7 Top Tips for sitting on an office Chair!!

Considering the majority of our patients are stuck at a desk for most of the week, we thought it a great idea to share this article from Alison Biggs, Director and Occupational Therapist at Healthywork!!! 

7 Top Tips for sitting on an office Chair!!

1.Get to know all of the levers/knobs on the chair by trying them out. All chairs usually have a lever which allows you to unlock the chair and gain some movement whilst sitting, which can ease discomfort and stiffness. Some will move the seat pad and back rest together, others may move the chair parts separately. You can then usually leave the chair unlocked whilst you are sitting on it to allow variety, as you wish. If you experience back pain or hip pain, having a chair with ‘open’ angles, eg back rest movement and forward seat tilt), can help.

2. Some chairs have a seat slide adjustment, so try to have the seat as long as possible, but still a few fingers clearance behind the knee, as this will provide suitable sitting support.

3. Some chairs will have a tension wheel – this can be a lever or may be a nondescript large knob/lever under the seat of the chair and it may have a + and – marked on it. This is a tensioner and should be adjusted to make the chair movement more comfortable (looser or tighter movement).

4. Some chairs have arm rests, ideally they should be height adjustable so you can position then to support your forearms during breaks from desk tasks. Ideally they should be close enough to your build to be useful for resting your arms during breaks. Check if the arm rests can be moved in or out from the seat pad, or also if the arm rest tops can be rotated inwards or moved forwards and backwards. Arm rests can help to provide forearm support during breaks and if you have neck or shoulder pain, as they can support the weight of your arms comfortably if they are positioned suitably.

5. When sitting at the desk, raise the chair gas stem (seat height) so that your forearms are horizontal with the middle row of keys, then if you can’t touch the floor, you will need a footrest (fixed height desks in the UK are most often around 72cm high). Usually this may mean that the chair arm rests will be horizontal with the edge of the keyboard, so they may go over the desk or be level with the desk. Most chair arm rests don’t restrict any access to the desk, as you can move items closer to you rather than having to move yourself under the desk. Check if your chair gas stem can go high enough for you.

6. The back rest usually will have some lumbar support, which can be height adjustable. This may be the ability to raise the whole back rest on a series of notches (ratchet style adjustment). Try lifting the back rest, allowing it to drop to the bottom of the ratchet, and then slowly raise it by one notch at a time and see if it can achieve lumbar support at the right height for you. Some chairs will have an air pump option, so that you can inflate the lumbar support, if needed. Others will have other lumbar adjustment methods. If you are considering adding a cushion to the chair, such as a small lumbar ‘D’ Roll, be aware that you may not require too much lumbar support cushioning, as this could lead to the rest of the back not being in contact with the chair back rest and you could reduce the seat depth as a result, which would not be ideal.

7. If your chair does not seem to suit you or your needs or you cannot achieve some of the above suggestions, you may need further assessment – a workstation DSE Risk Assessment (prevention) or an Ergonomic Assessment may be required.

If this has sparked your interest and you would like to find out more (or would like your boss to find out more!), please look at the Healthywork webpage or contact Alison Biggs on: 07958 502363.


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Providing High Quality Chiropractic in North London Since 2004

We are friendly Chiropractors in North London, NW3. Ideally situated close to central London, we have parking space and are just a few minutes' walk from Finchley Road tube station and Finchley Road and Frognal overground, linking us to Canary Wharf and the City.

Our chiropractic patients are typically from the North West London area but also travel from far afield due to our good results, appointments that aren't rushed and our attention to our patients.