Why Ergonomists Recommend Chairs with Lumbar Support
March 10, 2021
Whether you are studying at University, working in an office or working from home via technology one thing is certain you are spending a majority of the work day in some type of chair. Whether the chair is an office chair, desk chair, gaming chair, accent chair, bean bag chair, papasan chair, massage chair, ergonomic chair or egg chair their sole purpose is to provide a chair for which to sit.
While this is true, it is imperative to understand that sometimes a chair is not just a chair. Each chair is not created equal. Short term comfort cannot replace the effects associated with long term pain. This is why it is so important to create a workspace that is ergonomically correct to prevent these preventable symptoms.
By the end of that work day, if you don’t have the appropriate lumbar support you may notice that you are suffering from low back pain, neck pain and/or headaches. It is essential that you have the appropriate lumbar support with your office chair to ensure that your posture is correct. Having the appropriate posture helps alleviate that unwanted pain.
Ergonomists are specialists who conduct research on the study of Ergonomics. Proper ergonomics are essential to creating a workspace that will protect your health.
What is Ergonomics ?
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill defines ergonomics as the following, “Ergonomics can roughly be defined as the study of people in their working environment. More specifically, an ergonomist designs or modifies the work to fit the worker, not the other way around. The goal is to eliminate discomfort and risk of injury due to work. In other words, the employee is our first priority in analyzing a workstation” ( UNC-CH, 2020).
Ergonomics means creating a workspace environment around the individual, not the other way around. It provides a workspace uniquely created to you for which your individual physiology is taken into consideration. When you have to spend hours working at your desk or on your computer screen, your body does not have to suffer for it later. Proper ergonomics are essential to maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
How do I maintain appropriate Ergonomics?
Ergonomics are imperative to creating a workspace that is as unique as you are. Here are some key ways to ensure that you are maintaining your physiological health via ergonomics:
The natural physiologic anatomy of the spine must be supported in order to achieve proper ergonomics in your workspace. According to Spine-Health the normal anatomical physiology of the lumbar spine is placed under extensive pressure when in the seated positions. The intervertebral discs that act as shock absorbers between the vertebral bodies of the spine undergo three times more stress loading as compared to the standing position. When there is this much pressure being placed on the lower back, the bodies natural response is to slouch or hunch forward. The muscles in the lower back have to work over-time to adjust to these poor postural positions (Triano, 2003). This results in back pain which otherwise could have been prevented.
Lumbar support is key in preventing these poor postural positions that can lead to unwanted pain. Other methods to improve ergonomics within your own workspace include the following:
- The chair should have proper armrests that allow for the individual to functionally rest elbows on the chair at 90 degree angle.
- Knees should also be bent at a right angle, thus becoming level with the hips. Adjust the chair as necessary. Use foot rest as necessary to ensure the appropriate physiologic position.
- Monitor should be approximately arm’s length away, allowing for the eyes to focus straight ahead to the computer monitor while seated.
Mayo Clinic Image of appropriate ergonomics at the computer desk. https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/adult-health/in-depth/office-ergonomics/art-20046169
Different Types of Chairs:
There are many different chairs on the market today that offer short term comfort, but they do not provide long term support for the bodies natural physiology.
The Papasan Chair
The Papasan chair is a round shaped seat with a large pillow. It has been around for many decades and has been a popular option here in America. The chair provides comfort short term, but does not provide lumbar support for the long term. (ArchitectureLab, 2017). It is a chair that has one fixed position, making it difficult for those who work in environments that require repetitive reaching movements. The Papasan Chair has elevated sides that creates more pressure on the lumbar and sacral portions of the spine. These raised edges make it difficult for one to sit in an ergonomically correct position. This chair makes it very difficult to sit with your feet on the ground, making it difficult to move from the seated to standing position (Allonsy, 2021).
While Gaming chairs look aerodynamic and create an environment that one is driving a race car, these features may not be ergonomically correct if you are looking for a chair to keep your spine in natural physiologic alignment. Gaming chairs typically have a bucket seat with raised sides. This mimics a front seat in a vehicle, however, it creates more pressure points on the lower back than other ergonomic chairs. The gaming chair has a fixed headrest and does have a detachable lumbar support pillow. This does offer some benefit. These chairs offer a high degree of reclining features and adjustable armrests. These when used correctly do have the ability to promote appropriate ergonomics. However, many that use the gaming style chair enjoy the more relaxed style of sitting, with extremes in reclining which is doesn’t offer any benefit for ergonomics (Muller, 2019).
Bean Bag Chair
Bean Bag Chairs are iconic for parties and gatherings when one wants to get together with friends and watch movies. A bean bag chair is exactly as it sounds a large piece of fabric that is filled with beads or dried beans. There are different sizes and shapes of these chairs and they offer comfort. However, they do not provide the necessary structure to promote an ergonomically friendly environment (Chair Institute, 2019).
While bean bag chairs are an iconic piece of history, they do not provide much support in terms of ergonomics. These chairs do help back pain temporarily because the beans within the chair distribute based on your position. However, these chairs are difficult to move from the sitting to the standing position and are very low to the ground. These chairs do not support spinal physiology long term (Brand, 2018).
As we continue into the twenty-first century, ergonomics are becoming more popular. They have many things in common, which include: lumbar support, adjustable arm rests, adjustable chair height and adjustable seat with multiple degrees of reclining options available. These features allow for much of the population to create a workspace that promotes their natural physiology.
The Soutien Office Chair has been designed specifically with your spine-health and physiology in mind. Spine-health and the natural anatomic curves of the spine are imperative factors when determining how to create an ergonomic work space.
It has a unique 3D lumbar support system. This 3D lumbar support system offers a soft rebound system, 3-tier height adjustment and bionic engineered curve. With this type of unique lumbar support, it alleviates that unwanted back pain that is associated with so many other office chairs.
The Soutien Ergonomic Office Chair offers 4D adjustable cushioned arm rests that provides any body shape their preferred position.The mesh is made from Italian-imported chenille and temperature-sensitive fibre, all from K+R, which provide materials for Herman Miller. The premium fleece mesh offers maximum ventilation and protects the most delicate fabrics like silk.It offers a customized sitting experience, via the one-piece bionic engineered molded foam seat that incorporates an adjustable seat depth and a 45 degree lounge recline tilt. It also has a certified quality standard featuring Samhongsa Class 4 Gas Lift and certified by TUV/BIFMA/SGS with over 10000+ pressure test cycles.
There are many different ergonomic chairs available on the market today. There are different ergonomic chairs in many different price brackets. The Soutien office chair is a proper option within an affordable price range. Implement ergonomics today within your desk work space so that you can prevent this preventable cause of pain. Find the chair that will fit your individual benefits.
Triano, J. (2003). Spine-Health: Office Chair Back Support. https://www.spine-health.com/wellness/ergonomics/office-chair-back-support
ArchitectureLab. (2017). https://www.architecturelab.net/papasan-chair/
Muller, J. (2019). Ergonomic Trends. Gaming Chairs vs Office Chairs: Which Style is More Ergonomic? http://ergonomictrends.com/gaming-chair-vs-office-chair-ergonomics/
Chair Institute. (2019). Types of Bean Bag Chairs. https://chairinstitute.com/types-of-bean-bag-chairs/
Allonsy, A. (2021). Pros & Cons of Papasan Chairs. https://www.hunker.com/12233565/correct-way-to-assemble-a-papasan-chair
Brand, G. (2018). What Are the Pros and Cons of Beanbags? https://www.bossbeanbags.com/blog/what-are-the-pros-cons-beanbags/
Miller, H. (2021). Herman Miller. The Story Retold. https://www.hermanmiller.com/products/seating/office-chairs/aeron-chairs/product-details/
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