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Doctor's Notes

6 Things to Look for in Finding the Perfect Chair

by Ryan Hogan 26 Nov 2018 0 Comments

Chairs are manufactured based on certain standards and specifications. In the interest of sales and mass marketing, manufacturers simply choose a design and shape based on the average height, weight, and preference of consumers. Although a chair that could seat anyone from a 50-lb. child to a 300-lb. man is a good choice, it may not always be perfect. People come in many shapes and sizes, so there really is no such thing as a one-chair-seats-all product. Look carefully at any office cubicle and you will see that while all chairs are the same, the people who sit on them are not - some are light, some are heavyset, some are small-framed while others are heavy-framed. The only solution for this problem is really getting your chair customized based on your physical specifications, such as your height, weight, the number of hours you spend sitting and the type of work you do.

Unfortunately, most of us must deal with what is already available or affordable, so we basically have to choose among different brands, styles, models, and shapes of chairs that meet the standard specifications. When back support and functional comfort are key to remaining, healthy and avoiding back pain and other unpleasant conditions, finding the perfect chair is critical.

Finding the Right Chair

1. Look for the Adjustable Variety.

Ergonomically-designed chairs should allow for easy adjustments. Most models you will find in furniture and office equipment shops usually feature a pneumatic type of adjustment lever that allows the seat height to be moved up or down. Choose a chair that allows the seat to be moved to a height of at least 16 inches to about 21 inches or higher, depending on how tall you are. You should be able to adjust the chair to such a height where your feet can lie flat on the floor and your thighs can maintain a horizontal position.

2. Look for Sufficient Seat Support.

Seat support is generally gauged using the depth and width of the seat to determine its functional comfort. Most seats are at least 17 to 20 inches in width, although others may offer more room. In terms of depth, or the area from the front of the seat to the back, there should be enough space to allow you to sit comfortably with your back supported by the backrest. Check that the back of your knees clears the edge of the seat front by at least 2 inches.

3. Importance of Lumbar Support.

Ergonomic chairs are designed to target the lower back and provide it with enough support and cushioning to keep the lumbar spine curved correctly. Without enough lumbar support from a chair, you are likely to slouch more.

By slouching, the curve at the lower portion of your spine will become flat. Over time, this can cause a strain in the natural structure of the spine. If the chair has good lower back support, you can avoid slouching or hunching over when you sit.

4. Look for a Stable Backrest.

Avoid chairs with backrests that are narrower than the width of your back. These can be uncomfortable to use after a few minutes. Look for backrests that are wide enough to support your back, especially at the shoulder blades. For removable or separate backrests, make sure that these are adjustable in terms of depth and height. With the right back support from a backrest, you can maintain the natural curve of the lower spine and avoid injuries.

5. Look for Comfort.

Seat material is often a neglected component of a good chair. Although materials such as leather, plastic, and synthetics may offer a wider variety of designs and colors, consider using a chair with a cloth fabric seat and firm cushioning. Cloth fabric is more breathable than popular seat materials such as natural and synthetic leather. Since it will not retain as much body heat from constant contact, it will remain comfortable for extended periods of time.

6. Look for Adjustable Armrests.

Armrests should accommodate your elbows, allowing you to keep your forearms horizontal when your hands are placed on the table. When armrests are at the right height, your shoulders should remain level and relaxed, and your arms comfortable.

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