Rarely is there a solution so simple that can bring benefits so great and yet it’s either unknown or ignored in almost every office. A few moments reading this and acting on the tips can prevent weeks, or even months, of pain and discomfort.
According to the American Chiropractic Association an improperly adjusted chair can cause you a multitude of problems including lower-back pain, carpal-tunnel syndrome and even rotator cuff strain in your shoulder—and that just for a chair that’s too low. A chair that’s set too high can lead to Golfer’s Elbow, which is pain and inflammation on the inside part of the elbow.
Are you ready to adjust your chair—and then teach your co-workers? The first step is to get up on your feet and stand in front of your chair (with the chair facing you, see the illustration). Now, adjust the height so the highest point of the seat is just below your knee cap. With the chair seat at this height, your feet ought to be flat on the floor with your back upright. If everything is correct, your knees will be at a 90 degree angle
Once your chair is set to the optimum height you may notice that some other parts of your workstation are not ergonomic.
You should be able to easily fit your legs under the top of the desk and move them around comfortably. If you’re bumping the underside of the desk then your desk is probably too low for a proper fit for you. Have the desk raised with some type of risers or take the opportunity to find a new desk that that is the correct height.
It’s not uncommon to get the chair to the ideal height only to find you have to raise your arms to reach the keyboard. That means your work surface is too high and your arms will quickly tire. See if there is a way to lower the top of the desk or workstation. Some find it helpful to install a pull-out keyboard tray that swivels and/or tilts. If a keyboard tray is not in the plans you may adjust the chair height so your elbows are at the same level of your desktop. That may make your seat too high for your feet to comfortably reach the floor. If that’s the case use a footrest that allows your feet to sit flat on the footrest.
You can see more information for ergonomic workstation setup at Spine-Health.com.