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There are many brands of ergonomic chairs on the market today, including Allseating, BOSS, ErgoFast, Eurotech, and many others. With so many different choices of ergonomic chairs and stools, many of which you can probably find in an office near you, it’s clear that ergonomics have become a popular trend in office furniture design. But how many people actually know what makes a chair, or any other piece of office furniture, “ergonomic”? Keep reading if you’re interested in learning more about this revolution in seating and furniture design, and making the most of your health and workplace experience.
According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, ergonomics, which is also known as human engineering or biotechnology, is a type of applied science that is centered on the design and arrangement of “things people use” so that those people and things “interact most efficiently and safely.” The term may also be used to describe the characteristics and design of an object as a consequence of the use of ergonomic science. This may all sound complicated, but at the end of the day, ergonomic furniture is designed to keep people comfortable and safe as they work, and most importantly, to help workers avoid stress-related injuries on the job. The following factors affect the ergonomic design of an office chair, which is the most important piece of furniture for a comfortable workplace.
A regular office chair can easily leave a person with pain in the back, neck, and shoulders after extended use. It really doesn’t take long to feel these effects if you are sitting in a poorly designed office chair day in and day out. With one of the available ergonomically designed products, such as the popular ergoCentric chairs, this is no longer a problem. An ergonomic chair is designed to provide optimal back support, including lumbar support in addition to a classic backrest with just the right amount of padding, to keep the spine in a healthy straight position. This ultimately limits stress, absorbs shocks, and reduces the likelihood of injury.
The height of a chair may seem inconsequential, but it can make a big difference when it’s wrong. If the height of your chair and/or armrests isn’t right, you will quickly become uncomfortable on the job. Ergonomically designed chairs have adjustable armrests and seats, and sometimes even adjustable backrests, so you can get the perfect match for your height and body type.
The overall size of a chair matters in ergonomics as well. The design of an office chair should not only consider the height of various parts, but also the width of the backrest, and the depth and width of the seat. The backrest should be at least 12 inches wide and the seat should be at least 18 inches wide, if not more, to provide adequate support for the worker.
At the end of the day, all these ergonomic factors can help contribute to a happier and healthier workforce, which makes an organization much more productive in the long run.
Home office and workplace ergonomics are incredibly important considerations. While it might not seem like improper posture or sitting the wrong way in front of your computer could damage your health, the fact is that you can suffer some serious injuries over time, as noted by the University of Connecticut. What conditions might you suffer if you don’t practice good posture and ergonomics? Here’s a closer look.
Ergonomic and Posture-Related Health Disorders
All ergonomic and posture-related health disorders are technically musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs). MSDs fall into a broad range of categories and conditions. Depending on the length of time you spend sitting, and just how poor your posture or position is, you might find yourself afflicted by any of the following:
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome – A condition in which the tendons running through the arms, wrists and hands are inflamed, making most common hand and wrist movements painful
- Tendinitis – A condition in which tendons become inflamed; it generally afflicts the arms and elbows, but can be present in other parts of the body as well
- Bursitis – Swelling and inflammation of the fluid-filled sacs between joints, tendons and muscles. It can afflict virtually any area of the body
- Thoracic Outlet Syndrome – This condition includes a weakened grip, pain in the neck, and often tingling or numbness in the fingers
- Chronic pain in the neck, upper back, lower back, shoulders and arms
Each of these conditions can cause serious discomfort and pain, and they can lead to significant time lost from work as well as medical expenses. In severe cases, some may require surgery to correct. For instance, severe carpal tunnel syndrome cannot be alleviated by using wrist braces alone, but may require surgical intervention to eliminate the problem.
How Do You Avoid These Conditions?
Obviously, avoiding and minimizing the conditions listed above is in the best interests of both the employee and the employer. Thankfully, it’s not that difficult to get around those problems. All it really requires is following the right ergonomic practices within the workplace.
Good workplace ergonomics can vary from one position to another, most of the time workers will need the right office chair, the right desk and the right computer setup to provide good posture and eliminate strain on muscles, joints and tendons. An ergonomic office chair should offer:
- Good neck support, either through a built-in headrest or a high back, which is particularly important for those who spend multiple hours each day seated in the chair
- Good lumbar support to ease the strain and discomfort on the lower back – lumbar support can come in the form or an adjustable position via a lever or through additional lumbar padding
- Armrests should be adjustable and padded to ensure that the worker is comfortable and can position the armrests so there is no strain placed on the shoulders
- Adjustable height so that the employee can adjust the seat’s height to allow them to sit with their feet flat on the floor, rather than angled or above the floor
Proper ergonomics in the workplace can improve the health of workers, save money on medical bills, and reduce lost time and productivity for the employer.
There's nothing better than taking a load off at the end of the the day, and settling into our favorite armchair to watch some TV. But what you may not realize, is that your favorite TV characters were often sitting in some pretty memorable chairs as well. It can be exhausting entertaining audiences around the country, so they surely needed some rest and relaxation of their own. Here are some of the most famous chairs to have graced our TV sets over the years.
- Archie Bunker's Chair - Archie Bunker's chair from All in the Family is probably the most famous chair in television history. Archie ruled the roost from that sloppy old wingback chair, whether he was hollering at Edith to get him a beer, or making fun of his "Meathead" son-in-law. The chair is such an indelible symbol in American history, it now resides in the Smithsonian Museum in Washington, D.C.
- Martin Crane's Recliner -When Frasier's titular character invited his retired ex-cop father Martin to move in, he didn't expect the elder Crane to bring his beat-up old recliner with him. It didn't exactly fit in with Frasier's designer aesthetic, but when he tried to get rid of the chair, Martin revealed its emotional significance, and Frasier let the chair stay.
- Chairy - This is probably the only instance of a chair that was actually a character on a TV show, but Chairy from PeeWee's Playhouse was one of the many objects in Pee-Wee's Playhouse that came to life before our eyes. Granted, as an adult, the idea of having a chair hug you when you sit down on it is a little bit creepy, but as a kid, it was the coolest.
- The Iron Throne -The throne from the hugely popular Game of Thrones is unarguably the scariest chair on this list. The Iron Throne may not be the best chair for back pain, but it's forged from over 1,000 swords of Aegon the Conquerer's enemies, so it sends quite a message. The seat of kings in the Seven Kingdoms has proven almost as deadly as the men who have sat on it, but it is probably the coolest looking chair on this list.
- The Simpsons' Couch - Okay, so choosing a couch is kind of cheating, but there's no denying the indelible image of that drab brown couch, packed full of America's favorite yellow family. The Simpsons has been on the air for 26 seasons now, and the coach has appeared in the opening credits of every episode, as the family piles onto the couch at the very end. Plus, the running couch gag is one of the best things to look forward to in each episode.
The most comfortable chairs for lounging in front of the TV may be squishy old couches, but at the office, it's important to make sure you have the best office chairs for lower back pain. The best office chairs for lower back pain are ergonomic computer chairs. These chairs have the adjustable features to prevent neck pain, muscle tension, and leg pain, and the lumbar pillow insert to support the lumbar spine, lower back muscles, and pelvic area.
About 31 million Americans are experiencing lower back pain at any given time, including 50% of all working Americans. It's important to pay attention to the way you're sitting, and how much time you're spending sitting. If you're going to spend your free time lounging on the couch, you better make sure you're spending your work day in the best office chairs for lower back pain.
The leaders of our great nation spend their days making hugely important decisions that affect an entire nation, if not the entire world. They obviously have a lot of weight on their shoulders, and as such at times need to take a load off, sit down in a nice comfortable chair, and relax.
Believe it or not, chairs have played an important role in our American presidency, and the shaping of our great nation over the years. Here are some of our country's most powerful chairs.
- JFK's Rocker - Like 50% of working Americans, John F. Kennedy suffered from chronic back pain. He found relief in the comfort and support of a sturdy rocking chair, and he acquired over 14 rocking chairs in his lifetime. One of these chairs even made it onto Air Force One, and another was a fixture in Kennedy's Oval Office.
- FDR's Wheelchair - Franklin Delano Roosevelt was handicapped by polio for much of his life, and spent much of his presidency in a wheelchair. He didn't want to be perceived as weak, physically or politically, so he was rarely photographed in his wheelchair. Only a few such photos exist today.
- Jefferson's Swivel Chair - Thomas Jefferson is famous for many things, but among them is his invention of the swivel chair! That's right, the desk chair you're sitting in now was basically invented by one of our Founding Fathers. It's also believed that Jefferson sat in his swivel chair as he drafted the Declaration of Independence in 1776.
- The Lincoln Memorial - Dedicated in 1922, and carved out of 28 blocks of white Georgia marble, the Lincoln Memorial is a stunning tribute to one of our most beloved presidents. The 19-foot seated figure sits on an 11-foot pedestal, gazing towards the Washington Monument. The president was larger-than-life when he lived, and still carves a large figure, even seated. And at least this is a much better seat than the one he had at Ford's Theatre.
- Invisible Obama's Chair - Alright, so this wasn't really an important chair, more like a memorable one. Remember when Clint Eastwood made a speech at the Republican National Convention in 2012, and directed it to a chair that an invisible President Barack Obama was allegedly sitting in? Whatever point he was trying to make was completely overshadowed by the fact that he looked like a rambling crazy man.
Whether you're an American President or Joe Schmo, it's still important to have the best office chairs for lower back pain. The best office chairs for lower back pain are ergonomic computer chairs. These chairs have the proper adjustments and lumbar pillow inserts that are the crucial features of the best office chairs for lower back pain. These features help support the lower spine and muscles of the lower back, as well as avoiding neck pain, muscle tension, and leg pain. Quality office chairs will make your job much easier, even if that job is leading the free world.
There are some jobs in this country that seem like only a risk-taker could do. Firefighter, stuntman, soldier, and astronaut are a few occupation examples that might spring to mind. Sure, these jobs are dangerous, but none of them are among America's least healthy jobs. In fact, you could be surprised to learn that one of the least healthy jobs in America just might be yours.
The dangers vary from falls to respiratory illness to repetitive strain injuries, and much more. The most common occupational complaint, and one experienced in a number of the occupations on this list, is back pain. At least 50% of working Americans admit to having back pain annually, and experts estimate 80% of the population will experience it throughout their lifetime.
America's Most Unhealthy Jobs
(With average number of illness and injury reported to the Bureau of Labor Statistics)
- Construction Worker (125,120) - This one is not a huge surprise. Falls and repetitive injuries are common problems with construction workers.
- Office/Administrative Staff (83,320) - Did you know a desk job could be dangerous? Well, when you're sitting all day in a cheap office chair, it can be. Office workers can blame their office chairs for back pain, because without a lumbar pillow insert, a chair can result in back strain and poor posture. Also, inhaling toner and ink fumes all day doesn't help either.
- Sales Staff (76,210) - If they're not sitting in cheap office chairs all day, making sales over the phone, they're falling from ladders while gathering merchandise, straining to carry it to customers, or even being injured by malfunctioning displays.
- Nursing Aides, Orderlies, and Attendants (49,480) - These workers are exposed to dangerous chemicals and disease in hospitals and nursing homes, and also experience strains from lifting heavy patients.
- Janitors and Housekeepers (46,540) - The heavy carts that housekeepers push can cause back pain, and inhaling potent cleaning supplies can result in illness.
- Registered Nurses (20,500) - Lifting heavy patients, getting hit by gurneys, or even being attacked by patients' family members make this one of the most unhealthy jobs.
- Waiters (9,520) - Waiters are carrying trays weighing up to five pounds, all by themselves, often on one shoulder. So the next time you're worried about the weight you'll gain from a big meal, spare a thought for the person that had to carry that meal to your table.
- Computer Specialists (2,720) - These workers suffer a lot from repetitive injuries, but also from cramped workspaces.
If one of these jobs happens to be yours, don't panic. There are some simple steps you can take to prevent illness and injury in most professions.