As American workers volunteer for more and more overtime and get tasked with ever-greater amounts of paperwork and office time, it becomes rarer and rarer to get a chance to get off your butt and walk around the office. This has turned all-day sitting into a commonplace activity from the cubicle farms of the corporate high rises to the living rooms of remote-working medical coders and Web entrepreneurs. The downside: sitting for that long can really cause a lot of muscle pain if you don’t have the best chair for all-day sitting
But what is the best chair for sitting on your gluteus from dawn till dusk? It might appear obvious by looking around the country that finding a single chair that will fit everyone from the 4’11” tiny women to the 6’5″ obese men is an impossible task. Appearances, however, can be deceiving — the fact is that many office chairs offer such a wide range of adjustment options that they can fit almost anyone.
So if there are quite a few office chairs that can adjust to almost any body, what sets the great chairs apart from the less great ones? That, at least, is straightforward: a great office chair makes your back hurt less when you use it all day. Science has been seeking the anti-back-pain office chair for decades, however, and no optimal solution seems to have presented itself…or has it?
Introducing a New Science
We’ve long relied on ergonomics to tell us what our office chairs should be like — ergonomics being essentially ‘the science of how a workspace efficiently fits together.’ The problem is that ergonomics stops at ‘fitting together’; it treats a workplace like a puzzle. Once everything is where it’s supposed to be, ergonomics tells you to keep it there, locked in place.
The human body doesn’t work that way — we’re dynamic creatures, and our bodies aren’t made to sit still for hours on end. That’s why thus far our quest for a ‘best’ chair for all-day sitting hasn’t really come up with much: all-day sitting is simply contrary to our biology. But now, we have a new science to tackle the office-chair question with. It’s not a study of spatial relations, it’s a study of how the body moves. It’s called kinesiology.
What Does Kinesiology Tell Us About Office Chairs?
Fairly simply, kinesiologists tells us that the human body was made to move, and office chairs that lock you into a specific posture and position all day are going to cause us pain, no matter how ‘comfortable’ that single pose is. For an office chair to truly be the best chair for all-day sitting, it has to allow you sit without sacrificing your mobility.
This guide to the best chair for back pain discusses chairs that have all of the standard ergonomic controls and also offer a slick counterbalancing system that keeps the seat pan and seat back continuously in line with (and supporting) your butt and back, no matter how you move. Lean back, lean forward, reach for something on the floor or on the opposite end of your desk…whatever you do, these chairs have your back…literally.