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Alternative office seats for back problem sufferers

If you just can’t get comfortable in a conventional office chair you may benefit from an alternative type of office seat.

The problem with a lot of office chairs is that they allow you to sit with a very poor posture for long periods of time.

The reason for this is that these chairs don’t stop the user from sitting slumped forward in a closed seating position without realising it. By a closed position I mean that your body is slouched forwards and the angle between your body and legs is less than 90°.
Sitting like this in an office chair is bad news for your back and obviously you, too. As well as back problems it is likely that you will find your legs tire easily and ache.

You’ll also find that as your blood circulation is constricted by this poor posture it will likely affect your concentration and alertness.

If this sounds like you, then it may well be time to look at a new approach to your office seating arrangements.

One alternative that is well worth considering is an ergonomic Kneeling Chair. These types of alternative office seating first appeared in the 1970s and one of the earliest was the HÃ…G Balans.
The good news is that the Balans Kneeling Chair is still going strong and has undergone some major improvements since it first appeared. The original Balans was based on a rocking chair type frame to encourage a dynamic seating position and avoid static seating and is actually still produced in Europe by Stokke.

HÃ…G of Norway have chosen to develop a more office orientated version.
HAG Balans Kneeling Chair
Movement and variation in your seating position is good and a Kneeling Seat like the Balans actively encourages this.

A Kneeling Chair allows the sitter to easily adopt a healthy seating position, encouraging as it does the natural curvature, or lordosis of your spine to be maintained. As your legs are pointing downwards, you are sitting in an open seating position which is much healthier and encourages good circulation as well as relieving pressure on your lower back.

In my next post I’ll look into these alternative office chairs in more detail.

Alternative Office Chairs for Back & RSI Sufferers

Nowadays, there are many different types of office seating to choose from besides the conventional 5 star base swivel chair.

This widening range of seat choice has frequently been driven by the needs of those who have back and RSI related problems. Such users often discover that they just  can’t find a conventional Office Chair that they can be comfortable in.

So, what sort of alternative seats can the office user choose from these days? One of the most popular choices for back and repetitive strain injury sufferers is the kneeling chair. This can be a really effective alternative to a conventional Office Chair as it forces the user to maintain a fairly healthy posture and makes it difficult for them to adopt a poor posture.

The reason for this is that the user kneels onto forward mounted padded knee rests and their bottom really only rests on the rear mounted seat pad. This has the effect of placing the person’s body weight forwards which encourages the natural curvature of the spine, known as the lordosis to be maintained.

Some people find sitting in a kneeling chair difficult for long periods of time and so choose to alternate between their knee seat and their normal Office Chair. For others this isn’t a problem.

In my next post I will take a look at some of the other types of alternative seating including ergonomic stools, ball chairs and sit/stand chairs.

Should I Choose a Mesh Office Chair?

Following the phenomenal success of the Aeron Mesh Office Chair and its pioneering mesh upholstery there is now a wide choice of Mesh Office Chairs on the market. Some are excellent quality and others are just poor imitations and should be avoided.

So, what are the advantages of a Mesh Office Chair compared with a conventional Office Chair? There are several benefits to a Mesh Office Chair.

Probably its biggest advantage is in allowing air circulation around the user’s body when in contact with the chair, having said that with the ever increasing popularity and prevalence of air conditioning in offices today this may be a little overstated.

The other claim for Mesh Office Chairs is their comfort qualities as the mesh moulds to the user’s body shape and weight. However, an upholstered Office Chair, if properly designed will be no less comfortable than a Mesh Office Chair.

Lastly, a Mesh Office Chair can look very modern and stylish, so if image is important then this is definitely a reason for considering a Mesh Office Chair.

A lot of Mesh Office Chairs just come with a mesh back and have a more traditionally upholstered seat pad. For a lot of users this may be their favoured choice.

So, if you feel that you might like a Mesh Office Chair I would suggest you try out some different models at your local office furniture showroom. See if you can borrow a demonstration Mesh Office Chair for a few days to make completely sure that you are happy with it.

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