How’s your work chair?
Working in an office can involve many hours sitting in a chair….. but what kind of chair are you using at home? Prolonged sitting and poor posture can add stress to the structures in the body and spine. Sitting in a bad chair for prolonged periods can lead to back pain, neck pain, headaches and the poor ergonomics can contribute to ongoing pain in other areas like arms, wrist, hand, buttocks, hips and legs. It’s really important to have a chair that’s ergonomic and that supports the lower back and promotes good posture but it’s not just at work that we should consider our chair. Many of us spend many hours at home working on computers or laptops.
There are many types of ergonomic chairs available. No one type of office chair is necessarily the best, but there are some things that are very important to look for when buying an ergonomic chair so that you can adjust it to your specific needs
What are the features to look for in a good chair?
- Seat height. – Should be easily adjustable. to allow to have feet flat on the floor, with thighs horizontal and arms even with the height of the desk.
- Seat width and depth. The seat should have enough width and depth to support comfortably. The depth needs to be enough so that the user can sit with his or her back against the backrest of the chair. The forward or backward tilt of the seat should also be adjustable.
- Lumbar support. Lower back support in an ergonomic chair is very important. The lumbar spine has an inward curve, and sitting for long periods without support for this curve tends to lead to slouching An ergonomic chair should have a lumbar adjustment (both height and depth) so each user can get the proper fit to support the lower back.
- Backrest (area above lumbar support). The backrest should be adjustable in forward and back angles
- Seat material. The material on the office chair seat and back should have enough padding to be comfortable to sit on for extended periods of time.
- Armrests. Office chair armrests should be adjustable or removable to allow the chair to fit properly in at the desk
- Swivel. Any conventional style or ergonomic chair should easily rotate so the user can reach different areas of his or her desk without straining.
All of these features should be adjusted to give you good ergonomic posture at your workstation. For a guide on good ergonomic posture see our related article on desk set-up and ergonomics.