Office Chair Safety Tips for Better Back Support
Every desk jockey has their favorite kind of office chair. It’s a chair that’s comfortable, provides enough back support and is safe to sit in all day, without causing back pain or other issues. But not everyone has the right type of chair or they don’t know how to make their chair safer and more comfortable. Fortunately for you, we’re here to help. We’ve got some great office chair safety tips that will ensure your day behind your desk is as comfortable as possible.
Perfect Posture Matters
First off, if you’re suffering from chronic back pain, make sure the chair is the root cause, not your poor posture. Sit up straight, with your feet placed on the floor. Believe it or not, proper posture can go a long way toward your comfort and can even alleviate lower back pain almost instantly.
Make the Proper Adjustments
If your chair isn’t properly adjusted, you’re looking at one long day behind your desk. Before you sit down at your desk and go through your emails, take a few minutes to make some tweaks to the chair’s back, arms, seat, and height. Basic daily usage can actually knock all of these adjustments out of alignment.
Height: When the height of your seat isn’t adjusted correctly it can cause plenty of discomfort. While it isn’t necessary to adjust the height often, with some chairs, it may get easily knocked out of alignment without you even realizing it. Or, a coworker may have borrowed your chair and failed to return the seat to its previous height.
To correctly adjust the height just use the button or lever found on the side of the chair and move the chair up or down until your feet are resting comfortably flat on the floor. Your feet should never dangle because it can put too much pressure on the underside of your legs. If you’re short, you may need to purchase a footrest if your feet cannot rest completely flat on the ground, once the chair has been adjusted.
Tilt tension: Some chairs include this adjustment feature, others do not. If your chair has this adjustment, you can use a tension knob located under the front of the chair, turning the knob outwards to decrease tension and inwards to increase it. When this setting is properly adjusted, you’ll be able to recline slightly back with ease. If you find that the back of the chair offers little to no resistance, then you’ll need to make some tweaks in the setting.
Lumbar support: Your ergonomic office chair might have a ratchet adjuster, which will require you to reach behind the chair and gently lift the back of the chair down or up into a preset position. Do your best to adjust the chair so that the backrest of the chair provides decent lumbar support. This will help to encourage proper posture and will keep your spine in a healthy, upright position that can work to prevent the type of chronic back pain that comes with most standard desk jobs.
If you find that you’re experiencing increased back pain at the end of each workday, take a look at our article on self-massage tips. These handy tips can help to take the edge off after a long day at the office.
Get Better Back Support
If your old office chair just isn’t providing adequate back support, you can always purchase a lumbar support that easily attaches to the back of your chair. This type of support is designed to fit against the curvature of your back, applying support exactly where you need it the most. This type of extra support can also provide much-needed padding if you’re using an old office chair but can’t quite afford an upgrade.
But if it is in your budget, and an added lumbar support isn’t making much of a difference in terms of comfort, take a look at our guide of the top-rated models of ergonomic chairs on the market. You’ll find a variety of styles and models to choose from that offer top of the line quality, without hitting your wallet too hard. Click here to read our guide.
Buy a Footrest
You can also purchase a footrest, which will keep your feet placed in the correct sitting position. If you’re too short and your feet are left dangling, this can lead to low lumbar pain in a matter of a few hours. Using a footrest can help to align your back because it forces you to use proper posture.
Everyone is different. If you’re a little on the heavy side or over six feet tall, there are chairs that are specifically designed for you. Not only is using the wrong type of office chair often the culprit of lower back pain, but over time, it can lead to serious back issues. These larger chairs are equipped with wider seats and larger cylinders, with more distance between the arm pads.
If you’ve tried everything on our list of tips to make your chair safer and more comfortable without any success, then it may be time for a new chair.
Putting on the Brakes: Preventing an Office Chair Accident
Other office chair safety issues have to do with a chair’s brakes and lack of traction. While finding a comfortable, supportive chair is very important, making sure your office chair isn’t an accident waiting to happen is crucial, especially if your office floor happens to be tile, hardwood, or linoleum.
Once you’ve adjusted your chair for comfort, it’s time to check out the braking casters. These casters are equipped with a type of internal brake that’s designed to prevent your office chair from rolling freely when you stand up or sit down and as you probably know, an older office chair can be a rolling deathtrap.
These internal brakes will minimize the chair’s movement, so you can sit and stand without the chair flying out from under you. Some chairs will have caster brakes on each wheel, while others may only have these brakes on the back wheels.
This type of braking system is essential for all office staff, but it can be especially important for coworkers who suffer from arthritis or mobility issues. So, before you sit, take a good look at your chair, check out the braking system, and make any necessary adjustments to ensure your chair’s brakes are securely locked in place.