Ergonomic Chairs and Posture
Ergonomic chairs support a natural posture. Many chairs are straight. However, our spines are not. Your spine has a natural “s” shaped curve in it. The lower spine naturally curves forward. That area is known as the lumbar region of the spine. So, a straight-backed chair does not provide the proper lumbar support for your body.
Hip and Pelvic Alignment
A surprising amount of back pain is due to strain in your hips and pelvis. Ergonomic chairs let you adjust the height of the seat. You should be able to sit with your knees comfortably in front of your seat, your feet flat on the floor, and your hips and knees, each around 90 degrees.
The tilt of your pelvis can be even more critical than spinal alignment. Your pelvic bones have structures on the front and the back known as the ASIS (front) and the PSIS (back). The ASIS and PSIS should be level when you are sitting. When they are, your back should be naturally arched. There are also bones called the ischial tuberosities at the bottom of the pelvis. They are the bones that contact a surface when you sit down. They are meant to be weight-bearing when humans sit.
If you sit with your pelvis tilted backward, the PSIS is lower than the ASIS. That shifts what part of the body bears weight. Instead of the ischial tuberosities, your sacrum bears the weight of your seated body. That causes changes in your spine, as well. The backward tilt of the pelvis causes your lumbar spine region to flex. That can lead to lower back pain from strain on ligaments and muscles and pressure on the discs in your lower spine.
An ergonomic chair correctly supports your pelvis. It can help prevent you from sitting with a backward tilt. That makes sitting more comfortable and helps reduce pressure and strain on your lower spine.
Support the Head
Have you heard that the human head weighs as much as a bowling ball? Your spine is designed to hold up that weight as long as it is positioned on the top of the spine. However, if you slouch, your head pulls on your spine. Your shoulders roll forward when you slouch, and your neck muscles strain, impacting muscles throughout your back, down through your arms, and even up through your jaws. Slouching can lead to muscle strain and increase your risk of repetitive use injuries and headaches.
People slouch for several reasons. Good posture is a habit that not everyone has. It takes a solid core to maintain proper posture. So, someone with a weak core is more likely to strike. Other factors influencing whether you slouch include obesity, limited hip flexion motion, and even tight hamstrings. Even a great ergonomic chair cannot fix those issues.
However, a great office chair can keep from exacerbating your existing issues. They can ensure that you are seated appropriately, which reduces the temptation to slouch. They support your spine and head in the appropriate positions. Combining them with a well-designed desk layout can help prevent slouching and forward head posture.
Why is that important? If you have a consistent forward head posture, it changes the way your body appears and functions. You may have heard it called upper cross syndrome. Upper cross syndrome is a muscle imbalance. Upper back and neck muscles get longer and weaker, while chest and neck muscles get shorter and tighter. The more you sit in a head-forward posture, the more likely you will develop upper cross syndrome. Plus, the worse your upper cross syndrome gets, the more your body is forced into a head-forward position.
Support Your Trunk
We have already discussed how core strength impacts posture. A good office chair helps provide structural support to fight gravity and enables you to maintain an upright posture. That can help prevent you from leaning forward, which can cause lower back pain, making it more challenging to sit up straight. A good desk chair should make it easy to reach things on your desk without constantly leaning forward.
Arm and Wrist Placement
An ergonomic office chair has armrests. When you are standing, your arms hang by your sides. The ergonomic chair should provide support where your arms would naturally hang. This support should help prevent muscle fatigue and strain in your arms and shoulders.
Improve Blood Flow
Did you know that bad posture can restrict blood flow? It sure can. You may feel it if your limbs fall asleep, or you feel pins and needles in parts of your body. However, it has an effect that is more difficult to notice. Circulation supplies oxygen to your body. Poor circulation can make you sleepy and less alert in the short term. Over a long time, it can lead to problems with your organs, blood clots, and even heart disease.
Bad posture can also impact your gastrointestinal system. Think about the differences in your body between standing with an erect spine and slouching. When slouching, your organs are pushed out of their natural position. Plus, the decline in circulation can impact digestion.
When you slouch, your lungs cannot expand to the total capacity. If you cannot take a deep breath, you cannot get enough oxygen into your lungs. The impact may not seem severe and may only impact your oxygen saturation by a tiny percentage. However, that can be enough to cause sluggishness, difficulties concentrating, and even headaches.
We have highlighted the benefits that employees get from ergonomic chairs. What about the benefits for the employer? The reality is that upgrading all of your office chairs can seem very expensive. Why spend that money on office chairs?
The simple answer is that more comfortable workers are more productive. However, the honest answer is more complicated than just comfort. Ergonomic chairs can help reduce employee sick days because they reduce the risk of headaches, repetitive stress injuries, and even digestive issues. Improving the health and comfort of your employees is always a good investment.
We offer a wide range of customizable office chairs. That is important. If you find a company that says they have a one-size-fits-all customizable chair, you should run. In a medium-sized office, you could have employees ranging from under 5 feet tall to over 6 feet tall. They could weigh anywhere from 80 pounds to 300 pounds and still be in the range of the average American. Does it make sense that the right chair for your petite worker will be the same as your largest worker’s? No, it does not.
So, we offer a range of customizable chairs. You can order them with your current employee roster in mind, knowing that they are customizable, so you can adjust them when employees are replaced.
We also offer a variety of surfaces. The traditional office chair is leather or faux leather. While that can provide a luxe appearance, it may not be the most comfortable option. That is why we also offer mesh chairs. Mesh chairs are less expensive. They also increase the airflow to your body, which can help reduce discomfort.
Check out our entire lineup to see which chairs are suitable for you. And feel free to reach out to our customer service specialists if you have any questions about ergonomic chairs. We are here to help you get the right solution for your home or office place.