Purchasing the first office chair with head support is an exciting time. With plenty of great designs, materials, and colors, office workers can now choose from an array of products like never before. However, the large number of choices is what ultimately makes the decision complicated for some workers. The good news is that the best office chair with head support can improve posture and productivity. But to make an informed decision, workers need to know all the basic elements which are part of the chair.
Office chairs with head support must-haves
Not all office chairs are created equal. Some offer back support, others offer no backrest at all. Some of the most complex chairs offer head support with adjustability. The ErgoChair 2 is such an example. But when choosing the right chair, there are a few considerations to make.
Height adjustability is not new in office chairs. However, it remains one of the foundation characteristics for the right posture and proper eye health. The height of a chair dictates the position of the body in relation to the screen or monitor. Since the eyes need to be looking straight at the monitor, height adjustments can be the first customization made to an office chair. Having a chair which is not adjustable can lead to posture problems.
A good chair also allows for the thighs to point down. It represents one of the main areas which control the comfort of the spine, specifically of the lower back. This position should be constant, regardless of the height adjustment.
So how does height adjustability work? Pneumatic adjustment is used for most modern chairs. It comes as a design which is easy to use and which is also reliable. The good news is that pneumatic adjustments work just as easy with low weight and with heavier people.
Today’s market has plenty of ergonomic chairs. But ergonomic designs are understood differently from manufacturer to manufacturer. It is why the fully-adjustable ergonomic chair might not be as seen in modern offices as many workers would expect.
An ergonomic chair is typically made to offer support for the human body. Starting with the seat pan, the chair should be at least a few inches wider than your body on each side. Another little-known fact about ergonomic chairs comes with the positioning of the knees. An ergonomic seat pan allows workers to sit with their backs touching the backrest while still having a small gap behind the knees. If the seat pan is too close to the knees, this typically leads to circulation problems. As time passes, circulation problems can become more visible.
The textile materials used in the seat are crucial as well. They can be part of a cushioned design, which makes sitting for long hours in a day much more bearable. At the same time, modern chairs have started to incorporate various mesh materials to allow proper ventilation, especially for the backrest.
Seat cushioning should also cover the entire surface of the seat pan. It needs to follow the shape of the body and it should also find the right balance between support and comfort, as to not obstruct circulation in the legs.
Backrest height and adjustability
The back height of the chair is responsible with how high up the back the chair can support. Most chairs with head support typically come with high backrests. This is often seen as an extra high back support which is in contrast with the low and mid back support alternatives, which do not come with headrests.
Just a few years ago, backrests were recommended according to certain back issues. So for example, if a worker had low back problems, a chair with a low backrest was recommended. But the chairs with head support often offer adjustability for the backrest as well and they can prove to be the foundation for proper posture, regardless of the possible back issues.
In perfect conditions, a backrest would be the same height as your back. But this is rarely the case as every person is different. It is why seats with headrest tend to have oversized backrests. This allows them to offer a more stable platform which suits people of different heights.
An important aspect of the backrest comes with horizontal adjustability. Simply put, some chairs will allow forward and backward backrest adjustability. It proves to be a beneficial design characteristic which can allow workers to find their right knee positions. In many offices, chairs can also be moved from one desk to another. Since many people tend to use them, this makes the backrest adjustability a recommended feature to cater to people of different heights. In many cases, the backrest which is adjustable comes with a maximum angle of 135 degrees.
Adjustable lumbar support
- Lumbar support can be crucial for workers. It can be the main difference between a basic chair and an ergonomic chair. Many such designs can see good or bad postures, but they can often be adjusted through the lumbar support. Four postures are addressed by ergonomic seats:
- Slumped posture
- Flat posture
- Long Lordosis
- Lordotic posture
The slumped posture is very bad for the back. As its name suggests, it has people hunching over the desk, with the upper back leaned forward. This position can be easily adjusted by placing the back against the backrest and bringing the lumbar support forward.
The flat posture has the upper back and the lower back sitting in a perfect vertical line. This type of posture is often popular with modern workers. It is not the worst posture to maintain at work but it can create health issues with lumbar disc pressure in time. This type of position goes back in time, as most wooden seats through history were made in a way which advocated this flat posture.
The Long Lordosis posture is characterized by a curve in the lower back which carries on into the thoracic spine. Of course, it means that it reduces the pressure on the discs. But at the same time, the posture is hard to maintain.
The Lordotic posture has the lower back curving one way and the upper back curving the other way. This reduces the pressure on the pelvis and it is why this posture is recommended by many specialists. For most workers seeking head support, this posture can be achieved with lumbar adjustability. Since people have different heights, the adjustability of the lumbar area is a crucial element to consider. Lumbar parts of the chair are often D-shaped. They can come as built-in elements from foam or mesh materials. But many manufacturers sell separate lumbar supports for the Lordotic position.
Thoracic support is the next area which needs to be considered. Given that the sitting position is correct, workers can simply ensure their minimum support is ensured for the rib cage. Since it sits directly above the center of gravity, it doesn’t need too much support. However, since people sit for the duration of an entire day, the muscles supporting the rib cage position can get tired and it is why proper support is needed in this area.
A few chairs also come with head support. This can often be height adjustable in these cases. However, height and depth adjustability for the head support is recommended. In fact, the muscles of the neck can do the job and support the head. However, head support can play a crucial role in keeping the head in its correct position and not pointed forward. For the correct position of the head, the earlobe should be positioned between the collarbone and the muscles of the neck. This can be adjusted from the headrest both in terms of height and in terms of depth. Simply leaning the head against the head support can be a fast way to ensure it does not have a forward translation.
Arms rests can also be seen in office chairs. They are especially valued when they come with height adjustability. But one way to ensure the armrests are actually positioned correctly is to ensure the arms are not too far from the body. Maintaining this position will put extra pressure on the shoulders and the neck.
The correct position has both shoulders at the same level, with the arms close enough to the body as not to maintain permanent shoulder abduction. The height of the armrests is important as well. Shrugged shoulders from a high position can quickly fatigue muscles.
Swivel and casters are among the characteristics which are secondary when choosing the right chair. But the swivel function is actually quite important. Having the possibility to quickly reach objects around the chair is crucial. The swivel function needs to be smooth and it should not require any effort to perform. The rotating movements also need to be coupled with a durable system as there can be hundreds of swivels performed each day.
Casters can increase the height of the chair with an average of 5cm. They are mainly made to tackle all types of surfaces. This includes carpets. But office workers can also set their own casters, especially if working on hard surfaces which tend to be slippery.
Top tips for an office chair with head support
Having an office chair with head support means workers can sit properly at work. But there are a couple of tips which can make the seat the right choice for new users as well.
Test working position
One of the frequent mistakes workers make when choosing an office chair is simply trying it out in a laid-back or tilted position. In reality, the chair should be tested in a working position where it is important to find the right support for hours at a time,
Make the most of the headrest
A headrest is not so common around many offices. Such chairs are often undervalued and many workers can also be tempted to remove the headrest completely. However, it can serve as a great accessory for a proper position. While it might not be used for effective rest, it can be one of the most important elements to keep the head above the shoulders and not closer to the monitor, as this position can hurt the neck in time.
Replace the old office chair
Another often-asked question is centered around the best time to replace the office chair. Since each chair is different, there is no direct answer. But if the cushioning and support are not the same as they used to be, it can be an indication that the time has come to replace the chair. In some cases, constantly having to readjust the working position is an indication of changing comfort. Since every chair should come with a warranty period, it is unusual to see it lose its support during this period. However, if the office chair has been used for 6-8 years, it might be the time to look for a replacement.
Choosing an office chair with head support requires addressing a few main characteristics. Apart from the headrest itself, it is recommended to see if the chosen chair can actually support the lower and the upper back as needed. The adjustability of the backrest is crucial for this purpose. Good cushioning and adjustable armrests are crucial as well. For many workers, it is only the right combination of these adjustable and supportive elements which can offer the best chair. Having the best headrest while sacrificing all other features is not recommended.
In the end, the time spent at work can account for at least 8 hours each day. This time can have an important impact on the position of the back and ensuring the right support starts with a chair which can adjust essential areas starting from the lumbar support and up to the headrest.
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