Is any one office chair perfect for everyone?

Office Chair

Is any one office chair perfect for everyone? Experts in ergonomics will tell you “no.”  The perfect office chair for you depends on many factors, such as your height, weight, posture, areas of pain, and what your chair will be used for.  How many hours per day will you be in it? And does your work entail computer, phone, or paper work?  As you can see there are many variables.

As a doctor of chiropractic my main concern is the patient’s posture.  Recent research has shown a direct relationship between many health problems and a forward neck posture.  With more and more people spending more and more time on computers, cell phones, and other electronic devices, health problems are beginning to pop up.  Some of these health conditions include disc herniations, loss of concentration, reduced immune function, and cardiovascular, respiratory and gastrointestinal problems.

Human bodies were not designed to sit in chairs for hours at a time, yet this is what our modern age has brought us five to seven days a week for six or eight or more hours per day.  Welcome to the wonderful world of health problems and premature aging.

So, since you’re spending most of your waking hours sitting in front of a desk, it’s in your interest to find the best office chair for your body. An ergonomic chair gives you the most adjustable options for your body. But these chairs have so many options to select! If you are looking for the best office chair for yourself, what are the guidelines you should use?

What is Ergonomic?

The term “ergonomics” comes from two Greek words: ergo, meaning work and nomos, meaning natural laws. Ergonomics works with your body’s makeup so the chair fits your body’s posture.

A correct office chair for you should be adjustable in many  ways to fit your body.

• The chair should rotate 360 degrees.
• The depth of the seat should be adjustable.
• The chair height should be adjustable.
• The chair seat should tilt front and back.
• An adjustment to tighten or loosen chair seat tension should be available.
• The chair’s back should tilt front and back.
• Arm height should be adjustable up and down.
• The distance between the arms should be adjustable in and out.
• The arm pivot front and back should be adjustable.
• A lumbar air pump should be available.

Some specialists in ergonomics frown on chairs with arm rests, because they may make it hard for you to get close enough to the computer. This is another matter that depends on the user’s size, body characteristics, and preferences. Each workstation problem can be solved by working with a specialist in ergonomics.

Putting Your New Chair to Work

Once you have chosen your chair and it feels great, you must integrate it into your workstation.  Although many believe that the chair you’ve chosen is the most important device in your workstation, there are other factors to consider.

The overall workstation, including chair, desk, computer, and desktop tools, can be the most modern and up-to-date in the industry, but if you abuse it, you will have health problems. With your ergonomic chair, some of these problems are easy to solve.  For example, when you sit at your workstation your computer should be in front of you.  The top of the screen should be no further than 24 inches from view, controllable by chair positioning.  Don’t forget to use a glar- reducing screen, which helps with eye strain.  Arms and hands on your board should be relaxed and just below the level of your heart. Knees should be either level with or slightly higher than your hips.  All of these can be made correct with your new ergonomic chair.

The height of your work surface should be between 24 and 32 inches. This is a variable based upon the individual’s height. Raise or lower chair or work surface to find the most comfortable position.

Now Get Up!

You have your chair and work surface perfect, right?  Now consider one other thing.

Sitting at your workstation for hours without moving causes stasis, which for individuals may mean vascular problems, muscle tightness, headaches, fatigue, and numbing of the work brain. The solution is to get a kitchen timer or something similar and set it for 30 or 45 minutes. When the alarm goes off, simply get up, walk around your workstation, and take a few deep breaths. This will do wonders for you and your job.

A proper office chair can mean the difference between a comfortable place to work that is safe, healthy, and productive or drudgery blighted with repetitive strain injuries and postural health problems.

Go find yourself an ergonomic chair and enjoy your job and a healthy life.

By Mr. Kenneth F. Muhich, D.C.

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