If you have a desk job you’d be required to sit for long hours on your office chair. This sitting position, especially if accompanied with a bad posture, imposes a great stress on your spinal column. The earliest sign of the damage due to this stress is low back pain, however, the actual problem may proceed on to cause more severe problems involving a disk prolapse.
To prevent the damage from prolonged sitting, there are several postural changes and precautions one can make in their routine. However, it may not be sufficient alone. Another step you can take is to change your chair to a better ergonomic chair which will support your lower back better and correct your sitting posture.
What to Look for When Choosing Your Ergonomic Office Chair?
When you go to a market to buy yourself an ergonomic chair, you’d be surprised to find so many different designs, available in different materials. Then, what will guide you to choose the right chair?
In truth, there is no a clear criterion that makes one chair better than the other. However, depending on one’s body type, shape and personal habits a particular chair might suit better than other designs. It’s important to check each and every chair by sitting on them and see which of them is made for you. So, it definitely rules out the option of purchasing your chair online or asking someone else to do it for you. It’s impertinent that you choose your chair yourself by testing all the ergonomic chair options as per your needs.
What Features to Look for Before Finalizing Your Ergonomic Chair?
Choosing the perfect chair is definitely not an easy job. It’s common to make a mistake, which you may end up regretting later, especially when you’re on a budget and cannot afford to replace the wrong chair you’ve already bought. So, to avoid that mistake, here are a few things that you must take a note of.
It’s a good thing most chairs are already equipped with a pneumatic (hydraulic) height adjustment lever system to adjust the height of the chair. Typically, this height varies from 16 inches to 21 inches above the ground which is sufficient for most people with all kinds of needs. When you’re sitting, you should keep the height of your chair such that your feet are flat on the surface, thighs parallel to floor and arms leveled with the desk’s height.
A chair’s seat is the point of contact where all your body weight is rested. It should have dimensions such that your frame is adequately and comfortably supported both in width and depth. Standard width varies between 17-20 wide, so choose accordingly to your own comfort. The depth, i.e. from the front to the back, should be sufficient such that you can sit with your lower back rested against the backrest, while there is a space of 2-4 inches between the back of your knees and the frontal edge of the seat. Take note that back of thighs should never touch the seat, and seat should not press against your flesh. Also, check that the forward or the backward slant of the seat is adjustable.
Lower Back Support
Lumbar support bracing your lower back is another important factor to look for while choosing the chair. Lumbar spine has an innate inward curvature. If you sit for long without ample support for this curvature, you’re bound to slouch. This slouching ruins the natural curve and greatly strains the lower spine and structures within it. Make sure that your chair comes with an adjustable lumbar support in both height and depth so that it could fit well with your stature.
Make sure the backrest of your chair is comfortable and fits you well (usually 12-19 inches). If backrest is detached from the seat, it must be adjustable in angle and height. It should support the natural curvature of your spine, especially the lumbar spine.
If backrest is attached to the seat, it should be modifiable in both forward and backward angles, along with a locking mechanism to lock it in the position and going too far behind once you have determined the most comfortable position for yourself.
It’s important that arm rests are adjustable. Your arms should rest comfortably on them while your shoulders are relaxed. Also, when typing elbows and lower arms should rest on the armrests while forearms should be free.
Some experts believe that for prolonged hours of a desk job, you might as well go for a chair without arm rests, or manually remove them. Though, it’s not really a nice thing to do, as it can lead to the hanging of your arms and causing ulnar deviation.
Most important thing is that the seat must have ample padding to make your sitting comfortable, even for prolonged hours of sitting. It’s always preferable to have a fabric based seat over a harder surface to allow breathing. Sweating and friction at the point of contact can lead to fungal infections, rashes, and sores.
Your ergonomic chair should be able to rotate easily such that you can reach out to different areas of your desk easily without strain.