Best Chair for Work

Is there a way to make the workplace more pleasant?

According to a survey done by Staples Advantage, the business-to-business division of Staples, Inc., your chair may make a difference. The study found that 86 percent of office workers report some discomfort from their office furniture and equipment, and that more than 1 in 3 said they would be a more pleasant person to work with.   As employees put in longer hours at their desks, bad office chairs are a big problem. Combining the fact that companies are cutting costs and employees are stuck with chairs that are old, don’t fit and are not comfortable. 

So, what is the best chair for work for prevent and reduce discomfort and pain? In a recent study published in The Spine Journal, the official journal of the North American Spine Society,  multiple seats were tested to examine which imposed the least about of force on the spine.  Sitting on a Swiss ball imposed the most amount of force on the back and should be avoided for office work and extended periods of time.  The stool was the seconded most impactful type of seat and the best chair to reduce workload on the spine was an office chair, a 47 % reduction compared to the Swiss ball.

This is important because many low back issues are result of overuse.  Sitting for long periods of time exerts a low but prolonged force on the low back. It is this cumulative force and can cause issues.

World renowned low back expert and author of the book, Low Back Disorders, Dr. Stuart McGill offers a three point plan for reducing troubles during prolonged sitting, first is to use an ergonomic chair. There really is no ideal sitting position, however there are better positions, and adjusting the chair so that the hips and knees are bent 90 degrees with the back on the back rest is proven to reduce force on the spine. Although the result is still prolonged loads on specific tissues that eventually will get tired and break down. The best idea is to find several different comfortable sitting positions and alternate between them to transmit the force around. 

The seconded idea is to get out of the chair often, every 20 minutes if possible. This greatly reduces the loads on the back. Gentle stretching and walking around are also recommended. The last strategy to reduce back trouble is preforming an exercise routine. Included exercises that work the back side of the body; the glutes, core and back are all important to help balance out the forces of sitting for long hours.   

Leave a comment