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Is Your Office Chair Affecting Your Health?

If you are prone to suffering from catarrh and asthma type conditions your office seat may not be helping matters much.

Your office cleaners may do a very good job of keeping the place clean, even so I think you would be amazed at the amount of grime and filth that the average office chair is full of.

Take off a shoe and try beating the seat pad with the sole a few times, I bet there’s a fair chance that billows of dust will come flying out of the upholstery, unless it’s leather or vinyl of course.

So what’s the best course of action? Well to begin with give it a thorough clean with a powerful suction cleaner and don’t forget to beat the upholstery vigorously several times too. That dirt has become well embedded in the seat’s foams and doesn’t want to come out without a fight.

Finally, get hold of a good quality fabric cleaner and give the whole of the upholstery a real good clean, but take advice from your chair supplier first as to what is the best type of cleaner to use. Make sure you test it on an inconspicuous area initially, you don’t want to have a major disaster on your hands.

You’ll actually prolong the life of you seat’s fabric by cleaning it as it will remove abrasive particles the rub and cause undue wear.

Do this spring cleaning exercise at least once a year to keep your chair clean and healthy.

7 Problems Caused By Bad Seating Habits And How To Correct Them

Here’s a quick list of the 7 most common complaints of office chairs users, why they occur and what you can do to minimize them.

Symptom 1

Lower back pain and stiffness – the probable cause is either a badly adjusted chair back or prolonged sitting in the same position. Try adjusting your chair back to give your lumbar area better support. Also get up and do some stretches and take a walk around the office or even outside for five minutes.

Symptom 2

Stiff neck with limited movement from side to side – it’s likely you’ve been hard at work and had your head in a fixed position. Try 2 or 3 shoulder shrugs, holding each for 3 – 5 seconds. Follow this by looking over each shoulder 2 times, but don’t push beyond the point where you feel tension or pain. Keep doing this regularly several times a day and it should ease.

Symptom 3

Shoulder pain with stiff shoulder muscles – this is similar to symptom 2, but also try stretching your arms above your head a couple of times whenever you feel shoulder muscle tension.

Symptom 4

Pain in lower arm and fingers – this is probably due to excessive mouse use, so try switching mouse use to the other hand to give the affected arm time to recover. For exercise try holding your fingers spread eagled apart for 5 – 10 seconds. Follow this by closing your knuckles in an open fist and hold for a similar period.

Symptom 5

Pain in your wrists – this could be due to holding your lower arms at the wrong angle to your keyboard, so try to ensure they are at about right angles to your body. Adjust your chair arms accordingly if you can.

Symptom 6

Pain in you calves and backs of your legs – this is likely due to sitting in one position for too long and so restricting the blood flow to your lower legs. Take a walk to the coffee machine or photocopier and stretch your legs this will get your circulation going properly. Also, make sure your feet are resting firmly on the floor or on a footrest.

Symptom 7

Sore or tired eyes – this is probably as a result of staring at your screen for too long. Try looking up periodically at an object at the other end of the office to give your eyes some movement. Also try rolling your eyes in a circular motion to the left and then the right.


As you will see from the symptoms checklist most of these problems are due to lack of movement, so try and become more aware of your habits and break things up every hour by stretching, exercising and taking a quick walk. You’ll find that office chair will become more comfortable as a result.

Alternative Office Seats For Back Problem Sufferers Part 4

The final part of this 4 part report on office chairs for back sufferers concludes with a look at the last type of seating – saddle seats and dynamic stools. Both of these office seats are radically different to the normal chair found in the office, let’s take a look at each now.

First the saddle seat, as the name implies the seat is shaped like a saddle and it is intended in many respects to emulate the position a horse rider adopts when on horseback.

A good example of this type of seat is the Humanscale Freedom Saddle Seat, the carefully sculpted seat pad makes it very easy for the user to adopt an open seating position which in turn promotes healthy seating.

You can find a detailed review of this seat at Humanscale Freedom Saddle Seat Review

The other alternative chair is the dynamic stool of which there are various models on the market, probably the best known and also highest quality is the Swopper stool. The seat is actually supported on a height adjustable spring loaded column.

As you sit on the stool the seat moves dynamically and you need to use your feet to stabilize your seating position, once you get the hang of it it’s not that difficult. Because you actively use your body to maintain your seating position it keeps your muscles active and healthy. For further information take a look at the review here Swopper Ergonomic Stool Review

Both of these alternative seats take some getting used to and it would be best to try one out first if you have back problems. If you think that you might find either of these seats to be what you are looking for, be sure to follow the links above for more complete details.

This concludes our 4 part report on alternative office seating for back sufferers. If you have the misfortune to suffer with your back hopefully you will find something in this series posts to help ease your problem.

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