get it wrong it fixes it on the fly, so no need for that mouse.

Not only does it cut back mouse use it also saves a ton of time too. It lets you create keyboard shortcuts for commonly used things, for example assigning a couple of keystrokes could have it enter your address. These useful functions can be greatly enhanced.

Simple ideas for supercharging your keyboard
It's easy to take your keyboard functionality to another level and eliminate a lot of mouse activity in the process.

There are several great programs for both Windows and Mac users that can be set up to do repetitive tasks automatically at the press of a couple of key combinations.

Here are some of the things you can do using theses sorts of programs:

  • Launch applications
  • Open websites
  • Control functions in applications
  • Position the cursor where you want it when inserting a phrase
  • Pre-populate online web forms
  • Store and retrieve clipboard history for repeat use

Using these functions will not only relieve stress and strain by not having to use your mouse, it will also save you a ton of time as well.

Let's recap on what we've covered here:

  • Repeated use of your mouse can add to potential RSI issues
  • Keyboard shortcuts can easily replace many mouse activities
  • Built in auto correction functions reduce the need to mouse
  • Installing specialist software will eliminate a swathe of mouse actions

Resources
By minimizing your mouse use and becoming a Keyboard Commando you will significantly reduce the risk of RSI.

Windows users will find the following programs worth looking into:

And Mac users should look into:

Use these ideas to cut back your mouse use, your body will thank you for it.

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Why Exercise In The Office Is Important: Simple Ideas For Keeping Muscles Active

Body builders frequently put themselves through a punishing regime of exercises and weight lifting routines. They often take a range of supplements, sometimes even steroids in their quest for a fabulous physique. And once they start it’s very difficult to stop because if you don't keep it up all that magnificent muscle quickly turns to flab.

Relax, you don't need to worry because office exercise isn't like this at all.

Why do exercises in the office?
Many people might think that it is odd to exercise in the office. Surely if you want to work out you go to the gym? So, let’s be clear I'm not talking about some super heavy training session that's not the reason to exercise in the office. The idea of exercising during the day is not to keep you physically fit. Instead it’s a case of little and often, rather than a mega pumping iron session it’s more like a short limber up.

How often should you exercise during office hours?
There is no hard and fast rule, however the basic idea is to perform simple routines throughout the day. It’s a good idea to do so every 30 minutes or so, at least once an hour if you can.

The reason for this is that when you leave it too long between routines muscles become fatigued and tired and so don’t respond in the same way. In fact, if they become chronically fatigued it can work against you and just aggravate tired muscles.

So try to make sure you do your routines every 30 to 60 minutes to prevent muscles from becoming damaged and needing attention from physios and chiropractors.

How fit do you need to be to do office exercises?
In truth you don't need to be some super fit athlete. As long as you are reasonably healthy and don't have any known issues there shouldn’t be a problem.

One of the benefits of doing simple exercise routines is that over a period of time they will likely improve your muscle tone. So, if you're healthy there really is no excuse.

Who should do exercises in the office?
If your work involves long periods of sitting particularly at a computer then you will benefit most from regular exercise routines. Even when you do have a more active office life it’s still a good idea to exercise anyway. The simple act of stretching and getting muscles working will benefit almost anyone.

Obviously, if you are receiving medical treatment or taking medication and you are in any doubt you should always check with your physician first. It’s best to be sure that performing exercises won’t cause you any problems.

What exercise should you do in the office?
There are many quick and easy exercises you can do while doing office work, some of them can even be done while you are sitting down. Here is a quick summary of the most beneficial ones.

Stand up straight with you feet slightly apart and toes pointing forwards. Next, place your hands behind your back with each palm resting on the top of your buttocks. Finally press your hands on your body and lean back forming a backwards arc, hold the stretch for 5 to 10 seconds. Repeat this 3 times.

Another good standing exercise is to stand upright with feet slightly apart and hands with palms against the sides of your legs. Next, take your left arm and raise it in an arc over your head and stretch your left hand side as you pull the arm further over to your right. At the same time let your right arm remain in contact with your leg and let it slide downwards as the stretch progresses. Do the same for the right arm and repeat twice for both arms.

Whilst sitting and facing forwards, tuck your chin in towards your neck and use one of your hands to press it in further to stretch the muscles at the back of the neck. Hold this for 5 seconds and repeat it 3 times. Following this place your hands at the rear of your head and pull your head gently downwards holding for 3 seconds.

Another good exercise for the neck muscles is to start with your head pointing forwards while sitting. Next turn your head towards your left shoulder as though you were looking behind and hold this position for about 15 seconds. Repeat this twice for both left and right hand side.

Lastly again facing forwards interlock your fingers and raise your arms with your interlocked hands resting on the back of your head. From this position press your arms back as though you were trying to push your elbows behind you. This is a good stretch to counteract all the forward facing use your shoulders get during the day.

These are just some of the simple routines you can perform throughout the day and the good thing is they take very little time to do and yet are so beneficial for your muscles and posture. You can find more ideas here.

Let’s quickly summarize the key points about exercises in the office.

  • Regular exercises help keep muscles toned and in good working order
  • Aim to exercise every 30 to 60 minutes during the day
  • Peak fitness isn’t necessary, just being reasonably fit is fine
  • Anyone who spends a lot of time sitting should exercise frequently
  • Use the simple exercises above to keep your body healthy

Like a lot things it’s all about developing healthy habits and once you exercise on a regular basis you'll begin to feel the benefits it brings, without the need for any punishing regime. You'll find there are a lot of great videos on YouTube showing office exercise ideas.

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Is Your Office Chair At War With Your Skeleton? The Wedge Widget

Imagine you splash out on a new office chair with all the latest gizmos and adjustments. It really looks the part, initially you’re really pleased with it. It’s definitely a big improvement on the old one. And yet after a couple of months you're starting to find those niggling aches and pains are coming back. How so?

Why poor sitting habits cause you discomfort
Very often the reason an office chair becomes uncomfortable is not wholly down to the chair. It’s often as a result of not sitting properly in it. And the thing is it’s actually far easier to sit badly in a chair than it is to sit well. Maybe you remember the old adage of sitting upright that your parents and teachers drummed into you when you were growing up. Somehow it doesn't appear to help.

Why sitting up straight doesn't work
On the face of it sitting up straight seems like a good idea. The reality is that you're forcing your body into an unnatural posture when you try and sit up straight. What happens is you tend to overarch your back and this then overcorrects the placement of your spine and bones forcing them into a forced uncomfortable posture. The initial set up when you sit down is what matters.

It’s all down to them bones
The base of your pelvis has a bony protrusion on each side called the ischial tuberosity. Or in plain English the sitting or sitz bones. The way these bones are positioned is vital for your sitting comfort. If you place your hands under your buttocks as you sit down you should feel the bony protrusion of your sitz bones. As you sit try pulling them into alignment so that you are sitting on the bones. This then sets up your pelvis correctly for sitting and you will find that the rest of your supporting bones will line up properly as a result. When everything is correctly arranged it’s easy to sit in comfort. Get it wrong and pain is never far away.

How poor sitting habits cause you discomfort
Where most people get it wrong is they sit on the back of their pelvis and so the sitting bones don’t get used. What happens is the spine starts to become rounded. It has a knock on effect as it rotates your shoulders and places your head forwards.

And it’s the poor postural alignment that quickly begins to inflict pain on the body as everything is working under strain. Unlike the natural support you get with the correct placement of the sitz bones. Because we’re not used to sitting correctly many find it difficult to achieve and need a helping hand.

How a simple wedge can transform your posture

The Wedge

The Wedge For Aligning Sitting Bones

Posture expert Kathleen Porter is well aware of the trouble people have with being able to sit correctly, especially after they’ve spent many years sitting the wrong way.

She has come up with a neat little posture corrector called the Wedge. And if you're thinking that you've tried seat wedges before and they don’t work this is a little different.

Most seat wedges take up the whole of the seat and that’s where Kathleen’s wedge is unusual. It’s much smaller and can literally be carried anywhere.

It’s designed to change your posture in a way that realigns the rear part of your bottom. It quickly places your sitz bones in the correct position. What you do is to place the wedge at the rear of your buttocks and as you sit down you lift and shuffle your left and right buttock in turn to align the sitz bones correctly. Once your sitting properly the wedge keeps your posture correctly aligned.

Of course if you chair is worn out and needs to be replaced the wedge won’t magically make your chair better. Although it will probably help if sitting is intolerable.

Wrapping up
Let’s quickly look at what we've covered here:
It’s not always the fault of your office chair that you suffer discomfort
Sitting rigidly up straight is unnatural and won’t improve your posture
You need to learn how to sit and use your sitz bones
Using a device like the wedge can greatly assist you to sit healthily

So before you decide to replace your chair with one with all those cool new features, take time to see if you are sitting correctly. You'll need to persevere to make it a habit as you unlearn the way you have previously been sitting. Here's where you can find more details on the wedge to help you achieve good sitting posture.

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How Office Workers Can Boost Their Health: Automate Your Fitness

chair cartoon

Does Your Office Chair Have An Auto Eject Button?

I was wandering round a car boot sale at the weekend and came across 3 separate booters selling Jane Fonda’s Workout video. This isn't altogether surprising since she has sold 17 million copies of it since 1984. I wonder how many people actually stuck at it and continue to do these workout routines? Very few I fear. Exercising isn't a popular pastime for most of us.

When it comes to the workplace hardly anyone does any exercise. Getting people to even relax and take a break is a challenge

Why do we fail to take regular breaks at work?
We tend to get wrapped up in what we’re doing and so ignore the need to take a break. Even though we know it’s time to get out of our chair and alter our posture, often we choose to ignore it.

We kid ourselves with self-talk saying we’ll take a break when we get to the end of this important task. Before you know it 30 minutes or more has gone by and the need for a break is more pressing than ever. Without realizing it we allow ourselves to develop unhealthy working habits.

Why is taking regular exercise and breaks important?
People working in offices tend to spend far too long sitting all day. We've all got used to working at our computers for hours on end and as a result don't get the exercise and change of routine that old style manual work used to provide.

We tend to get locked into our chairs for far too long. This results in our bodies not getting nearly enough healthy movement.

This is unnatural for our body and we end up with aches and pains or worse. Pain is your body’s early warning system signaling that it’s time to move. Whenever you start to feel pain you should take a break and get out of your chair and do some exercises. We've developed a really bad habit.

How can we fix this unhealthy way of working?
It’s so easy to ignore the need for a break when you're working on something important. We need a little help, a spur to take action. Fortunately there is a good selection of simple software programs that are designed to give us a much needed prompt to take a break. And to make things really simple they even include exercise routines too. Let’s take a look at some examples of what’s available.

Exercise and break software
Breakpal is set by default to prompt you to take a break every 30 minutes. If you stick to the suggested routine it means you will build 45 minutes of exercise into your day. The user can also configure the timing of breaks. Once a break is due you can choose what type of exercise you would like to do. There is a wide choice of videos varying from simple desk exercises to yoga exercises and even kung fu type routines if you fancy it.

To keep you motivated the program is designed to tie in with social media sites like Facebook. The idea being that you can connect with others to motivate each other to do the work.

There is a trial period, after which you need to subscribe. This costs $9.95 a month of $60 for a full year.

MacBreakZ is an app for Mac users which also has a series of exercises to keep you working healthily. However it also has some neat features as well.

Instead of just using a time based routine it actually takes account of the strain associated with the work you have been doing. So if you’ve been working really intensively it will reduce the time between breaks to allow for this.

Not only that it has a subtle dialogue box giving advance notice of the time before your next break. It won’t interrupt your work flow if you’re in the middle of something but waits until you finish what you're doing. There’s even a coloured indicator which gives a visual warning of how healthily you're working. The program is fully user customizable.

You can try it out for 30 days. There is a one of payment of $25 for individual users as well as corporate rates for businesses with multiple users.

Stretchware is a program/app for both Windows and Mac users. It includes timed breaks which can be user defined. The program has 14 different exercise routines to choose from. These are based on clearly drawn graphics with explanations of how to perform the various different routines.

After a 30 day trial period there is a one off payment of $24.95 for a registered copy. For multiple users there is a sliding scale discount generously discounted to make it an attractive proposition.

Let’s quickly recap what we've covered here:

  • We tend to put off and ignore the need to take breaks
  • It’s health enhancing to get movement and exercise into your work routine
  • Software can help to keep you working healthily

Don't end up like those discarded Jane Fonda Workout videos. By using any of the 3 break and exercise programs discussed in this article you can greatly enhance your health when working in the office. Nonetheless you still have to do the exercise, that’s something you can’t auto complete.

Here's where you can find more details about Breakpal, MacBreakZ and Stretchware. With the trial period there's no excuse to not try one or more of them out.

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Why Sitting All Day In An Office Chair Is Unhealthy. Are You Developing Statue Syndrome?

What’s wrong with sitting all day? It’s a lot more comfortable than being on your feet all day isn’t it? Like many things in life it’s only when you have too much of a good thing that it can actually become harmful.

Of course sitting as an activity isn't bad for us, provided it’s mixed in with other forms of activity. Unfortunately, when it’s all you do every day the lack of movement can soon start to develop into problems.

Why lack of movement is not good for your body
The human body was never designed to remain static for long periods of time. Early man was always on the move as a hunter and gatherer providing food for his tribe or family. Humans continued to move as they went about their lives performing manual tasks until relatively recently.

With the explosion in technology a great deal of this way of working and living has been automated. Machines do a lot of the work for us as a result we have been reduced to spending far more time sitting.

Often we sit all day at work and then when we relax in the evening we spend more time sitting watching TV or reading. Consequently we don't get to move nearly as much as we should and this is just plain bad for our health.

How sitting for hours on end is unhealthy
Just as your body needs a balanced diet so too does it need a balanced level of activity. Unfortunately when you sit for hours on end particularly in a poor chair, beavering at a computer screen you end up getting far too little movement.

Without noticing it you can often remain locked in the same position for long periods. And it’s all made worse because without being aware you often tense your body as you work. Shoulders and neck become raised and tight as you concentrate on the task at hand.

Often we crane our heads forward when absorbed in something and so the whole of the upper body ends up in an unhealthy rigid posture. We start to resemble some Greek statue.

Eventually, your body comes to the rescue and sends you a good old dose of pain. This is a wake up call that it’s time for a change, in short it forces you to move.

You would be silly to keep ignoring these signals because it greatly increases the chance of permanent damage, as you get older. You need only observe elderly people to see the results of poor posture. So take action to make sure you don’t end up like this.

What can you do to minimize the problem?
Whilst it would be nice to not have to spend most of the day sitting, for most of us it’s a way of life. However, by applying some common sense to the way we work it’s simple to make our work routine a lot healthier.

To begin with get out of your chair frequently and walk around the office, maybe make a cup of tea or ideally get a few minutes of fresh air.

Perform some simple stretches to help keep your muscles active and relieve them from being set in the same position for too long.

Pay attention to your body, it knows what’s best for you. When pain sets in don’t ignore it, instead treat it as a signal that it’s time for a change of posture.

And if you have a really bad office chair that doesn't support you well and just seems to keep you locked like a statue all day, it maybe time to change it. A good quality chair offers great support and comfort. It also moves with you as you feel the need to change your posture.

When you have to sit all day, take steps to help your body cope:

  • Realize remaining in the same position for hours at a time is unhealthy
  • Try and maintain a balanced way of working, get out of you chair frequently
  • Do some simple stretches and exercises several times a day
  • Listen to your body, when pain appears change what you're doing
  • If your chair is worn out, look to replacing it with a better one

Here’s where you can find some simple office exercise routines and if you chair is past its sell by date, here are some quality ergonomic office chairs worth looking into.

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Is A Wood Kneeling Chair A Good Idea? A New Way Of Sitting

variable balans kneeling chair

Variable Balans Chair

Sometimes when you have been sitting in an office chair all day you can feel really seized up. And in reality your body is literally frozen in position from too many hours at that same 90° angle. Some gain relief by tucking the legs behind their seat base to open up the angle of the thighs with the torso. Guess what? That’s what a wood kneeling chair does naturally.

Where did wood kneeling chairs come from?
Wood knee chairs first appeared in Europe in the early 1970s and the original commercially produced one, the Variable Balans is still available today. Its designer Peter Opsvik wanted to offer chair users a healthier alternative way of sitting. He was impressed with the pioneering research by Dr A C Mandal who had demonstrated the health benefits of this way of sitting and why its diverse principals were superior to traditional seats.

How does a wood kneeling chair work?
It functions in a totally different way to a conventional chair. It still has a seat, however this merely acts as a resting place for the buttocks. The real work is done by the user’s shins, which rest on the knee pads at the front of the seat. With the curved runners allow users to lean forwards and backwards giving motion in use.

I suppose a more accurate name for this type of chair might be a shin chair as this is where the user’s weight is carried. It’s probably just as well that weight isn’t carried through the knees as this would likely cause fatigue and pain. One of the joys of using this type of kneeling chair is its versatility, there are so many ways of using it.

variable balans feet up

Variable Balans Feet Up

How many ways can you sit in it?
Its flexibility lets you use it in many different ways. The conventional way and the most popular is to place both shins on the front kneeling pads and rest your buttocks on the seat pad.
As movement and variation of sitting position is vital for maintaining a healthy posture this type of chair is ideal. You can rest one foot on the floor and leave one shin on the knee pad. Or you can rest both feet on the floor which places more weight on your bottom. You can place one or both feet on the knee pads. It’s great to mix and alter your seating postures throughout the day to suit the tasks you are performing.

Where can you use a wood kneeling chair?
Its most obvious function is as a replacement for your office chair however it’s a lot more flexible than a mere office seat replacement. It’s a great way to watch TV and is a whole lot healthier than sitting slouched in a sofa with a rounded back, which places so much strain on the spine. Due to their portability, it’s simple to transport from room to room and they make great dining chairs too. If you meditate regularly you'll love the feeling of freedom. There are just so many ways to use a wood kneeling chair, the choice is only limited by your imagination.

Why a wood kneeling chair is good for your body
It makes an excellent alternative to a conventional office chair because it allows you to sit in a much healthier open position. This encourages blood flow as well as aligning the body in a much better posture. And the ease with which you can change your sitting position makes movement shifts simple and easy. This type of seat is also very easy to get in and out of.

So if you keep feeling like your body is locked in time and need to be shoehorned out of your office chair, give some thought to a wood kneeling chair. It could be as very liberating experience.

Here’s where you can find some reviews of wood kneeling chairs covering a variety of different models.

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Why BBC Staff Training On Use Of Office Chairs Makes Sense: Sitting Badly Is Harmful

Whatever will they find next to waste taxpayers’ money on? The BBC is giving one on one training to staff on how to use their office chair at their new northern headquarters in Manchester UK. Have they gone mad? Surely anyone can work out how to adjust an office chair can’t they? What's this all about?

How BBC caught flak for training staff how to sit
It all started with a Tweet by Football Focus presenter Dan Walker referring to a chat with a ‘chair champion’ about selecting his favorite model. It appears employees are to receive personal training on how to use their new chair from qualified personnel dubbed by the presenter as chair champions.

Several national newspapers quickly seized on the story and branded the idea a ridiculous waste of money. The Daily Express even had an image of a swivel chair without any levers, fixed arms and back that even a chimp could set up.

However isn’t this all a little unfair, as no national organization would be seen dead with such a poor quality chair?

Why it’s not as stupid as it seems
Let’s give the BBC some credit here. It’s taken the trouble to offer its staff a choice of 3 styles of quality high tech chairs. It realizes that if it is to get the best out of its people they need to be sitting in decent chairs which have been designed to give proper support and comfort.

Better quality chairs aren't always a case of point and sit. They often have a number of subtle, intricate adjustments and it isn’t always obvious what they do. This is why it actually makes a great deal of sense to train people how to use them properly.

Returning to Twitter for a moment, you will often see Tweets like:

three years. three whole years and i've only just figured out how to fiddle with my office chair to stop myself getting back ache. FAIL!

adjusted the tilt on my office chair by about 5 degrees, and see the whole world differently. (My butt stopped hurting.)

Chair manufacturers should shoulder a lot of the blame for people’s lack of knowledge on how to set up and adjust their office chair. The more responsible ones do offer good guidance on how to get the best out of their chairs.

Nonetheless, far too many give little of no guidance as to what all those levers are for. It’s a high back synchro stupid, everyone knows what they do don't they?

No wonder sitting in an office chair is an unhealthy pastime.

How sitting affects your health
Sitting all day in an office chair is not good for us. We simply weren't designed to live like this, fixed in the same posture for hours on end. The longer you spend sitting poorly the quicker you will start to ache. And that's understandable; it’s nature’s way of telling you it’s time to move.

It’s made all the worse when your chair is poorly adjusted because you end up getting little or no support. Movement is key to maintaining a healthy body and better quality chairs are designed encourage movement and good support.

Surely it only makes sense for the BBC to give training on how to get the best out of an office chair. Of course it costs money to do this. However it’s likely to be money well spent when you consider the cost that claims for RSI (repetitive strain injury) and back problems can rack up.

Does everyone think the BBC is wasting money on this?
Another paper, the Daily Telegraph ran a report on the story and the online version has attracted a good numbers of comments. Whilst many agreed a fair number of more informed people sided with the BBC.

These made a number of valid points including:

  • The loss of staff time caused by time off with bad backs
  • The huge cost of potential compensation claims for long-term issues
  • How many deriding the BBC would be the first to claim if they had back problems
  • How journalists suffer as much as anyone from sitting poorly for too long
  • One person who had RSI problems which were enormously reduced after training on how to sit correctly

Knowing how to sit properly matters
Sitting properly is vitally important for anyone spending their working day in an office chair. It’s easy to pooh pooh organizations like the BBC for what seems like money wasting. However, when you consider what can happen from sitting badly, showing people the proper way to sit surely makes sense.

Here's where you can read how to set up your office chair correctly.

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How Trigger Point Pain Affects Office Workers: Self Treatment Is Easy

The last time the clocks changed to summertime I did my rounds of all the various timekeeping devices before going to bed. This all went smoothly until I got to the cooker clock. No matter which buttons I pressed the clock wouldn’t change. There are 6 buttons in all and I must have tried every combination known to man. It made no difference I couldn't get the time to change I hadn’t found the right buttons.

What are trigger points?
Simply put trigger points occur in muscles and have the effect of restricting muscular action which then results in pain and stiffness. Over time this allows toxins to build up and it’s not unusual for a trigger point to have existed for years.

The problem with trigger points is although they can be extremely painful in their own right, they usually affect other parts of the body. It’s not unusual for an upper body trigger point to be causing pain or restriction to areas in your lower body. This often results in treatment to the wrong part of the body.

How do you know what muscles need to be treated?
This can be quite complex to resolve. I've spent many sessions with physios massaging a painful arm which had little chance of success because the area being treated was the result of a trigger point. Consequently, what was needed was work on the trigger point which was the source of the muscle pain in the first place and the means of relieving it.

How should you treat trigger points?
When conventional treatment doesn't seem to be working for muscle pain, trigger point therapy is well worth considering. There are two courses of action you can consider. First, find someone who understands trigger points and knows the appropriate muscles to treat. They will soon be able to assess your problem and treat the offending points.

Alternatively, you can treat your trigger points yourself. This may sound a bit daunting, however it’s not as complicated as it sounds. I recommend getting hold of a copy of The Trigger Point Therapy Workbook it’s an excellent book and the author covers the topic in great depth. He gives numerous examples of people who had been in pain for years and were cured in a matter of weeks once the source was identified.

Another excellent self-help source is New Zealand based Chiropractor Dr Graeme Teague. His reports and ebooks cover comprehensive information about trigger points and how to treat them.

How do you treat your own trigger points?
Generally speaking once you have found the offending muscle it’s simply a question of applying pressure to it or massaging it for a short while. This has the effect of activating the muscle again and moving the buildup of toxins such as lactic acid. This in turn passes on the word to the affected muscles and they start to regain movement, this release relieves the pain at the same time.

Where a trigger point has existed for some time repeat treatment will be needed. But how do you deal with parts of the body you can’t reach?

Relieving trigger points in awkward areas
Not surprisingly the back, neck and shoulders are a rich source of trigger points. Often it just isn't possible to reach them yourself, so what can you do?

Enter the Theracane. This cleverly designed self treatment tool will enable you to reach pretty much any part of your body and nail those inaccessible triggers easily. It looks a bit like a stunted hockey stick with a few extra handles and protrusions added in. Suddenly you have a third hand and all those awkward areas are within reach. But should you really be treating yourself?

Is it safe to treat your own trigger points?
This is a purely personal view. I can honestly say I have never had any problems treating my own triggers. I really don't think applying pressure to a muscle is likely to cause you any issues. However, if you are in any doubt it’s always best to seek the advice of a medical professional for peace of mind.

Once you get to know your body’s trigger points it can be amazingly quick to relieve painful muscles. For example if I've been typing a lot I can often get pain at the rear of my elbow. To alleviate the pain I know if I apply pressure to the muscle at the end of the rear of my right shoulder for about 10 seconds, it’s sorted.

Summary

  • Trigger points are often the cause of pain in other parts of the body
  • Treating a painful part of the body is often ineffective because it’s not the source of the pain
  • Option 1- find a trigger point specialist
  • Option 2 – use self treatment
  • Educate yourself in how to treat the problem
  • A Therecane is like a third hand for treating problem areas
  • If in any doubt seek medical advice first

When you don’t understand trigger points it can be a bit like that cooker clock, no amount of pushing and prodding is going to alter things, you'll be stuck in time and pain.

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The Basics Of Sitting Properly In Your Office Chair: How To Develop Good Habits

I was passing an antique shop downtown when I spotted some photos from the Victorian age. And interestingly they all had something in common. I was amazed. It seemed so obvious what was different between that age and our age. Back then every sat ramrod straight on their chairs.

And we just slouch. So why are we such slouchers?

What makes us disregard the way we sit?
Sitting properly is really all about understanding the ground rules of maintaining a good posture throughout your working day. The thing is we're so busy that most of us give little thought to whether we are or aren't sitting correctly. We tend to throw ourselves into our chair and work away at what we are doing and before long our body starts to protest.

The lousy posture we’re adopting is quickly signalled as our body sends us wake up calls in the form of pain. And as nobody likes pain it’s time to acknowledge change is needed and start sitting correctly. Why is sitting badly so prevalent these days?

Why don't we sit properly?
Apart from maybe being told at school to sit up properly, most of us have never been taught how to sit in the right way. As a result we tend to drop into our chairs without any thought about the need to address our work in the correct manner.

This type of unstructured sitting where we just let our body follow the path of least resistance is actually so much easier to do. Basically we’ve learned a bad habit and learned it well. The problem is it soon catches up with us because sitting poorly is unhealthy.

What happens when you don’t sit properly?
Sitting badly places enormous stresses on the body. When you back is curved forwards and rounded it opens up the disks in the back and puts your spine and surrounding muscles under pressure.

From your body’s point of view it makes it work overtime trying to support an unhealthy posture. It soon tires and its natural response is then to produce pain, the alarm signal that change is needed. If you try and ignore it the pain often spreads from maybe your lower back into the shoulders and neck as well.

All this means it’s time to unlearn these bad habits and start replacing them with some good ones, it’s actually pretty straightforward to do.

How do you sit properly?
You need to begin by making sure your seat is set to the right height. When correctly set your feet should be firmly on the floor and the angle between your thighs and your upper body should be between 90 and 110 degrees.

Next, sit with your bottom placed at the back of the seat of your chair. At the same time making sure that your chair’s back is giving good support to your lower back. When it’s properly positioned it will have the effect of keeping your back upright, which in turn tends to relieve pressure on your shoulders and neck.

And if you find the back doesn’t give you proper support you probably need to replace it with a ergonomic office chair. As a stop gap measure you may find a lumbar roll will provide you with the necessary support.

Lastly, and this is the most difficult part, keep your chin tucked in towards your breastbone. This has the effect of lengthening your spine and keeping your back properly aligned. The reason it’s the most difficult part is most of us have spent years doing the exact opposite craning our necks forward instead. Consequently, you will need to persevere with this one, but it will be worth it.

Putting it all together
Here's a quick summary of the key points I covered in this article:

  • Remember that sitting consists of some basic ground rules
  • Unstructured sitting following the line of least resistance is not good
  • Be aware of the stresses and strains poor sitting puts on your body
  • Never ignore pain, it’s a wake up call for change
  • Learn and apply good sitting habits and think about changing your office chair if it prevents you from sitting properly

If you follow these guidelines and adopt healthy sitting habits, in time your back will straighten up and become like those healthy Victorians.

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