ERGONOMICS

Think about how many hours of your life have been spent sitting in chairs. The number is surely staggering. Millions of people are sitting in badly designed chairs or in a position that can cause chronic back pain and undue suffering. Ergonomics is about designing for our physiology. Whether you are buying an ergonomic chair to support your back or taking steps to improve your posture, knowing proper techniques and proper chair design will help you improve your back’s health.

Ergonomics: Office chair

In first considering the “conventional” style of office chair, there are a number of things an ergonomic chair should have, including:

  • Seat height. Office chair seat height should be easily adjustable. A pneumatic adjustment lever is the easiest way to do this. A seat height that ranges from about 16 to 21 inches off the floor should work for most people. This allows the user to have his or her feet flat on the floor, with thighs horizontal and arms even with the height of the desk.
  • Seat width and depth. The seat should have enough width and depth to support any user comfortably. Usually 17-20 inches wide is the standard. The depth (from front to back of the seat) needs to be enough so that the user can sit with his or her back against the backrest of the ergonomic office chair while leaving approximately 2 to 4 inches between the back of the knees and the seat of the chair. The forward or backward tilt of the seat should be adjustable.

Shoe insoles for low back pain

Examples of common foot problems that can lead to an irregular posture and/or walking pattern include:

  • Plantar fasciitis, which can lead to chronic heel pain and/or arch pain
  • Nerve pain or numbness in the foot (such as neuromas and tarsal tunnel syndrome)
  • Bunions and bunionettes (big-toe versus little-toe side, respectively)
  • Excessive foot pronation (rolling in) or supination (rolling out)