Working in an office typically involves spending a great deal of time sitting in an office chair —a position that adds stress to the structures in the spine. Therefore, to avoid developing or compounding back problems, it’s important to have an office chair that’s ergonomic and that supports the lower back and promotes good posture.
How to choose the best ergonomic office chair.
There are many different types of ergonomic chairs available for use in the office. No one type of office chair is necessarily the best, but there are few things that are very important to look for in a good ergonomic office chair. These things will ultimately allow it’s user to make the chair work well for his or her specific needs.
This article will examine the traditional office chair, as well as the alternatives that can be used as an office chair that may be preferable for some people with back problems.
What Features Should an Office Chair Possess?
In first considering the “conventional” style of office chair, there are a number of things an ergonomic chair should have, including:
- Seat height. Office chair seat height should be easily adjustable. A pneumatic adjustment lever is the easiest way to do this and most have a pneumatic adjustment built in. A seat height that ranges from about 16 to 21 inches off the floor should work for most people unless you’re Shaquille O’neal then we might have a problem. This allows the user to have his or her feet flat touching the floor, with thighs horizontal and arms even with the height of the desk to easily type and reach for material of hos or her desk.
- Seat width and depth. The seat should have enough width and depth to support any user comfortably. Usually 17-20 inches wide is the standard measurements. The depth (from front to back of the seat) needs to be just enough so that the user can sit with his or her back against the backrest of the office chair while leaving approximately 2 to 4 inches between the back of the knees and the seat of the chair. The forward or backward tilt of the seat should be adjustable which most of them are equipped with these lever and tilt adjustments.
- Lumbar support. Lower back support in an ergonomic chair is very important and key to good posture. The lumbar spine has an inward curve, and sitting for long periods without support for this curve tends to lead to slouching (which flattens the natural curve) and strains the structures in the lower spine leading to bat posture, lower back pain, pinched nerve or even weight gain. An ergonomic chair should have a lumbar adjustment (both height and depth) so each user can get the proper fit to support the inward curve of the lower back.
- Backrest. The backrest of an ergonomic office chair should be around 12 to 19 inches wide. If the backrest is separate from the seat, it should be adjustable in height and angle as well. It should be able to support the natural curve of the spine, If the office chair has the seat and backrest together as one piece, the backrest should be adjustable in forward and back angles, with a locking mechanism to secure it in place.
- Seat material. The material on the office chair seat and back should have enough padding to be comfortable to sit on for extended periods of time. Having a cloth fabric that breathes is preferable to a harder surface. This allows for more comfort to the user.
- Armrests. Office chair armrests should always be adjustable. They should allow the user’s arms to rest comfortably and shoulders to be relaxed at all times. The elbows and lower arms should rest lightly, and the forearm should not be on the armrest while typing so there is less strain on the muscles.
- Swivel. Any conventional style or ergonomic chair should easily rotate so the user can reach different areas of his or her desk without straining.
Hopefully this helps determine what type of ergonomic chair will fit you best. For more information on ergonomic chairs and to find the right chair to fit you and your lifestyle browse here.