Sitting for an extend amount of time in office chairs can result in neck pain. The causes may include poor posture habits and lack of ergonomics in chair construction. Poor habits in posture can be fixed, and ergonomic chairs are widely available as alternatives to traditional chairs.
There are several posture components one can adopt to decrease neck pain.
1) Symmetry is very important. Eyes should look straight ahead, directly at the screen. The body should be facing forward; it should be parallel to the computer.
2) Limbs should either be parallel or perpendicular to the objects on which they rest. Arms should be parallel to the table, and feet should be flat on the floor. Legs should be bent at 90°.
Ergonomic Chairs: Criteria
Using the right ergonomic chair would not only decrease neck pain, but all types of pain given proper posture. There are several elements to which one should pay attention when buying an ergonomic chair.
1) Seat dimensions. Seat height should be adjustable so that it can accommodate people with different leg lengths. Remember that feet should be flat and legs should be at 90°. Seat length and width should both be such that sitting is comfortable for the user. The length should be long enough that it supports most of the thigh, while leaving a few inches between the back of the knee and the end of the seat.
2) Backrest. The backrest should most importantly be curved at the lumbar region (the curve on the back behind the stomach) for lumbar support. As each individual has unique lumbar dimensions, the angle and height of the backrest should be adjustable. A lack of support to the lumbar area strains the lower spine, which would causes pain.
3) Materials. Softer materials that can add padding for comfort are better than harder materials. It is generally optimal to have padding that adds support to the most comfortable and usual body position.
Ergonomic Chairs: Types
Many types of ergonomic chairs are produced, and some may be more suitable for specific people.
1) Kneeling chair. This chair has no back. As the name implies, the user kneels. It helps decrease spinal compression and tension.
2) Saddle chair. Using a saddle similar to that on a horse, the user adopts a stable position in which the legs are in a natural position. Saddle chairs are particularly useful to help with lower back issues.
3) Exercise ball chair. The ball-shaped chair disables users from slouching and its bouncing abilities help with blood circulation.
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