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Daily Archives: August 6, 2014
Owning an ergonomic office chair, in place of a regular chair or desk chair, has proven to be incredibly beneficial to one’s health and well-being. At least 50% of working Americans experience back pain on a regular basis, and an ergonomic office chair is designed to provide adequate lumbar support, which not only provides more comfort, but will keep the user from experiencing more back problems down the road. The ergonomic support goes beyond just the back, however. The chair’s other adjustable components also help to increase circulation and alleviate pressure on your spine and joints.
Simply owning an ergonomic office chair will not ensure that it is helping to alleviate any issues. One must adjust the chair to fit the proportions of the individual’s body, in order to maximize both comfort and relief. No two people are alike, and therefore, the individual user must be considered not only when selecting the right office chair, but also when adjusting it before use.
Lumbar Support - The lumbar support is the most important adjustment of your ergonomic chair. The lumbar portion of the spine bears the most body weight, and is therefore most susceptible to injury. Therefore, it is crucial to make sure that one’s lower back is adequately supported. When seated, the chair’s lumbar support should fit comfortably into the curve of your lower back, and your feet should be flat on the ground.
Hips and Knees - Hip and knee joints are areas of problems and discomfort for many people. The best position for both of these joints is if your feet are flat on the floor, and your legs are bent at a 90-degree angle. In this position, your knees should be level with your hips. Make sure to adjust the height of your chair to the appropriate level for this position.
Armrests - Armrests are more than just a place to, well, rest your arms. Armrests are actually meant to take some of the strain off of your upper spine and shoulders, and to make you less likely to slouch forward in your chair. Leaning forward even 30 degrees closer to your computer screen puts three to four times more strain on the back. In an ideal position, your chair should be adjusted so that your elbows are at a 90-degree angle on the armrests. Your armrests should just slightly lift your arms at the shoulders.
Neck Position - If working at an office job or in front of a computer, it’s important to make sure that you are not craning your neck to look at your computer screen. This can lead to discomfort and neck strain. When sitting in your desk chair and looking at your screen, your forward gaze should be at the center of the screen. If your neck is craning up or down, you should adjust the height of your chair.
Lean Back Reclining slightly in your chair transfers your body weight to the chair’s backrest, easing weight off of the vertebrae. Reclining to create a 135-degree angle between the thighs and trunk puts less stress on the ligaments of the spine than sitting upright at 90 degrees or slouching slightly forward. Sitting upright at 90 degrees actually puts the most stress on ligaments of the spine, particularly on the intervertebral discs.
Sitting upright for extending periods of time puts unnecessary stress on the back, increasing the risk of chronic back pain. Even sitting for over six hours a day for a decade or so can cut about seven quality-adjusted years of your life. An ergonomic office chair is the wisest choice you can make for comfort in the workplace, but keep in mind that finding the right chair and adjusting it properly are just as important to the chair’s effectiveness to your overall health and comfort.