Quick, think about your favorite chair. It’s probably pretty comfortable, right? Does it make your body feel supported? Can you happily sit in it for hours without fidgeting?


Chances are, your favorite chair isn’t your desk chair. That’s because most of us will spend a considerable amount of time shopping around for a comfortable couch or armchair yet completely overlook the importance of a good desk chair, which we spend a full 40 hours a week in.


The problem is: A crummy desk chair isn’t just uncomfortable—it’s also bad for your health.

That Uncomfortable Desk Chair Is Hurting Your Health

A desk chair that doesn’t fit your body does much more than give you a flat, sore rear end. Sitting incorrectly or slouching causes fatigue, back pain, neck pain, joint issues, abdominal cramps, digestive issues, and blood clots. 


Musculoskeletal disorders are responsible for 1/3 of work injuries or illnesses, many of which are due to poor ergonomics. These health complications result in recurring physical strain, additional mental stress, higher healthcare costs, and even lower job performance. 


In Washington, neck, back, and upper-extremity issues make up 27% of all workers’ compensation claims, and “36% of the claims result in 4 or more lost work days and more than 43% of all costs.” And a small study of Iranian workers found that discomfort or pain in the neck, lower back, and thighs resulted in fatigue and correlated with decreased concentration and productivity.


It’s time for a new chair. 

3 Ways Ergonomic Chairs Support Better Health

Ergonomic chairs are designed to support the natural alignment of your body, remove pressure from your joints, and improve your posture—all benefits that enable you to work comfortably and stay healthy. 


Here are 3 big benefits you get when you switch to an ergonomic desk chair:

1. Reducing Back Pain and Injuries

Sitting correctly is a crucial factor in preventing or reducing the back pain experienced by 50–80% of Americans


Your pelvis should be flat when seated, tilting neither forward nor back. When seated correctly, this creates a small arch in your lower back. 


But it’s common for desk workers to engage in “sacral sitting,” which is sitting with the pelvis tilted backward. This puts weight on the sacrum and causes the lumbar spine to flex, which in turn puts pressure on the lumbar discs and strains the lower back muscles, resulting in lower back pain and sometimes compressed or bulging discs.


Ergonomic chairs safeguard you from tilting your pelvis so you sit comfortably and correctly with both pelvis and spine aligned. Typically, the lower back of an ergonomic chair curves forward slightly to keep your lumbar spine supported while you work, even if you’re in the chair for several hours.

2. Reducing Neck and Shoulder Pain

Another effect of sacral sitting is the hunched, C-shaped posture we’re all familiar with: shoulders slumped in front of the body and neck jutting forward. 


This is because tilting the pelvis back—especially while peering at a monitor in front of us—causes the shoulders to roll forward and the shoulder blades to slide away from the thoracic spine, pushing the head forward into a protracted position and jutting the chin upward.


Did you know the average 12-pound head jutting forward can put as much as 40 pounds of pressure on the neck and spine? No wonder desk workers get neck pain! This misalignment of the upper body can also lessen respiratory muscle strength, reducing lung capacity by up to 30%. Other common effects include shoulder pain, arm fatigue, headaches, and, over time, a permanent hunchback-like posture. 


Ergonomic chairs combat all this slouching by offering lumbar support to keep the pelvis and spine in place, adjustable armrests to keep the shoulders better aligned, and headrests to reduce pressure on the neck. Let your chair hold up that 12-pound head. 

3. Improving Core Muscle Strength

Kneeling chairs are quickly gaining popularity, and for good reason. 


Originally called a Balans (Dutch for “balance”) chair, a kneeling chair shifts the body forward so weight is resting on the shins in a kneeling position, which removes substantial pressure from the back, hips, and rear end. 


Since there’s no back piece on most kneeling chairs, the core and back muscles are forced to activate to maintain posture throughout the workday, which gradually strengthens them and reinforces stronger body alignment.


But even kneeling chairs with back pieces have ergonomic perks: Since the hips and torso are held at a more open angle (roughly 110°) than traditional sitting (90°), the reduced pressure in these areas lessens the occurrence of stiffness, pain, and long-term weakness. 

What to Look for in an Ergonomic Chair

Ready to upgrade your crummy desk chair to a healthier seating situation? Make sure you choose an ergonomic chair that offers everything you need to maintain correct posture, avoid aches and pains, and ward off long-term injuries and illnesses. 


Here are 5 crucial features to look for when shopping for an ergonomic chair: 

  1. Lumbar support to help you maintain alignment while sitting

  2. A seat that tilts so you can find comfortable pelvic positioning

  3. An adjustable-height seat so you can rest your feet flat on the floor

  4. Adjustable-height chair arms so you can reduce shoulder strain and arm fatigue

  5. A headrest that will support your neck

Browse a wide selection of ergonomic chairs here to find one that feels like the perfect postural match. You may just find one comfortable enough to become your new favorite chair.


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