Style, look, feel, comfort, features, price, durability, and functions. These are all common factors a person would seek out and research when deciding on a new office chair purchase. While all the aforementioned factors are of great importance in the decision making process, perhaps the feature that should be most sought after most is the amount of support a chair is going to give you, especially when it comes to lumbar support. The lumbar region of the back, or more simply stated the lower back, is one of the most essential parts of your body that needs to be properly supported while seating in order to avoid long term health effects that can make working and sitting a real pain (literally). With that being said, it is important to be educated in the types of lumbar support offered in order to find the best kind of support for you and your body.
When analyzing the importance of lumbar support, it is important to first explain the importance of adopting the correct sitting position, an often overlooked but common contributing factor to back problems. Sitting right is simple, although it may seem like a chore at first always trying to remember to sit correctly. The lower back below the belt line must be as far back as possible, thus ensuring the lumbar gets the support and the back is maintained in a straight position. Lumbar support and correct sitting posture together, not individually, will give you good ergonomic comfort.
To illustrate, a good point of reference is statistics provided by the British Society for Rheumatology in a study conducted to understand the mechanics of the lumbar disc. When compared to the pressure on the lumbar disc in the standing position, unsupported sitting, which can be caused by the improper position or lack of lumbar support or both, increases the load by 40% on the disc. (On top of that, reclining, comparatively, reduces the strain by 70%).
There are two different kinds of lumbar supports which can be found on any ergonomically correct chair; active and passive. The difference between the two, simply put, is that passive is usually not adjustable, but built into the frame of the chair, while active is a standalone lumbar support that can be adjusted in a multitude of ways. While most would be quick to judge and assume active lumbar support is the way to go, this is not necessarily true. Passive lumbar can achieve the same amount of support as fully active if the chair has other ergonomic elements built in to adjust the chair such as a ratchet back or seat slider, for example. However, if these elements are not present, then an active lumbar support is the winner.
Adjust-ability is important when talking about lumbar, speaking in terms of an active support. While adjust-ability up and down is crucial because you can fit it to where your lumbar is, adjust-ability in and out is just as important, in that it regulates the pressure applied to your lumbar; the support strength, if you will. Four-way adjust-ability allows for the user to customize their office chair’s lumbar support for their personal needs. Usually, four-way lumbar is a premium feature, but not one that should be overlooked.
Adjust-ability in passive lumbar support is rare, being as it is built into the frame of a chair, but certain office chairs incorporating passive support also include a seat slider and ratchet back, to allow for adjust-ability. Depending on your back problems, and on the amount of time you sit in your chair during the day, the support needed is a personal issue. Most chairs have built in passive lumbar, but if you feel stress on your back with that format, then try an active support for a while, or vice versa.
When you are sitting in your office chair throughout the day the last thing that probably comes to your mind is the seat you are sitting on, let alone what type of seat it is and if it has a seat slider adjustment. None of this really ever comes to mind, unless you are on a search for a new chair, especially if you are looking into getting a more ergonomically correct chair. The seat is one of the most important parts of the chair, after all it is what most of us sit on for eight hours or more everyday. You are going to want a seat that is going to be able to keep you comfortable throughout the day and have the proper adjustments available to meet your body’s needs. That being said, not all office chair seats are created equal.
When you are looking at the seat of a chair, look for the side contour of the seats, as well as the waterfall front, shown in the Humanscale Freedom Chair to the right. These two features allow for optimal blood flow through your legs. Optimal blood flow reduces yawning and tiredness (because you yawn and get tired from a lack of oxygen, which can come from bad circulation, drinking water helps this too). The contoured seat pan is definitely an ergonomic benefit which is a standard feature in most true ergonomic chairs.
Some chair companies offer the option of a saddle seat, or a tractor seat. These, shown on the right, are highly specialized solutions for people that need to remain in the same position, and are generally geared towards those with hip problems because the contours give you more support than being parallel and alleviate pressure points. We do not recommend them, unless there are specific seating needs required that necessitate a tractor seat, as for a standard person looking for basic ergonomic support would feel uncomfortable. The tractor seat does not come standard on chairs, it is a special seat offered by specific manufacturers.
Chairs that offer multiple adjustments for their users, sometimes offer an adjustment know as a seat slider. The seat slider is the device that adjusts the seat pan forwards or backwards. It is essentially a ratchet back feature for the seat. The slider helps the chair adjust to the user, not vice versa. Its importance to a chair’s overall ergonomic nature can be determined by the type of seat cushion in the chair. This feature can help adjust the user so that they are getting full use of the waterfall feature on the front of the seat, as well as provide the user the ability to fit into the contours of the seat comfortably. For taller people, the seat slider is a great feature, as it adjusts the seat to the right depth.
If used properly, the seat slider can add more comfort and customize the office chair to the user. Most ergonomic chairs will have this as an additional option. The seat slider in terms of ergonomic benefit is definitely a needed upgrade because it gives the user an additional adjustment, to make their office chair fit their needs.
Contoured seats and seat sliders, while they may appear to be more of a luxury than a necessity, in reality are one of the most important elements to every chair. Just as you want the back of your chair to provide you with ergonomic support, you also want your seat to give you ergonomic support as well. With a well designed ergonomic chair that is tailored to fit the user’s body, aches and pains will no longer be an everyday occurrence and getting through long work days feeling tired and groggy will be eliminated as well. For more information on office chairs and their features visit our Chairs 101 section.
As we are all well aware, Valentine’s Day is coming up this Sunday and the gift giving season is beginning to start up again. With all the love in the air and presents in mind, we felt it is appropriate to give a gift of our own for Valentine’s Day, that gift being a free ergonomic neck support pillow with the purchase of any office chair on our website. Our logic behind all this: we love giving back to our customers, and what better way to show our appreciation than to give a gift of our own!
The comfortable neck support pillow offers pain relief and rest while cradling the neck, whether sitting up or laying down. It comes in a navy blue color and will easily inflate in a minutes time. The neck support pillow also comes with a convenient carrying pouch to store when traveling.
With neck, shoulder, and back pain becoming more prevalent in the work environment people need affordable options to help relieve their pain. For relieving mild pain, it could be as simple as getting an ergonomic support pillow to add on to your chair or wearing a neck support pillow when sitting down for long periods of time. And what better time to get a neck support pillow then when they are free!
The ergonomic neck support pillow will be given away with all chair purchases beginning on February 8, 2010 and ending on Valentine’s Day February 14, 2010. There is a limit of one neck pillow per order and all pillows are non returnable/non refundable. The offer is not valid with purchases of office accessories, ergonomic accessories, eco-friendly accessories, and any other items that would not be classified as an office chair. Free neck support pillows are available while supplies last.
Get your free neck support pillow today by clicking here!
Experiencing neck pain is unpleasant, to say the least, to have to endure especially if experiencing it for long periods of time throughout the day. Your neck is one of the most sensitive areas of the body, responsible for holding up the bottom of y
our skull and providing the brain with nutrients. Spending countless hours in front of a computer everyday is going to change your body and unfortunately there is not much you can do to avoid sitting for extended periods of time especially if it is part of your job description. Your front neck muscles are slowly growing shorter and tighter, while the muscles in the back of your neck are growing longer and weaker. Not to mention it must not be an easy task to hold up a ten pound head for hours at a time. From prior experience, I know what it feels like to have pain in your neck all throughout the day and how much harder it makes it to work under that kind of condition. But what I did not realize is that your office chair can actually be the reason why people experience neck pain.
The spine requires essential movement throughout the day, unfortunately for most workers that are confined to sitting in an office chair all day this seems to be nearly impossible. This is even more the case when workers are using standard office chairs and office furniture which leaves the body confined during the day, and puts high pressure loadings on the spine. Chairs that have stiff backs meaning that they do not have back and height adjustments, restrict the body and do not conform to your body which can lead to back pain as well.
It is estimated that each year, 11 million days of absence from work occur due to neck pain. This medical condition costs industries upwards of $5 billion per year. 800,000 hospital in-patients and 12 million consultations are needed for neck pain every year. In most of the cases, the main culprit was extensive sitting in a poorly designed chair. Research in cellular biology has shown that the cartilage cells of our intervertebral discs undergo intense pressure and are therefore unable to receive nourishment from normal blood supply due to immobility. The discs will gradually lose and may lead to acute neck pain, if this much needed movement ceases to happen. In worst cases scenarios, this turned out to be fatal or even caused temporary mobility.
In a study published in the European Spine Journal and conducted by Dr. Julia Hush of the Back Pain Research Group at the University of Sydney, found that 15 to 44% of people suffer pain in any one year, but recent studies suggest that office-workers are at higher risk of neck pain than others. Another interesting finding was that female workers were 3 times more likely to develop neck pain than their male counterparts. Also people who suffered high levels of personal psychological stress were over one and a half more times likely to suffer neck pain than others.
While the most extreme cases of neck pain may have to be seen by a chiropractor in order to help alleviate the pain, their is one solution that is much simpler and easier to do when you start experiencing neck pain so it does not get any worse. That solution is to purchase a new ergonomic office chair. An ergonomic office chair is a tool that, when used properly, can help one maximize back support and maintain good posture while sitting. However simply owning the ergonomic chair is not enough, it also needs to be adjusted to the proportions of the individual’s body to improve comfort and reduce aggravation to the low back and neck while sitting. An ergonomic chair that has a headrest can also greatly improve your neck comfort. With proper posture and a better ergonomic chair that will be able to adjust to the user’s body, your neck will certainly have reduced pain and work will be less painful all together.
With the first decade of the millennium coming to an end and 2010 just around the corner, we found it appropriate to give acknowledgement to the top ten chairs and accessories sold on the Sitbetter website the past decade. It was stiff competition to come out on top amongst hundreds of items sold on site but these ten prevailed over all others, and for that we think they deserve a little extra attention and recognition for obviously having quality, style, comfort, and of course appeal.
10. Ergonomic Knee Sit Chair
Another hot item that everyone seemed to want along with their office chair was the Office Star Ergonomic Knee Sit Chair with Dual Knee Pads. A way to work for those who prefer a different way of sitting. Designed for short periods of time, the knee sit chair puts the back into a more natural position.
The Knee Sit Chair is made for people who want break from traditional sitting, and want some temporary relief on their back. Featuring the comfort of Memory Foam on the Seat and knee cushion!
Perfect to use alongside your regular office chair and for a low price of $89!
Find out more about Knee Sit Chairs by clicking here!
9. Under-desk Pencil Drawer
These have been a huge hit recently and at only $50, anyone could use and under-desk pencil drawer to stow away all those unnecessary items that clutter the desk.
Click here to find out more about under-desk pencil drawers!
8. Humanscale – Switch Mouse
The Switch Mouse is an innovative mousing solution that boosts comfort and reduces the risk of injury. This groundbreaking peripheral device integrates two major innovations- a V-shaped base, which puts the wrist and forearm into a natural position, and size adjust ability to provide a perfect fit for any computer user.
Click here to find out more about the Switch Mouse!
7. Big and Tall Bariatric Chair With Caressoft
The Boss Big and Tall Bariatric Chair with Caressoft vinyl is designed exclusively for our big and tall customers’ needs.
The 2 paddle spring tilt mechanism can be locked in any position and there is a 5-inch thick padded seat for comfort.
Contoured cushions improve posture with built-in lumbar support. Pneumatic seat height adjustment with adjustable tilt tension and tilt-lock is another feature of the big and tall chair.
Big and Tall Chairs generally cost upwards of $400-$600 for all of the features mentioned above. For the low price of $239 you will definitely get your bang for your buck for this chair, which is why these flew out the door all last year!
Find out more about the Boss Big and Tall Chair!
6. Heavy Duty Stacking Chairs
The durable design is what made this chair so sought after, and it comes in a pack of 4 for only $389.
If you need to seat a large event or gathering the Essential is perfect for you.
Find out more about the Essential here!
5. Kore Rocking Stool
The Kore rocking stool was a surprise hit this decade and has taken off in popularity just in the last year.
Taking stool technology to another level, the Kore Stool embodies an ergonomic feature long touted by ergonomists as a bedrock of proper ergonomics: Continual motion of your body while at work.
The Kore™ Stool allows the user to flex side to side and front to back – with its patented anti-tip system and gently rounded ergonomic base.
The stool allows you to move and flex without falling or leaving your seat.
The Kore™ Stool great for exercising your legs, back, and abdominal muscles, while also relieving and preventing soreness and stiffness!
Find out more about the Kore Stool!
4. Boss Deluxe Posture Office Task Chair
The Boss Deluxe Posture – Office Task Chair with Loop Arms has a thick padded seat and back with built-in lumbar support.
The waterfall seat reduces stress to te legs and the back heigh and seat depth are fully adjustable.
The 5 star nylon base allows smooth movement and stability along with the loop arms. Available in four colors: Grey, Burgundy, Blue and Black tweed; complete with a Six-Year Limited Manufacturer’s Warranty.
The best part about the chair and what makes it so popular is that you can work a full day in this chair comfortably for $66.
Available with or without arms, both were just as popular.
Find out more about the Boss Deluxe Poster here!
3. Emc2 Advantage
The Emc2 Advantage placing in the top 3 chairs of the decade doesn’t come as a surprise.
The Advantage Series Ergonomic Mesh Chair provides complete ergonomics with 4 way adjustable lumbar and padded, 4 way adjustable arms, breathable mesh, 2:1 syncro tilt knee, satin nickel base with foot-guards, and smooth roll casters.
Not only is this chair great quality but it also comes at a great price of $189. In my opinion, one of the best deals you can find for an office chair anywhere because the price definitely is less than it is worth in reality.
I personally spend 8 hours a day sitting in this chair and it has given me no problems so far, only guaranteed comfort daily! With the growing popularity of this chair, they are nearly out of stock so get them while you still can!
Find out more about the Emc2 Advantage here!
2. Mid-Back Guest Chair with Mahogany Finish
Coming in strong at second place is the Boss Mid-back Guest Chair with Mahogany Finish.
Most purchases of this chair were in bulk, an ideal use for lobbies or reception areas with its classic retro styling. Although most were purchased in bulk, also perfect if used as a guest chair for offices.
The chair is comfortable, made of durable black caressoft vinyl and molded polyurethane armrests.
Be sure to impress your guests, and at only $119, these are perfect to buy in large quantities at an affordable price.
Find out more about the Boss Mid-back Guest Chair here!
1. Allseating Inertia
Our best selling chair of the year was the Allseating Inertia, and for good reason. The Allseating Inertia High-back is both comfortable and affordable. It also fits in with practically any office environment – not to mention any budget. At only $321 it comes as no surprise that the Inertia landed our number one selling chair of the year.
Also available in a midback version, mesh conference room chair, mid-back mesh drafting stool, mesh back side chair, mesh back bar stool, and leather conference chair.