Is Your Office Chair Hurting You?
It’s towards the end of the day, and your head is splitting. You’ve downed a couple of cups of coffee and painkiller tablets, but it doesn’t seem to be helping much. It’s not the first time this has happened, either. Seems like once or twice a week you’re getting these afternoon headaches at your workplace. What’s happening?
Is Your Office Chair Giving You A Headache?
If headaches, neck pain, and back pain are a common part of your workday, you might want to look at your office chair. That’s right. Your office chair could be contributing to your headaches. Even if you’re trying to use good posture and sit straight, the wrong chair can sabotage your efforts and lead to muscle tightening and pain.
Why sitting in the wrong chair can cause health problems?
According to a study published in the International Journal of Occupational Safety and Ergonomics, 45 percent of office workers at computer workstations don’t even have an adjustable chair and are sitting in the worst office chairs imaginable that's causing them to maintain a wrong sitting posture for most of the day spent in the office.
If you've been wondering why office chairs are bad for you, this could be the answer. A standard office chair is designed for a man who is 5 foot 8 inches tall. So if you are smaller than that, your chair might be too big for you. It’s failing to support your back properly, forcing you into an improper position. The muscle tension then works its way up your body, leading to neck pain and a headache.
What to look for in a new office chair?
While purchasing a new piece of furniture that you will be sitting on for 40 hours per week at work, you must remember about your long-term comfort and health. The model needs to be as adjustable as possible and you should be able to customize it all to you and your body shape. The adjustable office chair that provides maximum comfort during sitting is called an ergonomic chair.
There are 11 popular adjustment areas in a high-end office chair, including:
Back height – back moves up and down
Back angle – back adjusts separately from the seat
Arm height – armrests move up and down
Arm width – armrests move in and out
Seat angle – seat tilts forward and back
Seat depth – back moves in and out from the seat
Seat height – seat moves up and down; seat height and also seat depth will determine the rest
Tilt lock – locks the seat
Tilt tension – back and seat move together; you adjust how hard it is to move
Knee tilt – seat tilts; feet stay in place
Adjustable back support – lumbar support for your lower back. Lumbar support is the primary contributing factor for either comfort or pain. A good idea is to use a foam roller three times a day as it can eliminate persistent back pain from sitting in an uncomfortable chair.
You want to be able to make all these adjustments to position the chair in a way that supports your body, puts your eyes level with the top of your computer screen, and keeps your feet flat on the floor with knees and hips at the same level.
What are some of the benefits of using a perfectly adjusted office chair?
Using the right office chair can increase your productivity and reduce physical pain in your body. You will experience increased comfortable sitting time for up to 8 hours, with better output during working at the computer. Your upper middle back pain and knee pain will be gone. You will fall asleep faster and have deeper sleep cycles.
And that should be enough to make you reconsider your old Office Depot bargain chair.
Ways to make your office chair work for you.
Of course, purchasing a new, fully adjustable office chair that can be set to properly support your body is the best way to fix the problem. Unfortunately, many companies have schedules for the replacement of office furniture.
If you can’t get a new chair right away, here are some temporary fixes that can help:
→ Start by adjusting the height of your chair so that your knees are level with your hips
→ If your chair is not fully adjustable, use the foot support to raise your legs and knees
→ Then, add a cushion or other back support so that your whole back sits flush against the seat's back
Finally, be sure to put in a request that your company managers buy office chairs to help their employees feel more comfortable and improve their productivity at the end of the day. You should visit some office and furniture stores and if you find an office chair model that you particularly like, you could even advise the purchasing manager in your place of work that this particular model may be a good fit for the company.