Sitting is an onerous activity for which the human body is not particularly suited. Our bodies evolved as a long distance joggers. Sitting with the abdominal muscles clenched in a way that supports the spine is difficult even for a few minutes. Office chairs help to alleviate this unfortunate position.
Yet office workers are expected to sit at their desks for about eight hours a day, as a matter of course. The same people would probably be horrified at the prospect of running for eight hours and yet their bodies would be better suited to doing that.
Sitting in one position for more than a few minutes is almost impossible because it entails holding a very unnatural position. So office workers shift about, twisting and turning almost as if being tortured but without knowing it. The strain on the spinal column can be considerable.
The spine is composed of vertebra stacked upon each other in four regions known as the cervical, thoracic, lumbar and sacral. Most often, but not always bones in the lumbar region can be misplaced by sitting for long periods. The soft tissue between the bones may also prolapse putting pressure on the nerves causing pain, numbness and discomfort.
A most important consideration is the curved and padded backrest. This may be modeled on the shape of a normal spine but almost every spine is slightly different. Therefore a ‘normal’ backrest may not be suitable for a particular spine and some slight adjustments may be required. A small lever can be used to adjust the angle of the backrest.
Casters at the base of office chairs enable them to be pushed about easily. The importance of this is that the distance between the edge of the desk and the worker’s body has an important effect upon the strain placed on the spine. Another important aspect of the casters is that they allow a worker to push herself away from her desk before rising by straightening her knees. This is really important because many backs can be suddenly twisted out of joint in the act of rising, or sitting.
Since human beings come in all sizes it is important to be able to adjust the height of the seat from the ground. It should be just high enough to allow a worker to extend her arms comfortably to her key board. When all the limbs are comfortably aligned with the desk or table and instrument on it a worker is likely to be more productive and consistent in her work. Therefore office chairs are an investment not only in health and safety but also in productivity.
Author: Michael T RossThis author has published 1 articles so far.