Did you know that sitting in an office chair that is too large could, in fact, create problems for your neck and back? Many people have office chairs that are too large for their bodies, yet they spend countless hours sitting in them, thus putting stress on their bodies without even knowing it. This can lead to a need for physical therapy and, in extreme cases, surgery.
So how can you know if your chair is too large? First, take a look at your feet. Can they sit comfortably on the ground? If not, the chair either needs to be adjusted or it is too tall. Why is this a concern? Properly supported feet provide stability to the lower back. When your feet dangle, your back does not get the support it needs, and thus, it experiences strain.
Next, sit in the chair in a comfortable position, and take notice of your knees. Are they hitting the seat of the chair? If so, the seat is too big. You need at least one to two inches of space between the chair and the back of your knees. If you do not have this space, you are putting strain on your lower back again.
The back of the chair is another area where people often make a mistake. You should be supported by the chair from your lower back to your shoulder blades the entire time you sit in it, all while keeping your feet on the floor. If you have to scoot back to reach the back of the chair, thus pulling your feet off the floor, then it is too big.
A final test is the position and adjustability of the arm rests on the chair. They should support your elbows when you type. If they cannot move up and down to accommodate this, then the chair is the wrong size. If you have to “shrug” your shoulders to rest your arms on the arm rests, then the chair is too big. Likewise, if you cannot reach the arm rests, the chair may be too small.
The manufactures who make office chairs will typically give three size options: A, B and C. if yours is the wrong size, then call the manufacturer or check the website to see if other sizes are available. When buying a new chair, be sure to buy based on your height so you can get the right size.
Once you have a chair that is the right size, you will instantly notice the difference. Your back, neck and shoulders will feel less strained, and you will leave at the end of the day with fewer of the aches and pains common after a long day at the office. With time, you will have fewer stress related injuries requiring medical attention, all because you got a chair that was the right size.
PhysioDC of Washington, D.C.
Daniel Baumstark and his professional team of physical therapists operate a boutique physical therapy office in downtown Washington, D.C. From athletes to government officials, and from ballerinas to corporate executives, PhysioDC helps people recover, strengthen and return to healthy living. Visit their website at www.PhysioDC.com (click here) or call them at 202-223-8500.