Many desk-workers spend considerable time and money trying to find “the perfect chair”…..one which holds them in a comfortable, biomechanically correct position so that they don’t get back pain, neck pain or R.S.I symptoms. The bad news is no such chair exists….you can sit badly on any and every chair and sit well in most (but not all) chairs – the difference is education and intent.
Nothing in nature really looks like a chair – I don’t think Neanderthal Man wandered the plains looking for a rock with a back rest! Unfortunately, we have altered our environment to suit our lifestyle with little regard as to the consequences.
The human body is beautifully designed for movement…the problem is, in Western Society we don’t move! The majority of our society, whilst “busy”, is sitting. Years of sitting (and don’t forget it starts from the age of 5, at school) results in weakness in our core muscles which support the spine. Thus we tend to collapse limply into soft couches and cushioned chairs…anything which demands us to hold ourselves correctly against gravity is deemed “uncomfortable” and “unsupportive” and therefore discarded.
The best chair is one which encouraged the normal curves of the spine (i.e. pelvis tilted slightly forward to maintain the lower back curve) and has the “sitter” using their own muscles to maintain the posture.
Tips for finding the perfect chair
- Most chairs can be sat in well or poorly – the difference is understanding good posture and using it!
- Any “scoop” or bucket shaped chair, where your bottom is lower than your knees will be virtually impossible to sit in properly.
- Find a chair that tilts forward slightly at the front, to encourage a forward roll of your pelvis thus making it easier to maintain the normal spinal curves
- Raise the chair as high as possible, sitting on the from edge of the seat, taking some weight through the legs, as this will also help to keep your pelvis forward.
- Remember – the price tag on the chair is not a good guide as to how well it helps you sit…it’s more an indication of the cost and quality of material used rather than the design.