The lower back is the connection between the upper and lower body and bears most of the body’s weight. With such a burden to bear the lower back can easily be injured and feel strained, especially without proper support and regular exercise. Lower back pain is often caused by strain, injury, or overuse. This can occur when lifting something that is too heavy, getting jolted in a car accident, playing sports, or simply by sitting for multiple hours a day in an office chair that has no lower back support. Aging may also play a part in developing lower back pain; bones and muscles lose strength with age thus leading to an increased risk of injury. The good news about lower back pain is that most cases will go away within a few weeks with some basic self-care. This can include sitting in an office chair that provides good lumbar support and is properly adjusted to meet the needs of the user.
Not all office chairs come with the necessary support to help eliminate and relieve lower back pain, so it is essential to look for the qualities that make a chair “back friendly”. There are numerous different chair designs that will provide lumbar support, some more basic than others. To start, the simplest kind of back support is a “S” shape design back rest. The importance of the “S” shape is that it mimics the actual shape of the spine, molding your spine into proper anatomical alignment. This benefit can not be achieved in “L” shaped chairs that have flat backs and work the other way around, forcing you to fit your back to the shape of the chair.
A chair with a “S” shape curve can be beneficial but can also work against you if not properly aligned with your spine. If an office chair comes with an “S” shape back rest that is not adjustable, shorter or taller users may not benefit from having the back support positioned on the correct parts of their spine. The next thing you should look for in an office chair after finding one with an “S” shape back is a ratchet back feature. This will allow you to easily move your backrest up or down with a simple knob or lever, allowing you to position the back exactly where you need the support. Not everyone is able to fit into one generic mold, which is why having a chair with adjustable features such as an adjustable back height can be advantageous.
Another good feature some desk chairs possess is an adjustable lumbar support built into the back rest. If a chair does not have a ratchet back function, an adjustable lumbar support can make up for this and can even be more favorable in some opinions. Most adjustable lumbar supports allow the user to move the support up and down according to where they need it to rest on their lumbar region. More advanced lumbar supports allow for adjustment in and out in addition to movement up and down, allowing the user to determine the amount of pressure needed.
Perhaps the most advanced lumbar support system of all is the self-adjusting lumbar support. This unique support system self positions and moves with the user no matter which position they are sitting in. For example, in almost any chair if the user is leaning forward typing they will have any support on their lower back leading to aches and pains. With self-adjusting support, the lower back support is independent therefor allowing it to move with you whether leaning forward to type or sitting back to relax. This precise support provides exacting comfort and a more comfortable sitting experience.
There are many other different back support options available for office chairs, ranging in price and effectiveness. Some of the most advanced office chairs allow for exact placement of pressure along every spot of the vertebrae allowing for a fully customizable sitting experience, great for chronic back pain sufferers. For those with mild back pain, simply having an “S” shape back rest may suffice. The most important factor in achieving lower back pain relief with the help of an office chair is straightforward, having a chair that is going to provide you with the necessary support for your lumbar region. If you will be spending most of your day sitting might as well have a desk chair that is going to provide relief rather than strain.
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A multitude of jobs consist of sitting in front of a computer typing for eight hours or more a day; then some of us proceed to go home and spend even more time behind the computer. If you fall into this category of having an office job or you spend large periods of time in front of your computer, it is important to have proper seating to ensure productivity and alertness throughout the day. An eight hour work day already seems long enough, but if you are uncomfortable the whole day because of a bad computer chair, it can draw out the day even more. With so much time being spent sitting and typing during a typical day, it is important to take your comfort into consideration when deciding to purchase a new computer chair. Choosing the right chair for you may depend on a number of different factors, but first and foremost above price and all other extraneous determinants, make sure it is going to be something you will feel comfortable sitting in all day.
When selecting your new computer chair, one of the key features you will want to look for is an adjustable height option. Most if not all good computer chairs come standard with an adjustable height option to accommodate for users of varying heights and also to be in proper alignment with computer desks. Not one standard chair height fits all users, which is why it is important to have a chair that is going to be adjustable to meet your height requirement and allow you to keep you feet firmly planted on the floor with your knees bent at a 90 degree angle. Computer desks also come in different shapes sizes and your chair should be able to properly under it. In work environments with higher workstations, an adjustable height option is absolutely necessary.
Another key feature to look for in your computer chair is to make sure the seat is going to be comfortable enough for you to sit on for multiple hours a day. If you prefer a softer sit, look for computer chairs that have a memory foam, gel seat, or triple density foam which are all comprised of durable materials that are designed to conform to your body’s natural shape. If you prefer a firmer sit, look for high density foam or a chair with a mesh seat. Both options will give you the firm sit, be durable enough to handle long days of sitting, and will give in a little over time making the seat a bit softer but not enough to give you the feeling of memory foam. Leather seats are also a viable option if you are looking for a little bit of a softer sit. Keep in mind that during the summer if you live somewhere that experiences high temperatures, a leather seat may cause you to sweat more because the material is not as breathable as say a mesh seat. Also take your personal requirements into consideration, if you are of shorter stature consider getting a seat that has a smaller depth than a typical chair to ensure you have one to two inches of breathing room from the back of your knees to the front of the seat. If you are a bigger or taller individual, look into purchasing a big and tall chair which is specifically designed to allow enough seating room and seat depth for those of taller stature.
Having a tilting option on a computer chair is ideal, as it can increase your comfort while sitting. With the ability to lean back throughout parts of the day, you will significantly decrease the chance of developing neck and back pain that may arise from sitting in the same position throughout the day. Chairs that come with a tilting option usually have either a knee tilt mechanism or a spring tilt mechanism. Opt for a knee tilt mechanism over a spring tilt if possible, because a knee tilt mechanism will allow you to tilt back while your feet are flat on the floor which will alleviate pressure on your thighs.
There are additional options that can be added onto computer chairs to make your sitting experience even more comfortable, though not as necessary as the above features. A chair that comes with a ratchet back is a great feature to have, especially if multiple people are using the same chair, as it allows for the back to be raised up and down to provide support in the right areas of the particular individual. Some chairs also come with a seat slider option which is optimal to have for either a single user or if multiple people share the chair. This allows for the user to move the chair’s seat forward or back to adjust the seat’s depth. The right computer chair for you will not be the same for someone else, ultimately it comes down to if the chair is going to be comfortable enough for you to sit in all day and if it will have enough adjustments to meet your body’s needs.