We spend a lot of time sitting at our desks. Many people would think that entire time spent sitting would be absolute heaven. While this could be the case for some, many would have something else to say on the matter. When you have back problems, even the simplest chair could wreak havoc on your spine. Ergonomic chairs could be a solution to this problem as they are made specifically to provide additional support for your lumbar (lower spine) region and other areas of your body.
When we talk of ergonomic chairs, one would think that one of the most important areas to think about is the lumbar region. While this is definitely true, other areas of your body also need support during all those hours spent sitting. A major component of the chair that affects many areas of the body is the seat.
In an ergonomic chair, the seat should be adjustable. Any adjusting done should be performed by way of a pneumatic lever. The ideal ergonomic chair seat should be between 15-20 inches from the floor. This is to allow your feet to remain flat on the floor. Your lower arms should also be even at the height of your desk.
When choosing an ergonomic chair, you should also consider both its width and depth. A measurement that should correspond to a comfortable sitting environment is between 17-20 inches. A good depth measurement for an ergonomic chair (from the front to the back of the seat) needs to be at a point where you can comfortably affix your back to the rear of the chair while leaving between 2-4 inches between your knees and the back of the chair. There should be a tilt mechanism that allows you to adjust your chair in both a forward and backward motion. Good ergonomic chairs may have a “waterfall” seat, which slopes downward at the edge to take pressure off the back of your legs at the knee.
Some ergonomic chairs can swivel very easily. This is to allow you to reach different parts of your desk without having to move much. Test out a few ergonomic chair models for maneuverability; and while you do it, take your own sweet time.
A part of the chair that many people don’t think about is the armrests. Some may think that the armrests are an extraneous part of any chair. This could be a mistake as improper use of chair armrests could result in shoulder pain and neck strain.
In an ergonomic chair, the armrests should always be adjustable. When in the chair, rest your lower forearms on the armrests lightly, which should cause your shoulders to relax. You shouldn’t use the armrests in an ergonomic chair while typing or using the computer as this could cause unnecessary strain from leaning.
One of the most important aspects of any ergonomic chair is how well it supports the lumbar region of your back. This is because the lumbar portion of your spine is curved inwardly. Sitting in a chair that doesn’t compensate for this area could lead to slouching and strain in your lower back area. Your ergonomic chair should have a lumbar adjustment (height and depth) with which you can experiment to find the perfect combination for your spine.
The backrest is another part of the ergonomic chair that you should consider. The backrest of the average ergonomic chair should be between 12-20 inches wide. If the backrest is separated from the rest of the chair, make sure that the height and angle are adjustable. If the backrest is attached to the rest of the chair, then it should be adjustable in terms of height and different angles. There should also be a way to lock the chair in your favored angle and position once you have identified your ideal sitting environment.
We spend a lot of time sitting on chairs. An improper chair can not only make your sitting experience uncomfortable but also lead to a back problem. By taking the time to find the ideal ergonomic chair, you can escape plenty of unnecessary pain.