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What is an Ergonomic chair?

People who are experiencing back pain know that the longer they stay seated for a stretch of time, the more pain they feel. It is a commonly known fact that getting a good ergonomic chair is beneficial to the health of the back. However, when asked to have a good chair, people begin asking, “How do I know if my office chair fits me? What makes a good chair?”

People are often unclear as to what actually constitutes an ergonomic chair. Ergonomics is about fitting the job to the person or the environment to the person. In the case of an ergonomic chair, it has to fit to the user so that the user can be in his or her optimal postural position. This will lead to less stress to the muscles, joints and nerves.

Therefore, an ergonomic chair must be adjustable and have key features to support and fit its user in such a position. Key features should include:



  1. Have a stable base

The chair should have at least 5 “legs”.

  1. Allow for mobility

There should be roller wheels. If used on a carpeted surface, the wheels should be hard and are usually made of plastic. If used on a hard surface, softer rubber wheels are preferred.

  1. Adjustable chair height

Offer a range from 35cm (the lowest) to 50cm (the highest)

  1. Seat depth

Everyone has different thigh length. The seat pan or depth should be adjustable between 38cm to 43cm in depth

  1. Back-rest

The back-rest should ideally support up to the shoulder level. Chairs with low back-rests do not provide enough support for the upper back and can result in stress in the muscles of the upper back

  1. Chair angle

Chairs that allow the backrest to tilt should have the ability to lock the tilt or control the tension of the tilt. If the tilt tension cannot increase or lock, the backrest may not provide the user with enough support. The backrest tilt should also be independent of the seat pan and be able to tilt without affecting the seat pan.

  1. Arm-rest

The arm-rests often get in the way of the table, and doesn’t allow the user to pull the chair right into the table, forcing the user to sit on the edge of the chair. Arm-rests are not essential. If there are armrests, ensure that that they are adjustable downwards for clearance of the table. Armrests that can rotate inwards are available in the market.

  1. Seat width

A minimum seat width of 48cm

  1. Seat pan

The edge of the seat pan should have a curve front. This is to prevent contact stress to the back of the thigh

  1. Seat surface

The seat surface should made of non slippery and breathable material

In the next series, we will teach you how to use the chair optimally and look at the ideal work-station.

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