A healthy workplace through ergonomics: protect your back and intervertebral discs

Who hasn't been there? After a long day at the office, spent mainly sitting down, you come home and just want to put your feet up. Not only do you feel mentally exhausted from all the thinking and stress, you also feel physically exhausted. But why? You've been sitting and relaxing all day...

A month has passed. You now rub your neck more often at work or get up to reach behind your back and stretch backwards. In the evening, you can't find a comfortable position on the sofa because it always starts to hurt somewhere after a few minutes. Welcome to the world of chronic back pain!

We have already reported briefly on ergonomic working in our previous blog post. But today we're going into more detail.

Rückenschmerzen am Arbeitsplatz

Why does back pain occur?

Basically, pain starts where our nerves are strained. As the spine protects the spinal cord in the spinal canal and therefore almost forms the center of the nervous system, there are countless nerve cords here. It is therefore no coincidence that pain occurs around the spine. In the case of muscle tension, muscles press on a nerve, in the case of a slipped disc, the core fluid of the disc presses on a nerve, and so on.

Movement is particularly important for pain prevention when it comes to the intervertebral disc, as intervertebral discs require constant loading and unloading in order to be supplied by the body. The lumbar spine and neck area in particular are often affected. Why? These two areas are exposed to the greatest strain, especially when sitting.

Muscle tension can also cause severe discomfort. They become cramped as a result of prolonged or incorrect strain and then press on the surrounding nerves. Here too, it is usually the back that is affected, which is severely affected by the risks of sitting.

Slipped discs and ergonomics

The main reason for sick days in Germany are complaints of the musculoskeletal system - including mainly back pain, usually even chronic complaints. Back pain is also the main reason for early retirement. In economic terms, this costs the economy immense sums in the millions every year. Despite this, the economy has not yet recognized that ergonomic prevention measures are the key to improvement.

Häufigsten Gründe für Krankentage in Deutschland.

AU data from DAK-Gesundheit 2018

Even independently of ergonomic products, our society is becoming more "sedentary" and moving less and less. This also has an impact on our back health. The answer to the problem is an improvement through more integrated ergonomics in everyday (working) life.

Ergonomics in the workplace to combat back problems

The aim of ergonomics is to harmonize people with their working environment and to ensure well-being and health. Particularly at a time when we are increasingly working in a seated position, ergonomics creates a balance and prevents lasting damage to the body - especially to the spine, which is most affected by the dangers of sitting.

Characteristics of an ergonomic workplace

So what does an ergonomic workplace actually look like? In our blog article on sitting and standing in the office , we addressed this topic in detail. It is important to mention that there is no standardized ergonomic workstation. However, adaptability and adjustability have the highest priority, especially for products that are directly related to our posture. In short, however, the most important features of an ergonomic workstation (as we understand it) can be summarized as follows, in order of importance.

Arbeiten im Stehen an einem höhenverstellbaren Schreibtisch

The benefits of an ergonomic desk for the back and intervertebral discs

Why is the sit-stand desk the most important core element of an ergonomic workstation according to so many opinions? Ergonomic office furniture for the workplace requires movement through its adaptability on the one hand and promotes correct posture on the other.

A sit-stand desk is therefore the ideal solution to ensure the necessary alternating load and relief for the intervertebral discs because the body is constantly in motion.

Of course, slipped discs can also occur in other ways and ultimately due to heavy wear and tear. Even height-adjustable desks cannot heal a broken back. However, if you want to protect yourself in the best possible way, you should use a mobile and adjustable workstation, primarily a desk at which you can work both sitting and standing.

The benefits of an ergonomic office chair for your back and intervertebral discs

Even if a height-adjustable desk is not used while standing, it is still essential that posture is optimized while seated . The correct sitting position can protect the back, even if standing up temporarily is the better solution.

If the spine is correctly shaped and well supported while sitting, the intervertebral discs are not overloaded and the wear and tear effect remains low. Arms and therefore the shoulder, neck and throat strain can also be optimally absorbed by an adjustable office chair, thereby protecting the thoracic and cervical spine.

A good office chair also protects the lumbar spine enormously. A multi-adjustable chair is therefore always worthwhile and is necessary to complement a height-adjustable desk.

Richtige Sitzhaltung an einem ergonomischen Bürostuhl

Does an ergonomic workstation relieve back pain?

So far, we have talked about what you can do to avoid back pain as far as possible. But what if you already suffer from chronic pain? Can an ergonomic workstation provide relief?

This much is clear: ergonomic office furniture cannot heal injuries. It is true that ergonomic products are largely aimed at protecting health in the long term and preventing risks. However, this does not mean that switching to ergonomics after injuries or chronic complaints cannot have an effect.

Workplace after a slipped disc - what now?

Even an injured spine needs the right posture in order to work as healthily as possible. This is ensured by adjustable office furniture. Movement is particularly important after a slipped disc. You can easily integrate this into your everyday life with a height-adjustable desk. You can also get a type of standing aid or stool for standing. This will relieve your still very sensitive spine a little more, even when standing. You should change positions every hour at the latest.

Elektrisch höhenverstellbarer Schreibtisch

Also make sure - and you will certainly know this from your doctor anyway - not to lift or carry anything heavy. This also applies to piles of paper or heavy files in the office. Bending down can also be dangerous at first. Ask colleagues for help with dropped objects or cable plugs on the floor.

In any case, you should not do without physiotherapy and regular medical massages until you are almost completely pain-free and healed (in consultation with your doctor).

What else can you do against back pain and slipped discs?


One of the most obvious solutions is to stretch the painful area of the body. We humans often do this intuitively when we want to stretch and bend after sitting for a long time. Targeted stretching exercises for specific parts of the body, such as the neck, shoulders, upper and lower back, etc., can be found in countless places on the internet. We recommend using videos as a guide, as the movements here are also visible and perfect for copying. Stretching and fitness classes in the area could also be a pleasant and beneficial way to balance out your sedentary lifestyle and prevent back problems.


Exercise is the be-all and end-all for a healthy back. Nothing prevents back pain and spinal injuries better than being at least slightly active. If this is not possible for work-related reasons (or if there is a lack of enthusiasm for sport), height-adjustable desks offer the ideal opportunity to incorporate movement into everyday working life.

Of all the factors that influence back health, movement is without exception the most important. Nobody who wants to remain mobile and pain-free in old age should do without exercise.

Bewegung am Arbeitsplatz

The right mattress

All too often we forget that the way we sleep has an immense impact on our back health. The right mattress provides optimum support for our spine (the right firmness level depending on our body weight is also very important here!) and the right pillow protects our cervical spine and neck.

This is one of the reasons why Yaasa started out in the world of well-being with mattresses! Yes, really - we started with mattresses: you can read more about this on our About Us page.

A healthy and balanced diet

A healthy diet is a positive thing in every respect. Not only the back, but the whole body can benefit from a balanced diet. When it comes to the spine, nutrition plays a significant role, especially in relation to body weight. Being overweight can quickly lead to pain in the joints and spine, as the body is not designed to carry a heavy load over a long period of time.


Meditation is the key to contentment. Last but not least, our mental health plays an essential role in how well we can cope with everyday life. Even the best physical health cannot replace a healthy and active mindset. Meditation, self-reflection or prayer - whichever you identify with best - are therefore essential to feeling thoroughly well at the end of the day.

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