Your back and your office chair

Haworth ChairsMany office workers spend hours a day in their desk chairs. If this includes you, then you need to choose your desk chair for comfort as well as for style. A properly-designed chair can help you avoid back and other health issues, even when you’re forced to sit in a chair all day. Below are some things to consider:

1. Look for lower back support. The most comfortable–and healthy–chairs offer lower back (or lumbar) support. Without such support, the human body is prone to slouching, causing an unnatural spine angle that can lead to back pain over time. As no two bodies are alike, this part of your chair should be adjustable. Adequate lower back support is the most important element to consider when choosing a desk chair you can live comfortably with.

2. Adjustable height.  Just as the back support on your chair should be adjustable, so should the height of the chair. This insures that you chair matches both your height and the height of your desk, so that you don’t have to bend over to reach the keyboard. Most office chairs adjust between 16 and 21 inches. This allows most users to have their feet flat on the floor while still having their hands even with the surface of the desk.

3. Neck support. If you spend a lot of time at your desk, consider choosing a chair that supports not just your lower back, but your neck and upper back as well.

4. Padding. Having adequate seat padding will be more comfortable when you have to sit for long periods of time and help you avoid uncomfortable health issues like hemorrhoids.

5. Arm rests. Whether you choose arm rests for your office or desk chair or not depends on how you work. If you spend the majority of your day typing, then arm rests are unnecessary and may actually get in your way. However, if you talk on the telephone and/or meet with colleagues and clients throughout the day, arm rests on your chair can help support your back and help you avoid developing lower back pain. Like the height and the back support, you’ll want arm rests that are adjustable.

The next time you go shopping for a desk chair, don’t just pick the first model that catches your eye. Instead, take a few moments to learn about the chair and make sure that it fits your stature and the height of your desk. Your back will thank you.