For office workers who sit a lot, non-accidental back injuries are often caused by having an improper chair. Neck strain, lower back and leg pain are all common ailments from having a chair that is not ergonomically correct for your body.
There is a myriad of office chairs available. The trick is to find one that is right for you. Here are some features to look for when selecting an office chair:
This is one of the most important features in an office chair. Our spines have a natural “S” shape to them and to be the most comfortable and reduce the risk of back pain, which “S” needs to be supported. Lumbar support can vary from just the chair back having an “S” curve built into it to having an adjustable lumbar support that can be moved in or out to fine-tune your chair to your spinal curve.
When seated working, your forearms should be parallel to the floor. The most common means to adjusting this height is via an adjustable seat height. Most office chairs have a pneumatic cylinder build into the chair pedestal. Seat height can be adjusted by moving a lever and allowing the seat to raise or lower until it is at the correct height.
Having armrests on your chair can take the pressure off of the muscles having to support your arms. Armrests should be just slightly lower than your workstation surface. Many chairs have either a cam-type adjustment where rolling a knob raises or lowers the armrest, or a knob that when pushed in, allows you to pull up or push down the armrest; releasing the knob lock it at the selected height.
Office chairs come in a variety of materials. Real leather of course looks nice, but it is more expensive. If not leather, many of the better office chairs come with a fabric seat and back. One of the latest innovations in chair back material is a plastic mesh. Not only does this allow for the material to adjust to the contour of your back better, but it allows your back to “breathe” better if your office environment tends to make you perspire.
Dr. Michael LeRoux Ocean State Chiropractic | Ocala, Florida
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