Prolonged sitting periods at your work station can stress your entire body, with your back, neck and shoulders getting the worst of it. It is no wonder that back injuries acquired at work are very common, mainly due to sitting for long periods in a bad posture. The office chair you choose can be the difference between suffering horrible back injuries in the long term or enjoying comfort while sitting through your work day.
A good office chair will encourage good sitting posture, support your back and allow you to tailor its adjustments to suit your body posture and demands of various tasks. This way you will be able to reduce stress on your back and prevent the worsening of chronic back pain.
Important elements of an office chair
No one office chair is a perfect fit for all back issues. However, there are some basic elements that any good chair should have to help encourage a good sitting posture and reduce stress on the back and buttocks. If you spend extended periods seated at your workstation, here are some guidelines to help you choose a chair that will prevent back injuries related to poor sitting posture.
- The chair should provide ample back support in a variety of different sitting positions. Therefore, the chair should recline and move forward, allowing you to adjust your sitting position over time as you tire.
- The backrest should be lockable, allowing you to recline the chair to different positions without the backrest moving involuntarily. In addition, it is important for the backrest have a cushion that allows your back to arch slightly. This helps to prevent you from slumping or slouching forward in the chair as you tire, and it also supports your lower back, reducing stress on the spine that results in discomfort and pain.
- A good chair will also have a lumber support that is height-adjustable, as this would allow you to change your sitting height whenever you feel tired of one position. This would also allow the chair to accommodate both taller and shorter people.
- Your chair should have a well-padded cushion with a waterfall edge to ensure that you are well supported and are not pressing against the springs below. The cushion padding should also be wide enough to comfortably accommodate your buttocks without your hips extending over the sides.
- If your chair has armrests, ensure they are adjustable and well-padded so as to avoid forcing you into an awkward sitting position or hurting your arms. The legs of your chair should also have casters to make moving easier and to avoid awkward reaches and bending.