Tips to Find the Best Office Chair for You and Your Spine
Your office chair should be as comfortable and supportive as your mattress. Think about it, you may be sitting at your desk for as long (if not longer) as you do sleeping in your bed. Investing in a good quality ergonomic chair can save you from aches and pains. It can also increase your productivity, maximize your focus and reduce stress levels.
But what exactly does ergonomic mean? Ergonomics is the science of matching the product to the user. Just because a chair is labeled ergonomic, until it is set up for you, the user, it may not be doing its job. Like a sofa, an office chair may be part of the décor in a workplace. However, the design of the chair should be considered above how well it fits in with the paintings on the wall. A good chair can keep pain and stiffness to a minimum, but no chair can cure chronic or recurrent musculoskeletal (MSK) issues. Our chiropractors and massage therapists are your MSK experts. Before buying a new chair, visit the Byward Chiropractic Clinic + Massage Therapy Centre for a full assessment of your posture, and any pain or dysfunction. Our healthcare team can also offer further advice on setting up your workstation to suit your needs.
There are many points to consider when choosing the right office chair. Below you will find a helpful guide to find the best office chair for you and your spine.
Your office chair should be easily adjustable to suit your size. It’s ideal to have an adjustable desk as well, but when that is not an option, you can look for the following features in a chair.
- A seat that adjusts for both height and tilt. When you are sitting on the chair, your knees should be level or slightly below level and your feet should be flat on the floor. Check that the clearance between the front edge of the seat and your bent knees fits a clenched fist. You will also want to make sure your legs can fit under your desk allowing you to get close and avoid reaching forward.
- Once your seat height is adjusted, check your eye level. Sit comfortably with your head facing forward. Your gaze should be aimed at the center of your computer screen. If your computer screen is higher or lower than your gaze, you need to adjust the monitor. Keeping your neck in a neutral position will reduce strain on your upper spine and prevent headaches.
- A backrest that adjusts forward and backward as well as up and down is crucial. The backrest should fit the hollow in your lower back. Some chairs will have an additional lumbar support that can further be adjusted to maintain your spinal curves (see below).
- Armrests that can be adjusted to support your arms. A slight lift your arms at the shoulders is ideal while maintaining a 90-degree angle at the elbow. Use of an armrest on your office chair is important to take some of the strain off your upper spine and shoulders. Armrests should prevent you from slouching forward.
A good office chair will provide additional low back support while evenly distributing your lower body weight on the seat. Lumbar support should be adjustable to fit your spine. When testing out chairs, look for the following:
- A seat that allows your low back to be pressed against the chair.
- A lumbar support that causes your lower back to arch slightly, maintaining your neutral curve. This will prevent your low back muscles from fatiguing over time causing you to slump forward or slouch down in the chair. When your lumbar lordosis is lost with a slump or slouch, additional stress is placed on the joints and discs in your spine.
If your chair doesn’t have proper lumbar support, ask your chiropractor about our Back Vitalizers.They can be a helpful addition to any chair.
COMFORT AND DURABILITY
Once your chair is adjusted to your requirements the chair should feel comfortable to sit in. There are some important features to consider to ensure maximum comfort and durability of your ergonomic office chair.
- Mesh backrest: Instead of the traditional upholstered backrest, a frame supporting a stretched mesh fabric allows for both back support and airflow. Temperature control is important to consider when you are spending most of your day at your desk.
- Memory foam: A memory foam seat moulds to fit the user exactly. It will reduce pressure and aid circulation to the muscles that you are sitting on all day long.
- Five-point tip base: Good ergonomic office chairs have a five-point tip base. At times you will want to recline to take a break or re-adjust your posture. Chairs with a five-point tip base will prevent the chair from accidentally tipping over when reclining.
- Durability: The material of your office chair should be durable and easy to clean. You can choose from leather or faux-leather to vinyl or fabric.
No matter how ergonomic your office chair is, prolonged static posture is not good for your spine. It is a common contributor to back pain, neck pain, and headaches. Take frequent breaks to get up and move at work. A walk at lunch hour will help you even more, promoting healthy blood flow to all the spinal structures. Keep your spine, nervous and muscular system healthy with regular chiropractic care and massage therapy!
Before finalizing your decision on an office chair make sure you try before you buy!