There’s no doubt that sitting all day at work is bad for your health. Not only does it limit the amount of physical activity you can perform in a day, which can cause heart problems and other health issues associated with lack of exercise, but long periods of sitting can also result in other types of health problems, such as back and neck pain. By sitting all day, you also fail to actively engage your core and gluteus maximus muscles, and this can ultimately lead to chronic weakness in these important muscles groups. Although some of these issues are an unavoidable consequences of sitting, luckily, there is a smarter way to sit. Below you will find the top three tips for choosing the right office chair:
1. Buy the right size.
The best office chairs are adjustable office chairs. In choosing the right chair, be sure to select one that allows you to adjust it to the proper height for your body, usually sixteen to twenty-one inches off of the floor. At the proper height, your feet should be able to remain flat on the floor, your thighs horizontal, and your arms even with the height of your desk. You should also consider the size of the chair’s seat, both in terms of width and depth. The width should obviously be wide enough to accommodate your hips, but its depth is just as important. The depth/ length of the seat needs to be such that it allows you to sit with your back against the backrest while still leaving two to four inches between the end of the seat and the back of your knees. This ensures that your legs will be able to rest at the proper angle.
2. Find support for your lower back.
Lumbar support is one of the most important features of the right office chair. The lower back has a natural curve, and sitting in an office chair that does not provide support for this curve can place undue stress on this area, leading to pain. It can also lead to slouching, but if your office chair has an adjustable lumbar support (both in terms of height and depth), you should be able to properly fit it to your body. This should reduce lower back pain and strain while sitting at work.
3. Don’t forget the basics.
In choosing the right office chair to help you avoid back pain at work, sometimes the basics can be just as important as fancy ergonomic features. First, remember that armrests are usually a beneficial feature. The best armrests are adjustable, and they should allow your arms to rest comfortably with your shoulders relaxed. Be sure to position them such that your forearms do not rest on them while typing. A good office chair should also swivel, allowing you to reach different areas of your desk without too much effort. Finally, a good office chair should also have a comfortable back rest, one that is as adjustable as possible.
In your search for the best office chair for reducing back pain, be sure to buy the right size. Good office chairs are adjustable in terms of height, position, and support, as this allows the chair to cater to your unique body shape and pain reduction needs. By choosing the proper office chair, you can sit smarter and reduce some of the risks associated with remaining seated all day.
Request an Online Office Ergonomic Evaluation
Contact Daniel Baumstark, Washington, D.C.’s physical therapist, to obtain an ergonomic evaluation for your office, desk and work environment. Office ergonomic evaluations can be submitted online along with a couple pictures of your desk and seating.