When you have little choice but to sit in an office chair at a desk all day, you need to have good lumbar, or lower back support built in for comfort. This allows you to spend longer sitting in the chair without experiencing discomfort which can lead to back pain and related problems down the line.
That means owing a decent quality chair that supports your back in the right places is an absolute must, if your job means you spend several hours each day at your desk. This article takes a look at the way in which office chairs are designed to provide that necessary lumbar support and what you should look for when choosing one for yourself.
Why Your Back Must be Supported Correctly
First of all, let's look at why you should have the right kind of support for your back in all the right places. Here are some relevant points you might want to consider as important where good support is provided:
- Reduce fatigue on the spine and lower back muscles
- Improve posture and respiration
- Maintain good curvature of the spine
- Provide a comfortable long term seating position
The most important aspect of this is that your back is correctly supported while you work at your desk. That's because a lack of the right kind of support can lead to bad posture which is known to lead to fatigue and back pain. If this problem is not addressed, the back can suffer in increasing amounts over time.
There are other factors that also come into play in helping improve comfort and reducing fatigue that we will also cover here.
While the whole back needs to be correctly supported by the chair, there is little point in having good lumbar support if the chair is too high. This encourages a person to sit forward in the chair so their feet can touch the ground, causing the back to be unsupported which soon leads to pain.
This can easily be remedies by simply adjusting the chair's height using the hydraulic adjustment or screw thread on older chairs. If the chair's height is not adjustable, a suitable footrest can raise the feet to compensate.
Ideally, the feet should be positioned so that the entire soles are flat on the floor or raised surface of the footrest.
Not all office seats have arm rests, but those that do should support the arms appropriately, especially if the person spends a lot of time typing at a computer keyboard and/or operating a mouse. The lower arms should be supported by the armrests so the upper arms can stay close to the torso and provide for typing comfortably.
When the arms are correctly supported, the shoulders should also be relaxed to avoid undue tension in this area. Better quality chairs will come with adjustable armrests, but those on cheaper models tend to be fixed.
Buy the Right Chair for Your Comfort
The obvious solution to preventing problems with posture, back pain and arm/shoulder fatigue is to purchase a chair that is correctly designed to support you in all the right places. This is, unfortunately not always possible, especially if you are limited by budget constraints.
The best advice is to buy the best chair you can afford and try out a few different models at the high end of your budget to see which one best fits your body size and shape for maximum supported comfort. You can find more information on this subject here: US Dept of Labor: Computer Workstations: Chairs