Spending hours and hours each week sat at a desk whilst working on a computer can cause serious damage to your back. Back pain is the number one cause of sick leave in the UK each year with millions of working days lost to the problem. Most cases of this are completely avoidable and are as a result of cheap office chairs and poor sitting posture.
Ergonomic office chairs are intended to change all this. Ergonomics refers to the application of scientific research and information during the design process of a given object. This makes them more comfortable and more efficient when in use. In terms of ergonomic office chairs, ergonomics means that the chair should provide support whilst the user is sat down and should encourage a good sitting posture. The user should be comfortable but should not be sat in a position which could cause back pain in the long term. Ergonomic office chairs are doing a lot to reduce the number of staff complaining of back pain, and in a few years, many believe that it will be a legal requirement to have a chair which actively helps support workers’ backs. This article will look at what features ergonomic office chairs have which help to promote back care, and explain exactly what you should consider when buying one.
Ergonomic office chairs need to do three main things which will make the siting experience better in an office environment. Firstly, they should maintain the natural ‘S’ shape of the spine, whilst ensuring that the load placed upon the spine is minimised. Secondly, the circulation to the user’s thighs must not be restricted from the sides, giving the user some space to move. Finally, the posture of the chair user should be such so that it requires as little muscular effort as possible to maintain. It is important for ergonomic office chairs to adhere to these factors as failure to do so can result in the user suffering from short or even long term back pain. At the end of the day, however, it is down to the user to sit in a position which is sensible, so a certain amount of nagging and education is required.
When you choose an office chair, have a look for these following features. All of these should be adjustable in order to provide you with the ideal seating conditions.
1. Backrest Support
It is crucial that the seat has a backrest which supports the lower back as well as the middle of it, whilst simultaneously allowing your arms to move as freely as required. This will help to provide pressure where required to maintain the natural ‘S’ shape of the spine.
2. Seat Height
The height of the surface the user sits on should be fully adjustable so that the user’s feet are resting on the ground without placing pressure on the backs of the thighs. This is the ideal sitting situation and is one of the most commonly neglected things by office workers.
3. Seat Depth
Ergonomic chairs should allow the user to sit at the very back of the seat without putting pressure on the backs of the knees. The depth should be adjustable to ensure the user’s back is supported and blood is not restricted to the legs.