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When Your Ergonomic Chair Isn't Enough

Mar 26, 2008
Based on the best ergonomic research available today, you would believe that if your monitor is in the right place, if your keyboard and mouse are positioned just right, you'll be free of any type of repetitive stress injury.This is just not the case.

My practice is in an area heavy on computer users. They all work for top notch companies that have hired ergonomic experts to measure the angles and modify the employee's desk and chair to make sure they are in the best position possible. Still, all of the people that come into my office are still experiencing pain and discomfort in the head, neck, upper and lower back.

Why isn't the ergonomic chair enough? Why doesn't it "fix" everything that can go wrong? Do we need more expensive chairs?

I don't think this is the problem. You have to agree that the early computer workstations were not very ergonomically friendly, so it certainly helps to have improved that situation. I still see people that have problems because of either spinal misalignments or because they get so little physical activity that their spines are starting to show the wear and tear of their normal daily activities.

Just about every problem with the spine can be linked to some kind of trauma. Trauma from a car accident or a fall is easier to notice. A small, repetitive trauma that seems benign when done for a short period can really start to affect the person when done for forty or more hours per week and compounded by years of the same movements.

The muscles in the front of the body become short, creating a hunching over. The muscles in the back become longer and, because of this, they become weaker. After awhile, the best chair in the world is really only providing support for a spine that is not nearly as healthy as it could be.

In fact, it could be argued that since the chair is providing all the "support," the person may not feel the need to improve their own spine and create a better support for themselves. Over time, the spine is only getting weaker and more is being asked of the ergonomic equipment meant to prevent injury.

What's the solution? See a chiropractor, and make sure your spine is in alignment. Next, get some exercise and work specifically on targeting stretching of the muscles in front of your body and strengthening muscles in the back. Now your ergonomic setup will actually have something to support!
About the Author
Dr. Philip Cordova is a chiropractor in Houston, Texas. More information about this Houston Chiropractor can be found on his website at http://www.MyHoustonChiropractor.com
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