The answer is a resounding YES. A simple, modern ergonomic office chair can help you avoid chronic back pain in future. If you already suffer from back pain, it can help set you on the way to healing.
Lower back pain is one of the most serious issues that most office workers have to contend with, especially after several years of working. Sitting on a straight-backed chair will pressure your back to conform to that shape. Unless you take drastic action to change that, you could be in for some serious chronic back pain in future.
According to the American Chiropractors Association – ACA, at any given time, 31million Americans are experiencing back pain. Yes, even now, 31 million people are in pain.
If you lead a sedentary lifestyle at work and at home, you could be a statistic in that number. Back pain is not a concern for office workers only. Indeed, all people who lead a sedentary lifestyle experience lower, middle, shoulder and neck pain at some point in their career. These include drivers, office employees, couch potatoes, writers, radio broadcasters and many more.
Sitting down for many hours without a chair that conforms to the natural shape of your back will hurt you and set you on the path to serious chronic pain. Thankfully, there are ergonomic chairs for just about any kind of job, including ergonomic truck seats.
Reasons why you ought to get a modern ergonomic office chair
There are 1001 reasons why you should have an ergonomic office chair. Health is definitely the biggest of them all, but there are others. Here goes:
An ergonomic office chair saves your spine from stress injury
Every year, millions of dollars are paid out to victims of workplace injuries. If the work place is not ergonomic, various injuries are bound to happen.
Now, workplace-related injuries hamper production. When your employees have to go to go for medical attention frequently, they cannot work well. An unhealthy employee is an unmotivated employee.
The word ergonomic means efficient human interaction with the items at the workplace. It can also mean that the items you interact with at the office are designed to conform to human needs. Thus, an ergonomic chair is designed to conform to the best natural alignment of your spine when you are seated.
It can motivate you to work more and harder
Buying the right office chair will boost production. Research shows that employees who use ergonomic office chairs can post up to 20 percent more production than those using ordinary office furniture.
If you have a cheap, fixed back chair, you cannot wait to get out of the office. Considering that you will be sitting on the chair for about 8 hours daily, perhaps more, if it hurts your back, you will hate workdays.
Since you are probably going to be in the office for more than 40 hours a week, getting a comfortable chair will make your stay there comfortable. When you do not experience undue fatigue from sitting down for long hours, you are motivated to work harder and to finish your assignments faster.
It is not an ergonomic chair if it comes with fixed features!
One of the most outstanding things about an ergonomic chair is adjustability. From the back recline to the height, armrests and headrest (if it has one), the more adjustable features it has the better.
There is no standard one-size fit all kind of office chair. When you sit in the chair, you will have to adjust it to fit your torso size, your height and your arm reach.
When you are seated before your computer, your arms should fold at a 90-degree angle. That way, you do not have to stoop forward too much to reach your computer. Make sure the armrests are at a 90-degree angle. That way, your arms stay at this angle, aligned to the desk.
While you may order a chair according to your size, you will still need it to have adjustable features. Sometimes, you may need to lean back some, and at times, you may need to sit up straighter. Thus, when a chair has an adjustable recline, it becomes easier to use than one that’s fixed.
When you want to adjust height, you should first sit on the chair. That way, you can find a height that is both comfortable and allows you to reach your desk comfortably. If your feet do not land comfortably on the floor when you sit down, you will be forced to hunch your back. That can be hurtful.
When you are seated, your thighs should be horizontal to the floor. If you find adjusting the height a bit of a problem, just make it a quarter of your standing height. When you sit down to work, you should not stretch. Your heels should not be lifted so that you reach the floor. If you are short, you can buy a footrest to use with your chair.
Lumbar support offers a reprieve for back pain
Lumbar support is one of the main considerations for people looking for an ergonomic office chair. The lumbar region is the low back area and the third biggest area of the spine. Inside the lumbar region, there are five vertebrae.
When you do not adopt a good posture when sitting down or if you do not use a good office or driving chair, the L5, which is biggest vertebra in the lower back suffers a lot. It can get stress injury from many hours of sitting down. This vertebra bears almost all of your weight when you sit down.
Since you must sit down when working, the best that you can do is adopt the right seating posture. An ergonomic office chair will help you with that.
An ergonomic chair is going to allow your spine to maintain its natural curve. If the lumbar support is positioned in the right place, it is going to keep your butt, shoulders and head aligned. When an office chair has fixed lumbar support, you cannot adjust it. Thus, you should order an office chair made for your size.
Some office chairs may come with adjustable lumbar support so that tall and short people can use them. Whether your office chair comes with adjustable or fixed support, it is better than no lumbar support at all.
Lumbar support means that the chair is supporting your muscles when you sit down. As a result your muscles do not need to work extra hard to support you. Thus, at the end of the day, you do not feel as fatigued as you would without a good chair.
Chairs with lumbar support do not only support the lower back region. They also help the shoulders, the neck and the head to stay aligned. This means that all the muscles that hold your weight when you sit down are supported by the chair. Minimal fatigue means more productivity.
If an ergonomic office chair has good lumbar support, when you sit down, it should push you slightly forward and compress the abdomen muscles. This compression on the abdomen will lessen the pressure on the lower discs on your spine. It also lessens the pressure on the spine, the muscles and ligaments.
It is better to buy a good office chair to prevent, rather than to heal your back. Nevertheless, it is never late to start doing the right thing. Even if you already have back pain, with time, a chair with good lumbar support is going to help relieve your back pain. When you sit down on a chair that has good back support, you will feel the lumbar plate/cushion pressing against the small of your back and pushing it forward.
As we have already mentioned in the prior sections in this post, to prevent back pain, lumbar support is complimented by good armrests. If you are a computer user, your chair should have good elbow support. This helps to relieve the pressure on your neck. This can only happen, again, as we have mentioned, when the arms form a 90-degree angle when resting on the armrests.
When you are seated at the chair, your eyes should lock to your computer at right angle. You should not have to bend. As you type, you should feel the chair on your back, on your shoulders and if possible, the arms should be on the armrests.
Features for comfort and convenience in an office chair
Comfort is a paramount factor when choosing a modern ergonomic office chair. No matter how good back support the office chair offers, if it is not comfortable on the other parts of your body, then it will be no good.
The back of the chair – breathable and reclining
The first thing to consider is the back of the chair. If it has adjustable recline, it is better than one that has a fixed back. However, some office chairs come with fixed backs that totally conform to the natural shape of your spine. If you sit on such a chair and you feel it does not complement your back, it could mean that you have been using a bad chair before buying this. It will take some time for your back to adjust to the new chair. If the recline can be adjusted, you just have to choose your most comfortable working position. The more adjustable features a chair has the better.
Look for an office chair with a breathable, meshed back. This way, there will be enough airflow as you work and you will not feel all sweaty and hot on the back. A good breathable back coupled with a tilt tension mechanism is an unbeatable combination.
Waterfall design seat
Another factor that determines the comfort you will enjoy from your office chair is the seat. This should be sunk a little towards the back so that when you sit and your lower back meets the slightly protruding lumbar support, it presses gently against the lumbar region.
The seat needs to be firmly padded. Memory foam is a good option for the fill, but there are other types of fills. It should be firm and supportive. Today, modern office chairs are built with breathable seat fabrics so that you do not get too uncomfortable even after hours of sitting down.
The edge of a good ergonomic seat is designed in waterfall shape. This way, when you sit down, the legs should feel comfortable. The edge should slope gently because if it is too sharp, it will push against the back of your knees and it will hurt.
Remember, the seat is slightly sunk towards the back, meaning that as you sit down, your legs are slightly lifted up. Thus, a chair with a waterfall-edge design will help relieve the pressure off the back of your knees.
Headrest or no headrest? This is perfect for people who need ultimate neck support as they work. While a headrest may be considered a bonus feature in an ergonomic chair, it is preferable to buy a chair with this feature. If you have a history of neck pain, a headrest, especially an adjustable one will help relieve the pressure off your neck. The little things like these enhance your productivity at the workplace.
Easy to operate pneumatic controls
It can be a bit confusing for a newbie looking for an ergonomic office chair when it comes with so many controls. Luckily, today’s chairs come with simple pneumatic controls. These help you raise, rock or tilt your chair without spending too much energy. In fact, you can raise or lower the height of the chair without having to rise up.
The last feature that contributes not only to comfort but to overall convenience of the office chair is casters. They should be dual-wheeled, should be able swivel 360 degrees and most importantly, they should be maneuverable on all types of floors, including on the plush, thick carpets. When the casters work nicely, you can roll from one desk to another, from one room to another without getting up.
From all the features that we have discussed here, you know without an iota of doubt that a modern ergonomic office chair can help with lower back pain. It can help to prevent back pain, and if you already suffer from back pain, it can help ease it and make your working hours more comfortable. If you combine the use of an ergonomic office chair with simple exercises to ease back pain, you could be on your way to recovery.
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