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How to Set Up Your Office Chair to be Comfortable

If you’re one of the millions of office workers in the world, you will appreciate being able to sit comfortably for long hours at your desk.

The chair is the centre of your computer and desk workstation.  Everything pivots around it.  Do you know to position your chair correctly so that you’re comfortable while you work?  Follow these 4 steps:

1. Elevate Your Chair to the correct Height

The first thing that you need to do is to set the height of your chair correctly.  How do you know if your chair height is correct?  It is not whether your feet touch the ground or not.  If you use this as your guide, you are likely to set your chair too low, which will result in you shrugging your shoulders to reach your desk and your keyboard.  Shrugging your shoulders for long periods at your desk puts you at a high risk of neck pain.  Neck pain is very common among office workers and a low chair position in relation to one’s desk is one of the reasons why that this is so common.

Read my post on 4 monitor positions that cause neck pain.

So, to find the correct height for your chair, lean backwards against your backrest and elevate your chair until you are able to work at your desk and your keyboard with your shoulders relaxed.  If your feet dangle, don’t lower your chair back again, rather get a footrest.  If there is no money for a footrest, use some books or even reams of paper to support your feet.  Don’t rest your feet on your chair legs, this will strain your back.  Also, don’t ignore it if your feet don’t firmly touch the ground.  It makes a greater difference than you think to use a support for your feet, even if it’s only a slight elevation that is necessary for you to be comfortable at your desk.

“Using a footrest is important to set your chair height correctly” by CS Body Health cc. All Rights Reserved. 2016
''Positioning your chair too low will cause you to shrug your shoulders while you work" by CS Body Health cc. All Rights Reserved. 2016
”Positioning your chair too low will cause you to shrug your shoulders while you work” by CS Body Health cc. All Rights Reserved. 2016

2.  Bring Your Chair Closer to Your Desk

You might also need to bring your chair close enough to your desk.  You need to bring your chair a lot closer to your keyboard and desk than you think you do.  If you don’t, you will find yourself leaning forwards away from your backrest, which can lead to lower back pain.

Read my post about the importance of your spinal posture and the s-curve of the spine.  

If the armrests are a problem and preventing you from bringing your chair close enough to your desk because they are fixed, get someone from maintenance to remove them.  If you have adjustable armrests, first try to lower them, but if the correct height of your chair causes them to knock against your desk, then raise them slightly to slide just over your desk.

"Slide armrests that can't adjust low enough to slide just over your desk" bu CS Body Health cc. All Rights Reserved. 2016
“Slide armrests that can’t adjust low enough to slide just over your desk” by CS Body Health cc. All Rights Reserved. 2016

“Armrests that can’t adjust low enough should be adjusted to slide just over your desk” by CS Body Health cc. All Rights Reserved. 2016

3. Incline Your Backrest Backwards to -8 Degrees:

Some people believe that if their chair is upright, they are sitting in good posture and sitting correctly.  Good posture for the spine is maintaining the s-curve of the spine.  Sitting too upright places higher loads on the spine than if it is reclined backwards.  If you sit too upright, you will fatigue faster.

chair ergonomics
“Sitting too upright causes spinal fatigue” by CS Body Health cc. All Rights Reserved. 2016
chair ergonomics
“Recline your chair backwards to about -8 degrees” by CS Body Health cc. All Rights Reserved. 2016

4.  If Your Chair has an Adjustable Backrest

If your chair has an adjustable backrest, you need to make sure that the curve of the backrest is placed in the small of your back.  This is to ensure that the s-curve of your spine is supported while you sit for long periods at your desk to help reduce lower back pain.

"Incorrect placement of chair's lumbar support. Too high" by CS Body Health cc. All Rights Reserved. 2016
“Incorrect placement of chair’s lumbar support. Too high” by CS Body Health cc. All Rights Reserved. 2016
lumbar support
“Correct position of the chair’s lumbar support” by CS Body Health cc. All Rights Reserved. 2016

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