Have you gone to work one day and noticed that your coworker got a chair that looks like the one your teenage son has been using to play video games? The kind with a headrest, curved back, and forearm rests? Did you ask your coworker about the chair and receive an answer with a multitude of health benefits that sound too good to be true? And did you think it was all bogus? You are not alone! But you might be surprised to learn that these miracle chairs really do have health benefits.
According to the 2020 Workplace Safety and Health report, since 2013 the number of work-related musculoskeletal disorders such as rotator cuff tendonitis had risen from 237 reported cases in 2013 to 328 in 2020. Of the number of workplace minor injuries, 790 were due to over-exertion and strenuous movements. 790 cases may not seem like many people in the approximate total of 1,389,618,778 individuals living in the United States, but next year you and I may be included in that small percentage. In addition, that’s 790 injuries that could have been mitigated, or even avoided with a few physical ergonomic practices.
Taking into account the physical demands and requirements of workplaces as well as the biomechanics of human beings, scientists in the area of ergonomics take data, such as the points above, and design objects to try to reduce the risks of work-related injuries while increasing productivity by reducing pain. That is the chair’s purpose. Because of the research done, we now have seats that can slow down the progress of a multitude of health issues.
There are things the individual must do in order to make the chair effective, however. What use are all the pads and features if you don’t know how to use them? Some good habits to form while using the chair are keeping your feet flat on the floor and mindfully keeping yourself from twisting your abdomen. This is why ergonomic chairs always let you adjust the height and swivel in the seat. Adjustable components enable anyone to keep proper alignment of the head, neck, and spine, and keep the correct height of the knees and forearms. It’s the combination of the chair’s features with the efforts of the user that effectively mitigates pain and prevents chronic musculoskeletal issues.
In the short term, health benefits of ergonomic chairs include
- Neck, back, and arm support
- Relieving lower back pain
- Forcing a neutral pelvic position with the back of the seat for better alignment
- Easing stress on upper extremities, joints, and ligaments
- Prevention of pinched spinal nerves and 80% of added lumbar disk pressure
In the long term,the aforementioned benefits culminate into the prevention of diseases in the neck, shoulders, lower back, and wrists. Remember, the initial discomforts you feel in your neck, legs, upper extremities, and back are often the early stages of what can develop into serious musculoskeletal disorders. You can get an office chair for back pain that can help you reduce back pain due to bad posture.
According to the Canadian Center for Occupational Health and Safety, common work-related disorders that an ergonomic office chair may help with include Tendonitis/tenosynovitis and carpal tunnel syndrome. Tendonitis/tenosynovitis occurs in the wrists, shoulders, elbows, knees, and heels. It’s caused by repetitive motions and forceful rotations in these areas. You can make fewer repetitive movements by keeping items like your keyboard within reach and utilizing the chair’s swivel feature.Carpal tunnel syndrome occurs in the wrist when repetative wrist movements put pressure on the median nerve. Use the chairs adjustable forearm rest to help minimize bent and twisted wrists.
In short, you can enjoy the immediate benefits of alieving daily pains like a sore back and stiff neck and then thank yourself 10 years from now for getting that ergonomic chair and avoiding chronic damage. As you can see, the benefits of using an ergonomic chair can be summed up as: they prevent chronic musculoskeletal occupational diseases. If you don’t think there’s a chair out there for you, don’t worry. Developments on ergonomic technology is happening all of the time, such as a chair suitable for near-ground welding. So the next time a coworker of yours buys a neat, curvy chair, maybe the next question to ask is, “where can I get one?”