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Ergonomics 101: What Does an Ergonomic Chair Really Do for Your Spine

08 December 2022

An ergonomic chair is quickly becoming an essential item for the home office. Ergonomic furniture provides comfort and support for the entire body and offers a range of health benefits that can improve your productivity and well-being. For example, an ergonomic office chair eliminates unwanted and unnatural body positions and prevents overtaxing the musculoskeletal system, which can cause injuries or even physical impairments.

While ergonomic chairs can cost more than regular office chairs, they are proven to reduce the risk of RSI, carpal tunnel syndrome, lower back pain, neck pain, muscle pain, and spinal injury. In this article, we'll look at the essential health benefits of using an ergonomic chair and discover how they positively impact spinal health.

What is an Ergonomic Chair?

Within the UK, the average office worker spends as much as 75% of their day sitting down. If your posture is backward or slouching during this time, it may lead to pain and discomfort, negatively impacting your productivity and energy levels. Therefore, a good office chair with features that promote body health is essential for complete well-being.

Ergonomic chairs hold the user in a precise position, removing the pressure on the feet, knees, back, and neck. It's an easily adjustable chair with a lot of lumbar support and cushioning, an adjustable backrest angle, height and armrests, and a robust weight capacity.

A good office chair will support your spine and other joints to prevent muscle strain, aches, and other injuries. Ergonomic chairs go much further by offering back, neck, and spine support, which in turn can help improve your work productivity.

Health Benefits of an Ergonomic Chair

Poor posture, caused by using an incorrect chair, can lead to prolonged health problems, including back pain, neck pain, and stress. An ergonomic chair will help avoid these problems, benefitting your physical and mental well-being and your spine.

Before we look into the spinal benefits, here are some of the other physical health problems that can be improved with the use of an ergonomic chair:

● Eye strain

● Numbness and tingling in the hands and feet

● Sinus pain

● Stiff and achy joints

● Back pain

● Neck pain

● Poor circulation

When working from an ergonomic chair, you are more conscious about your posture and mental well-being. An ergonomic chair can also boost your mental health, relieving symptoms such as low mood, anxiety, mental stress, and poor focus and concentration.

What Can an Ergonomic Chair do for your Spine?

There are many ergonomic chairs available on the market. So, how do you find one that works for you?

#1: Choose a Chair That Fits Your Shape: This might sound obvious; however, everyone has a different body shape. The seat pan should be at least 3cm wider on each side than you, and there should be another 3cm gap between the edge of the chair and the back of your knee when you are seated. You can add a cushion (or insert) shaped to fit your spine.

#2: Choose an Adjustable Height Chair: Pneumatic adjustments allow minor alterations to the chair's height. If the seat pan or cushion is tilt adjustable, it should tilt to about 30 degrees. This will help the lower back, supporting the lumbar spine.

#3: Position the Seat Back Correctly: Ergonomic chairs usually have a prominent seat back, which should finish just above shoulder height and support the crucial parts of the spine. Some chairs with adjustable backs may adjust with the seat pan (height adjustment). Your knee should rest against your foothold and be parallel to the floor. The additional back support can position the spine in a flat, long lordosis or lordotic posture.

#4: Consider Optional Spinal Support: Ergonomic chairs have many optional devices to improve spinal positioning. Lumbar rolls sit at the small of the back, helping to maintain the curve for spinal comfort. Likewise, D rolls and lumbar cushions offer the same support without pushing you forward on the chair.

#5: Support the Thoracic Spine: The midsection of the seat back supports the thoracic spine and ribs. There should be a 60-degree angle when compared to the lumbar spine. If you're sitting correctly, your rib cage will be over your centre of gravity and require less support in your upper body.

#6: Do You Require Neck Support?: Support of the neck/head on a chair is rare. Even where there are head supports (e.g., 24-hour shift chairs), people very rarely use them. Instead, we generally sit with our heads supported by our muscles. Therefore, keeping the neck supported is not usually recommended; focusing on correctly positioning an adjacent desk/monitor height is much more critical. However, you need to consider whether additional neck support would benefit you. For example, do you suffer from neck weakness or recurrent neck pain?

Final Thoughts

Ergonomic chairs provide health benefits that far exceed everyday office chairs. They support the entire body and offer supreme comfort for your spine, protecting you from pain and discomfort. Good posture is essential to maintain focus, improve productivity, and prevent back and neck pain. Flexispot offers a range of high-quality and affordable office chairs, many of which boast advanced ergonomic features.