What to look for in an office chair to reduce lower back pain and improve productivity
Lower back pain is one of the most common health complaints in our modern world. Desk jobs have relegated many individuals to a more sedentary lifestyle, requiring workers to stay sitting for up to 12 hours a day or more. The majority of back pain is caused by poor posture and inadequate back support as a result of spending long hours sitting in poorly designed office chairs.
Though staying seated is a job requirement for many, it is, in fact, possible to prevent back problems at work by finding a desk chair that offers proper lumbar support. If you’re tired of experiencing a bad back due to improper seating, you may want to consider investing in an ergonomic office chair. Read on to learn more about ergonomic back support and what you can do to prevent back pain.
Advantages of Using an Ergonomic Office Chair
Hours spent hunched over paperwork or squinting at a computer screen can result in poor back and spinal posture. Such posture can overextend the neck and shoulder muscles, resulting in muscle strain throughout the back, neck and shoulders. Many individuals feel as though this pain is an inevitable side-effect of white-collar living, but that is untrue. The problem can be solved by investing in an ergonomic office chair.
A standard work chair is produced with a ‘one-size-fits-all’ design. Though this type of seating may work for some, most individuals will eventually experience back problems from sitting in poorly designed office chairs. Normal office seating cannot provide adequate back support for most individuals. Also, many of these chairs do not allow for the backrest to be adjusted, often exacerbating lower back pain.
Ergonomic desk chairs are better equipped for periods of long sitting. Many are adjustable and can be customized to fit an individual’s height, spinal curvature, and seating arrangement. Additionally, ergonomic office chairs provide the following benefits: improved lower back and lumbar support (as the chair is better suited to the curvature of the spine and shoulders), more comfortable neck positioning and improved everyday posture. All of this will lead to an increased ability to work for longer periods of time with little or no back pain.
How Do I Choose an Office Chair?
Here are the main features you will want to consider before purchasing an ergonomic chair:
- An Adjustable Seat Height: An ideal chair should be adjustable in height and should come with a lever or other mechanism to allow for height adjustments. You should look for a chair that can be adjusted to your calf length, allowing your feet to rest flatly and squarely on the ground. Additionally, make sure that the seat will allow for comfortable leg room beneath your desk.
- A Well-Fitted Seat Depth: Many individuals sit in chairs that are too deep for them, resulting in slouching or leaning too far back in the seat. The chair’s back should be fitted so that you can sit in an upright position with your spine resting against it, while allowing for roughly eight centimeters of space between the back of your knees and the edge of the seat.
- An Adjustable Back with Good Lumbar Support: The back of your work chair should be adjustable, allowing you to adjust the positioning of the chair’s lower back support to match the height and curvature of your lumbar.
- Good Arm Support: Most individuals with back problems will find that a chair with good armrests provides them with additional support and comfort.
- Comfortable Material and Padding: A good chair should provide you with adequate cushioning and support without feeling bulky or overly padded. Consider whether the chair will be comfortable in both the summer and winter months, as some materials breathe better than others. What matters most is that the chair is comfortable for daily use.
- Alternative Styles and Features: Though conventional desk chairs are the most popular design, some individuals prefer ergonomic kneeling chairs or stools. If other features such as colour, design, and chair rotation are important to you, consider researching these features before making a purchase.
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- Mark Redshaw