The pain felt by 70% of all Malaysian office workers and how to treat it
It’s true, almost 70% of all office employees report having neck, shoulder, and lower back pains from minor to major pains. Why? Researchers from University Putra Malaysia (UPM) note that due to long hours spent sitting (8 hours or more on average), prolonged poor work posture and non-ergonomic furniture, leading to a rise of work hazards year on year, costing perhaps someone like yourself thousands in therapy and massages, or the company in insurance and reimbursement. And we’ll walk you through how to solve this, as soon as we understand what’s happening to our bodies.
Is it any surprise that we are feeling restless, sore, and cranky after sitting in these IKEA chairs for 8 hours straight?
So 70% of all Malaysian office workers have musculoskeletal discomfort (The official name for random soreness and pains), but is all the pain the same type? Dr. John Peloza, orthopaedic surgeon and Founder of the Center for Spine Care in Dallas, notes that back pain is a very personalized problem, and while people can experience back pain from prolonged sitting, the symptoms could be completely different. From our experience, we see anyone from young adults to senior folks, who are looking for an ergonomic chair to their pains on advice from their doctors. He explains this musculoskeletal discomfort can be split into several common categories:
Dull pain in lower back
If you have a dull, aching pain at the lower back, it could mean that you have mild or severe muscle spasms, aches in the hips and pelvis, and limited mobility. Dr. Steven J. Atlas, from the Harvard Medical School, notes that people in such ergonomic studies often report tighter and more painful back muscles with prolonged sitting such as a long car ride as an example.
Sharp pain in butt, legs, feet
If you feel a sharp pain or numbing sensation in your lower back that moves down to the thighs, legs, and feet, it would be caused by pressure on the lumbar root (exacerbated by herniated discs) called sciatica.
How to resolve back pain issues?
The above side effects of prolonged sitting can generally be cured by alternating between ice and hot packs on the sore muscles, correcting your posture, but key to true lasting prevention of back pain is in choosing the right ergonomic chair for yourself, and constant discipline in strengthening your muscles and flexibility, says Dc Andre Abader, Chiropractor of Kiropraktis Asia. This opinion is shared by Dr Atlas, who says "The goal isn't to get into the chair. The goal is to start moving. Walking is better than sitting." Moving and exercising those neglected muscles is the fastest way to preventing pain. However, if the problem persists after 4-6weeks, make sure to have it checked by a professional, as the condition could have worsened and reveal underlying medical conditions.
The role of an ergonomic chair
We've even compiled a list of the best ergonomic chairs in the market, we know a thing or two about chairs ;)
So how does an ergonomic office chair help reduce the risk of dull pain in the lower back, and sharp pain/numbness in the butt, leg, feet? Ultimately the way how the ergonomic office chair is shaped is designed to reduce pressure on the back ad hips, as well as providing/encouraging micro-movements (known as dynamic seating medically), letting you lean back and rock the chair comfortably, while providing a firm cushion base for your hips. All this leads ultimately to a better posture and comfort.
If our posture is heavily affected by the object we are sitting on, it stands to reason that a good proper ergonomic chair will reduce our bad postures just like what was suggested by UPM. BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders published a paper here that talks about the role of a chair and how an ergonomic chair reduces lower back pain for office workers by contouring to their bodies and reducing pressure that the spine experiences and provide dynamic seating (A chair that moves together with your body).
If you can reduce the pain felt on your body, I’m sure everyone would be having a more comfortable time engaging in their tasks, and start to consider getting a proper ergonomic chair. If you want to learn how to choose a good ergonomic chair, read our in-depth guide here!
To conclude, whenever possible, avoid prolonged sedentary sitting. Move around in your chair, stretch, take a walk around the pantry every 2 hours, try jogging before and after work. But for long term sustainability and prevention of back pain, choose the ergonomic chair that fits you and provides you with the support you need. You can check out our catalog here, or give us a call and chat to see what suits you the best!