If you work in an office and are seated at a desk for most of the day, you can’t underestimate the importance of a good chair. Having a good office chair can make a huge difference in your quality of life and the amount of back pain you experience. But what exactly should I be looking for in a chair?
What “Ergonomic” Means
It’s easy for a company to simply label any chair as “ergonomic”. While a chair may advertise special ergonomic features such as “lumbar support”, many of these chairs are made to be one size fits all. It’s important to understand that ergonomics change for each person and a chair needs to be able to adapt to meet those individual needs. Here are 5 specific variables that allow a chair to be well suited for a person's ergonomics:
Variable seat height
The most important feature of an office chair is an adjustable seat height. A chair needs to be set at the right height that allows a person's feet to be flat on the floor, thighs horizontal with their arms, and their arms even with the height of the desk.
Variable seat back
A feature that many people may not know about but is also an important feature for office chairs. An adjustable seat back can help maintain posture while keeping you comfortable. The backrest should be positioned to allow the back to rest firmly while keeping 2 to 4 inches between your knees and the seat.
Adjustable lumbar support
Many chairs offer generic lumbar support but its position on the chair may not be a good fit for different people. An adjustable lumbar support allows for perfect positioning and will prevent slouching.
Having a proper armrest height is very important for preventing repetitive strain injuries for those who are typing for several hours each day. Adjustable armrests allow the arms to rest comfortably with the shoulders relaxed. Elbow and lower arms should rest on the armrest while the forearms are kept slightly off the table.
These are factors that are specific to the type of work you do daily. Having a chair with a good swivel is helpful if you need to reach different areas of the desk without straining your back. Specific seat materials should be chosen based on your comfort. Research seat paddings to see if the material will stand up to the number of hours you will spend in the chair.
Even if you have the perfect office chair, try to stand up once every hour for at least 5 minutes. Research has found that long hours of sitting are linked to a higher risk for obesity and cardiovascular disease. If you are thinking of making the switch to a standing desk, try easing into it first to avoid potential side effects. Stand for no more than 30 to 60 minutes total per day and gradually increase the amount of time spent standing as you get more comfortable. Try setting a timer to remind yourself to switch between sitting and standing, then experiment with different intervals until you find what works best for you.
Whether you are sitting or standing, your Rochester chiropractor can help with any pain you may be feeling throughout the workday. Here at Rush-Henrietta Family Chiropractic, we specialize in diagnosing possible triggers at work that may be exacerbating back pain. Schedule an appointment with your chiropractor in Rochester to get out of pain today.