The seat of evil

An office chair, today
Many years ago, when I worked for a large airline with the initials BA, I had a back problem, which due to some problems pinning down exactly where the physical sensations were coming from led to a fairly unpleasant time. (Suffice to say that it was only diagnosed as a back problem after I had been asked to attend an STD clinic.)

With some excellent exercises from a physiotherapist, the most embarrassing of which appears in my murder mystery novel A Lonely Height (great Christmas gift - shameless plug), the back pains came under control, and disappeared altogether many years ago.

Now the pains are back, if you'll pardon the circular expression. And I think I know why.

Ever since I started working for myself I've had a good quality office chair (I think I'm on my third now) with effective lumbar support. Even though I can often spend most of my working day at the computer - with frequent breaks, of course - I never have back problems. However, since September I have been rolling up to the University of Bristol two days a week to perform my duties as an RLF Fellow. And the office chairs, as illustrated, lack any back support.

I ought to stress I'm not picking out the University of Bristol for criticism here. I think this is still typical of many office chairs. But it is just surprising how a mere two days a week on one of these contraptions can bring it all back. Thankfully I haven't forgotten the exercises, and they have helped a lot already. But if you are a desk worker who suffers from back problems, do see if your chair could be the cause. You don't, in my experience, need one of those fancy kneeling chair thingies. Just a bit of decent back support can make all the difference.