Choosing the proper office chair can help prevent or reduce back pain, making the hours you spend at your desk more productive. A well-designed chair not only looks good, but provides proper support for your back and spine. Evaluating the various models of chairs and their features can be overwhelming when you are shopping for a new office chair. Understanding how the various parts of a chair affect your back can help you make the best choice when purchasing a chair.
- Choose a chair with good lumbar support in the backrest. The lumbar section of the backrest should be curved to fit into the small of your back. Some chairs come with adjustable backrests that allow you to choose the level of support needed for your comfort.
- Pick a chair that allows some movement, or recline, in the back rest. The most supportive backrests aren’t locked in place, but move with you.
- Consider chair height when making your decision. Office chairs come in low, standard and high models to accommodate a range of heights. If you are tall or short, choosing a standard size chair might not adequately accommodate your height, leading to back strain. Low chairs are generally between 14 1/2 to 19 inches from the floor to the seat, standard chairs are 16 to 21 inches high and high chairs are 19 to 23 inches tall.
- Select a seat with adequate width for your body size. You should easily fit across the width of the chair with a little room to spare on either side of your thighs.
- Choose a chair that provides proper seat depth for your body. The seat depth is the measurement of the seat from front to back. If the seat depth is correct, you will be able to sit with your feet placed flat on the floor while your back is firmly against the backrest. There should be 2 to 3 inches clearance between the front of the seat and your knees.
- Look for adjustable armrests. Armrests should be adjusted so that your arms are at the same level as your desk. Armrests in the proper position help keep your body in alignment. If armrests can’t be adjusted, make sure that you can remove them if they are not at the correct height.