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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.
With so many different ergonomic chairs on the market today, from Office Star and Jobri to BOSS and ergoCentric chairs, finding the right seating choice for your specific needs can be difficult. Ergonomics are certainly not a one-size-fits-all approach. An ergonomically designed work chair should be able to conform to your height, weight, and body type, and also be appropriate for your line of work and professional environment. A tall and heavyset man will probably need a different ergonomic design than a short and petite woman, just as an IT professional will probably need a different office chair than a laboratory technician. With so many different factors to consider, how does one find the right work chair? The following information should help.
Why are Ergonomics so Important?
Ergonomic design is a multidisciplinary field of science that considers various human factors with the goal of designing furniture, equipment, and tools that complement the human body and mind, ideally resulting in more productive workplaces and happier, healthier workers. The way people sit is a very important part of this. Sitting is not as sedentary of a position as one may assume. When a worker in any given field sits in a chair all day (or for a large chunk of their workday), they are also engaging in activities in that chair, which are all influenced by the way that worker engages with their surroundings – especially their chair. The following video is by Allseating a chair manufacturer that describes the cores needs in building your ergonomic workstation.
What Makes a Suitable Work Chair?
If you’re shopping for ergonomic chairs, the most important human factors to consider are the body dimensions of the individual who will be sitting in each chair. And this means all the body dimensions. An ill-fitting chair might be ideal for someone’s height, but not appropriate for their weight and body type, for example. This can lead to stress and strain, and ultimately injury, which could in turn leave a worker unable to work and an employer in hot water. There are other factors to consider, such as the costs of repairs and maintenance, in addition to the initial costs of purchasing the chairs. Avoiding repetitive stress injuries is worth the investment, but not if the company goes into the red from the costs of owning the chairs. Luckily, many manufacturers make some very affordable models that are also high in quality. The following video is for the ergoCentric Geocentric petite ready chair.
It All Comes Down to Body Type
Make sure to gather information about the heights of employees before purchasing new ergonomic chairs for the whole office. An ideal work chair will be roughly a quarter of the user’s height. While most employees doing similar jobs will probably be comfortable in similar or identical chairs as long as the seat and armrests are adjustable, there will also probably be a few outliers who will have special ergonomic needs and require somewhat different chairs. No one should be punished for being uncommonly short or tall, having a long torso or unusually sized limbs, or being otherwise out of the norm. To avoid repetitive stress injuries and find the ergonomic chairs with the best value, consider body type first.
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.
When the threat of back pain looms, it's important to do all you can to prevent it before you are stricken. Back pain is the number one complaint doctors get, with an estimated 80% of people experiencing it throughout their lifetimes. 50% of working Americans admit to having back pain annually, and the primary cause of this is spending long hours seated in a cheap office chair. But there are steps to take both at work and at home to offset the harm sitting can do to the body.
- Get the Right Chair - The best chairs for lower back pain are ergonomic computer chairs. These quality office chairs are designed for people who spend long hours sitting at work. They are designed with a lumbar pillow insert to support your lower back, and ergonomically-adjustable components for preventing back pain. These chairs will keep you sitting up straight, and alleviate the pressure on your lower back.
- Pay Attention to Ergonomics - A quality ergonomic office chair is not going to do any good unless the chair is appropriately adjusted. Make sure the chair's individual components are adjusted to suit the user's body, as most everyone's body dimensions are different. It's also important to make sure the entire workstation is ergonomically sound, meaning the computer monitor is just below eye level, the computer mouse is close enough to the user, and any regularly-used tools or utensils are within arm's reach.
- Take Breaks - Taking regular breaks from your cheap office chair will have a very healthy effect on your lower back and your circulation. If you can take a break every hour, even to walk across the office and back, you will find yourself feeling better and focusing more.
- Stretch - The muscles of your back spend long hours in a strained, uncomfortable position when you are seated all day at work. When you have the opportunity at home, it's important to stretch out these muscles, to offset the time they spend cramped in a cheap office chair. It may seem more natural to stretch your lower back muscles by bending over and touching your toes, but it's actually arching your back and sticking out your bottom that stretches your lower back muscles.
- Get Enough Sleep - While chronic back pain is the top cause of insomnia, lack of sleep paradoxically works to make lower back pain even worse. It's important to get enough restorative sleep to allow your body to work to heal itself, and to allow the muscles in your lower back to relax.
- Exercise -Keeping your muscles in action as much as possible is very important to your back health. It is particularly important to concentrate on strengthening your core, as a strong core will help support your spine when you are seated, thus avoiding lower back pain.
Back pain is the most common complaint among office workers, and in fact, at least 50% of working Americans admit to having back pain symptoms every year. 31 million Americans are experiencing lower back pain at any given time, and they may not know what to do about it.
Well, the most important step to take is to make sure you have the best office chairs for lower back pain, and that they are adjusted correctly. There are other steps to take to prevent or alleviate back pain, such as taking breaks from your desk, stretching, and taking walks, but for the time you do have to be seated at your desk, finding the best office chair for lower back pain will do you a lot of good.
The best chairs for lower back pain are ergonomic computer chairs. These quality office chairs are not only comfortable, but are equipped with the cushioning and adjustments that will help to keep your body supported and healthy. Cheap office chairs are often not particularly comfortable, and you get what you pay for.
The most important feature of the best office chairs for lower back pain is the lumbar support. Most quality office chairs come equipped with a lumbar support pillow, which cushions the lower back area. This helps to lift and stretch the muscles in the lower back, and to alleviate some of the stress on the lower vertebrae. This area of the spine supports much of your body's weight when in the seated position, so it is very helpful to alleviate some of that strain.
It's also important to make sure that your chair is properly adjusted. You may not have previously thought that these adjustable components of your chair were very important, and maybe even kept them the same as the person who used the chair before you. Even the best office chairs for lower back pain will be of no use to you if they are not appropriately adjusted. Using in improperly-adjusted chair can lead to neck pain, muscle tension, and leg pain, in addition to back problems. There is no universal office chair, because there is no universal body size. Make sure you adjust your chair accordingly, and you will likely experience a good deal of relief.