Injured Cervical Disks -- Best Chair/Support?
September 3, 2017 12:18 PM   Subscribe

Hi -- I recently injured my C5 and C6 Cervical Disks. Does anyone have advice on a good OFFICE chair at my job to help? Or which elements of a good chair I should be looking for? (Most everything out there is geared toward Lumbar injuries...)
posted by antipode12 to Health & Fitness (4 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
for me (herniations & stenosis from C4 to T1) it is very important that the chair has an adjustable headrest, or no headrest at all, and not one that aggressively shoves your head forward. depending on the nature of your injury you might feel differently; mine are on the ventral side of the spine so my head tilting forward, chin to chest, is extremely unpleasant, but tipping my head back to look at the ceiling is an excellent relief.

for best results you really need a combo of a good chair AND a good desk setup, because arm/shoulder strain will add to your neck pain.

also, if you are in physical therapy you can absolutely ask your therapist about stuff like this.
posted by poffin boffin at 12:57 PM on September 3, 2017

The one thing you can do with this office chair for a while, is let it turn your head for you. By this I mean, when you want to greet someone who enters your office, turn the chair, instead of your head. If you are looking for something, turn the chair, instead. When you want to get out of the chair and go out the door, turn the chair to the door, and then carefully brace your hands just over your knees, and push to a standing position, with every thing as straight as possible. This will give your injuries time to heal, and not get re-injured. Make sure your work surface is level with your elbows at rest. So then you are not lifting your arms up to work with them. Sit straight up as much as possible.
posted by Oyéah at 3:41 PM on September 3, 2017

Response by poster: Interesting that I intuitively knew that a headrest was a problem. All of the ergo chairs out there tout the adjustable headrest, but I always feel a little more relief if my head is tilted slightly back.

My desk set-up is shit bc of its design. I have the computer off to the left side and there is no spot for a keyboard tray. Putting the computer in center blocks my ability to speak with people. (Tiny, narrow office.)
posted by antipode12 at 8:57 PM on September 3, 2017

Best answer: Do you have a physical therapist? They can advise you what to look for.

If you don't have a PT, figure out what position makes you feel most supported*. For me (I have C6/7 issues), being in a very upright neutral position with my arms supported, with little movement, is the most comfortable for me. For some reason, most "ergonomic" chairs want you to to be tilted back, or have a bouncy mesh back, or arms that don't really adjust. You may be different.

Then go try a bunch of chairs and figure out which one works for you. Start at the office supply stores and work your way up. The chair that ended up working for me, the Lifeform Mid-Back Executive Chair at Relax the Back
You also need a different desk setup. That's not negotiable for your issue. Turning your neck is aggravating your condition! You probably also need a monitor riser so that you don't have look down to see your screen. A foot rest is also helpful. I personally don't like those slidey keyboar trays

In terms of getting a good chair and desk setup at work, your employer legally has to work with you on this. I actually got my company to buy me my chair without a doctor's note (see my recent Ask). However, under the Americans with Disabilities Act, your employer has to provide a "reasonable accommodation," such as a better chair, better desk setup (which may include moving offices), etc. It's your legal right. And it's in their best interest, because an employee with less pain is a more productive employee. They may ask for a note from a doctor or a PT.
posted by radioamy at 3:36 PM on September 4, 2017

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