Whether you work in an office or from home, you’ll likely spend a great deal of time sitting in an office chair. A good, ergonomic office chair that prevents muscle strain and lower back pain is essential for your physical and mental health while working.

There’s a lot to consider when choosing a suitable ergonomic office chair, from size and material to cost and functionality. To help ease the burden, we’ve collated some information on the key things to consider before picking out the right office chair for you.

By the end of this post, you’ll have a pretty good idea of what to consider when it’s time to go chair shopping.

What are the 6 main features of an ergonomic office chair?

Here are the six things to consider when choosing an ergonomic office chair:

  • Seat Height, Width, and Depth
  • Swivel
  • Back Rest
  • Lumbar Support
  • Armrests
  • Seat Material

Why are seat height, width, and depth important when choosing an ergonomic office chair?

The height, width, and depth of your office chair are some of the most fundamental features. Since no individual is the same, basic chair dimensions must be adjustable to fit the person using it. A height-adjustable chair, for example, allows you to prepare for standing from a suitable height that won’t require you to bend your back. This means minimal discomfort when standing up or sitting down.

Similarly, if the seat itself is too wide, an individual may need to shuffle around to get comfortable, resulting in pelvic rotation and inadequate posture. In some cases, damage caused by incorrect seat width can permanently affect your posture if you’re constantly having to readjust your positioning.

An office chair that comfortably supports you by allowing you to adjust the chairs height, width, and depth is perfect for combatting early symptoms of lower back pain and reducing the need to use your pelvis to regain comfort.

Why is swivel important when choosing an ergonomic office chair?

An often overlooked feature, the ability to swivel an office chair is helpful for a number of reasons. The swivel feature allows you to rotate the chair in varying ways to reach areas of their workstation without needing to strain or get up from the seat.

Any modern-day office chair should have the ability to swivel as this means the pelvic muscles can relax, using the chair itself to change what position you’re facing instead.

And let’s face it, who doesn’t like to spin around every now and then — maybe we don’t tell the kids that.

Why is a backrest important when choosing an ergonomic office chair?

Typically, the back of an ergonomic office chair should be height-adjustable and angled to your desired comfort. Being able to manually adjust the backrest means you can position and angle it to align with their spine, thus providing efficient support.

Ideally, the backrest should be separate from the seat so that you can freely adjust both the seat and backrest accordingly. If the backrest and seat are connected, the backrest portion of the office chair should be adjustable with a tiered locking system to prevent the chair from falling back with the pressure from your back.

Why is lumbar support important when choosing an ergonomic office chair?

‘Lumbar support’ refers to the support your lower back (lumbar) receives and when it comes to choosing an ergonomic office chair, it should be designed to accommodate the spine’s natural ‘S’ shape. Lumbar support is achieved using a curved cushion within the backrest of the office chair to support your back.

Office chairs without proper lumbar support lead to slouching which can cause the natural curve in your spine to flatten, leading to worsening pain in the lower back region. In the case of an office chair without any lumbar support, a lumbar roll or cushion can be attached to increase the support offered, without the need to replace the entire office chair.

Appropriate lumbar support can aid your lower back while working and provide an experience where you can sit and move around with the correct hip and spine alignment.

Why are armrests important when choosing an ergonomic office chair?

Office chairs with armrests allow you to push yourself up with your hands when standing up, reducing the need to strain your upper back or neck.

Armrests that have an adjustable height are the most ideal when choosing an ergonomic office chair as adequate arm support can reduce the tension felt around your neck when working at a desk for long periods. They also help to ensure your shoulders can be in a relaxed position while taking breaks at a desk.

Why is seat material important when choosing an ergonomic office chair?

Given that the seat itself is arguably the main part of an office chair, we can assume it’s important.

But how important?

Materials such as faux leather in office chairs can actually cause you to sweat more due to the unbreathable nature of the material. The best alternative is to choose an ergonomic office chair with a mesh material that adapts to your body and allows consistent airflow when standing and sitting from the desk.

However, mesh material office chairs aren’t always ideal for body-weight distribution, making them somewhat uncomfortable through regular use over time.

A dynamic piece of office furniture that allows full control over the various parts would be the best outcome when purchasing an ergonomic office chair, and it’s a great way to prevent back pain in the classroom. It’s a worthwhile investment in something you’ll use every single day. Back pain can be serious if not properly attended to, the longer you leave it, the more likely you are to do irreversible damage to your back.

Resources:

For medical information regarding back pain, please visit: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/back-pain/

How to Choose an Office Chair from JollyBack: https://jollyback.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/How-to-choose-an-office-chair.pdf

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