There are many considerations for proper office ergonomics. Sitting for long periods of time can worsen or cause lower back problems. This “static posture…increases stress on the back, shoulders, arms, and legs”, leading to a lot of pressure on the spine’s discs and the back’s muscles. When people sit for long periods of time, there is a tendency to slouch, and the posture strains the discs and stretches the ligaments of the spine too much. As time goes on, damage to the spinal structure and worsening back pain may occur. The most ergonomic office chair for back support is one that also allows for good posture. Additionally, how the chair is adjusted matters. First, the worker should have the proper height of the workstation in general, and then the chair should be adjusted based on the “physical proportions” of the user. The upper arms should be parallel to the spine, and the hands resting on the work surface should lead to a 90-degree bend in the elbows. A person should be able to slide their fingers under their thigh “at the leading edge of the office chair”, otherwise a footrest may need to be used. If the worker is very tall, they might need to raise their desk and office chair heights. Another measurement is trying “to pass your clenched fist between the back of your calf and the front of your office chair”. If that cannot be done, the “chair is too deep”. That could be resolved by having the backrest adjusted forward or adding in a back pillow for chair support. Alternatives to the pillow are a lumbar cushion or a rolled-up towel. Low back support is also key, as is posture. The eye’s gaze should “be aimed at the center of (the) computer screen”. If it is too high or low, it will strain the upper spine. The chair’s armrest should only slightly lift the arms at the shoulder. An armrest can be useful in helping the worker slouch less. Periodically, the office worker should stand, stretch, and take a short walk for flexibility and circulation.1
What is the Best Chair for Back Support?
Traditional office chairs can offer back support, adjustable height, and armrests, but some people prefer “active, ergonomic chairs, such as a Swedish kneeling chair or a Swiss exercise ball”. The caveat with these alternatives is that they require active muscle use, so they may not be appropriate for all workers.2 When choosing a conventional chair for back support, it is important to consider the height, width, depth, lumbar support, backrest, and seat material. The seat material should be comfortable and breathable.3 Some people may try a back pillow for chair support, but back support for a chair could also come built into the furniture. To get back support for office chairs, there are many places to shop, including online stores. The best office chair for back pain is an individual decision, however, some of best office chairs for bad backs could be Herman Miller chairs, Steelcase Leap, Raynor Ergohuman, IKEA Markus, and Ergohuman Lem4Erg.4 Other websites offer reviews of various chairs as well.5, 6
Lifestyle Changes vs. Chair
A sedentary lifestyle is unhealthy and shortens the lifespan while increasing the musculoskeletal problems. Even the best chair for back support cannot substitute for a healthier lifestyle with exercise. The body’s health depends on the “use it or lose it” theory. Exercise, if not done enough, may not be able to compensate for how harmful sitting is. If done too much, exercise can lead to injury and pain. People need to find the right balance between sitting and exercise. This is why some people might benefit form a more mobile chair, “such as a Disc-O-Sit or Sissel Sit, or a fitness ball”. Others may find it useful to have a “fancy chair”. The best office chair for lower back pain may be some Herman Miller chairs, which are mentioned on many review sites.7 Sitting all day slows the metabolism, compromises heart health, leads to a “larger bottom half of your body”, and creates complications from the poor posture.8 The best chairs promote movement, lumbar support, a comfortable cushion, and an anti-slouching feature.9 Good arm support and seat padding, with adjustable height, are also important features.10 Two studies have found that “productivity goes up more than 17% when individuals work in an ergonomic setting with an adjustable chair” and a good chair can “reduce workplace injuries” such as strain, lower back pain, spinal disc injury, or carpal tunnel syndrome. Chairs can vary in price from under $100 to the $1000 range, but spending money or a “high-quality ergonomic chair is an investment in your health, comfort and productivity”.11 Not all chairs are equal, so it is important to read reviews and try chairs before making an investment.12
4, 8 http://pinchednerveinneckhq.com/best-ergonomic-office-chair-for-back-pain/
Find more more about ergonomics and chiropractic care.