Ergonomicians appear to make people work more efficiently on the assembly line.

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Editor’s note: In the United States, 80% of people suffer from back pain. The situation in China is similar. White-collar workers and workers have resorted to Chinese medicine such as massage and cupping, trying to get some relief. Some people will put a latex pillow on the back, trying to relieve the pain by providing support to the back. More people choose to stand up and work. However, in the eyes of Dr. Turner Osler, it is not a cure for the symptoms, and even more harm. He recommended people to try “active sitting.” The author is Ashley Abramson, the original title Your Office Chair Is Hurting You.

The office chair may be the culprit of back pain, try

Turner Osler designed and sold a chair that promotes “positive sitting”. Image source: Dr. Turner Osler

Turner Osler was very happy when he was a surgeon at the University of Vermont. Later, he received a grant from the National Institutes of Health for biostatistics research. This was his first long-term, regular career. Sitting at the desk. His back pain began from then on. He said: “I have tried a lot of chairs, but my back pain has not been better or even worse. So I spent a year trying to find a better and more economical solution.”

Doctor Osler is currently an expert in epidemiological research at the University of Vermont, and he has given his health research a new mission: to prevent what he calls “sedation.” Osler designs and sells chairs that promote “positive sitting” – that is, people sitting in chairs can unconsciously move more. He also donates chairs to schools across the country, believing that this is a practical way to improve public health. the way.

I talked a lot about him about the effects of sedentary, about modern ergonomics (including standing desks), and about how he uses his ownResearch and design to improve public health.

Q: As an epidemiologist, how do you encourage people to understand the health effects of sedentary?

Turner Osler: I am most interested in sedentary disorder, a complex disease of obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes and heart disease. These conditions are often accompanied by diseases that we are in. Among the pop. Sitting still all day is probably the main source of these problems.

It’s actually hard to ask people to pay attention to the sedentary hazards from this perspective, because most people don’t care about the heart disease that they may have in 20 years. But people will be very concerned about their current back pain.

“Active sitting posture” allows people to move while sitting. It solves two problems: reducing back pain and increasing metabolic rate. This chair is a bit like “hijacking” the muscles and nervous system of sedentary people, and even if they are sitting all the time, the chair can force them to be active.

Q: Why is sedentary a huge risk to our health?

Turner Osler: Humans shouldn’t be sitting all day, sitting all day is a disaster for our body: we are born to be hunting and gathering people. Among the primates, we only need a lot of walking if we have the need for exercise. Only then can our body work normally. So when you force people to sit all the time, a lot of mistakes arise.

First, imagine your working posture. Is the angle of the three big “joints” of the hips, knees, and ankles 90 degrees? Your body is locked in a standard 90-90-90 position and can barely move. In addition to inactivity, this can also cause back pain problems. 80% of Americans have back pain, which makes them have to seek medical help when they are serious enough. This number shocked me because I often need to “disassemble” the human spine in the operating room and anatomy lab, but the human spine itself is intact. The fact that 80% of us have problems on the back is meaningless unless you put the camera behind your back and carefully observe how we use our back.

In a cultural setting that doesn’t take long to sit in an office chair, back pain is less common. For example, in South Korea and Japan, people use other postures: squatting or squatting or sitting, and the incidence of back pain is much lower. From this perspective, it seems that the current widespread outbreak of back pain is really a problem created by modern society.

Q: What is the biggest problem with most standard office chairs?

Turner Osler: Designers and manufacturers of ergonomic chairs have realized thatWhen people sit in a 90-90-90 position, the back does not show a natural curve. Therefore, they attempted to restore the natural curve of the spine by providing additional support to the lumbar spine. But this does not solve the problem. What the designer needs to do is adjust the height of the chair so that when the person is sitting, the knee is positioned lower than the hip.

Your spine doesn’t need to stretch as the ergonomicsman calls a good posture. If you don’t sit on a seat with backrest and lumbar support, your spine knows how to support yourself, because all backrests and lumbar support will keep your spine from focusing on supporting the task. Remove these things, let people regain control, control their sitting posture, let the muscles move, and in the long run, people’s muscles will become stronger and the core strength will become better.

Q: When it comes to ergonomics, sedentary seems to be more of a psychological problem than a chair. Do you think traditional ergonomics leads to sedentary?

Turner Osler: Ergonomics does not exist to make people work more comfortable or improve their working posture. Ergonomics is to make people work more efficiently on the assembly line. And appeared. This is entirely an industrial concept.

Today, business owners want to redesign their seats and improve their work experience to prevent workers from suing them for repeated stress. As a result, ergonomics has more thoughtful care. But fundamentally, its purpose is still to let employees create more work results, rather than the noble purpose of caring for employees.

When I started attending the ergonomics conference, I was shocked because I found that the most advanced research was really bad. You can take a look at the latest related textbooks and you will find that the posture in which people sit is anatomically meaningless. The entire ergonomics industry is ready to restart. Basically all ergonomic office chairs are the same: they are rotatable, chrome plated and have lumbar support. But if the lumbar support is useful, why are so many people still suffering from the back?

Q: Is there any other good choice besides the office chair? Can a yoga ball be?

Turner Osler: Yoga balls were invented in the Danish neonatal intensive care unit in the 1950s. Some premature babies have problems with their secretions, and medical staff need to put their newborns on the ball. Shake them and help them drain the water from the lungs. As time goes by, the ball gets bigger and yoga lovers have the idea of ​​using them to exercise. Some people will say, “If the yoga ball is very good at the gym, why don’t you take it to the office and sit on it all day? It’s also an exercise.”

But if you want to sit comfortably, you have to adjust the height of the chair. No one knows that after you sit up, the yoga ball has