Perhaps your back/shoulders/neck started to hurt and then you decided you need to change your regular office chair for something more suitable for your daily work in front of computer – ergonomic chair.
You started browsing the WWW, looking for the best ergonomic office chair and maybe even picked the model you liked the most (obviously after reading all other people’s experiences).
And now you are facing the dilemma – to be or not be?! Or, to paraphrase, to buy or not to buy?
In order to ease off your struggles and help you make the right decision, I decided to assemble this list of mistakes you need to avoid, so to be satisfied with your investment.
Ready to go over this checklist?
Let’s do it!
1. Assembly. Rarely does an ergonomic back chair arrives ready for use. You would be expected to go over the hurdles of assembling the device yourself and, let me assure you, sometimes it gets even trickier than putting together IKEA’s RIKTIG ÖGLA. 🙂
Make sure you know what you are doing and ask the delivery guys for help, if necessary. Otherwise you are risking to spend more time building the stool and, if you think of it, injuring your back! A bit of sarcasm is never bad… 😉
2. Try before you buy. This is tricky, especially in the era of online age, but, whenever possible, you just need to try the chair you are about to buy.
This is done for two reasons.
First, you need to know whether this type of ergonomic chair will actually fit you. Things like back height, armrest and headrest, all, come under scrutiny here. If you are unsure or “it doesn’t feel right, but should be ok” – try another one. It means that this one is not for you.
Second reason for trying it out before the purchase is making sure it doesn’t have any defects. See if all the features are functioning well and there is no squeaking, shaking or anything else of that nature. There was a guy with that chair, which made a…hm…very natural noise, when he sat down on it. Well, maybe it was his digestion, but remember to check all those ‘moving parts’ and the levers, where applicable. 🙂
3. Physical characteristics. Have you checked its weight? Does it have wheels? What’s the material? All these will have a direct effect on how YOU feel, while working on it. We haven’t even touched ergonomics yet!
For example, if it’s very heavy, you won’t find yourself carrying it around the house all the time. This is especially true, if it doesn’t have the wheels.
Next is the material. Is it leather with added polyurethane or a cool breathable mesh fabric?
If you are living in warm and humid climate, you shouldn’t be getting the first option – you will end up with your back constantly sweating. Not very nice feeling.
This is why it’s important you also consider these points – not just the ergonomics.
4. Know your body. This bit is really important. Many people start considering buying ergonomic chairs, because they start experiencing some sort of pain – back, neck, shoulders…the list goes on.
The theory they have behind is that ergonomic chair should help them to resolve these issues.
Unfortunately this is not true in many cases, since the nature of pain can be different to what people expect. After getting cool chairs they often find their symptoms aggravated further and that’s not good.
This is why I insist you find a proper chiropractor/physiotherapist in order to, first, get the diagnoses and, second, consult them whether ergonomic chair will help you feel better. The last thing you want to do is pay $666 to feel even more pain after. Please, please, please – consult with these guys first.
5. Don’t expect a miracle. Coming out from the point above, this one is intended to ‘bring you down’.
Ergonomic chair will NOT fix your back pain, nor will it fix any other pain you have. It is still just a chair after all. It’s made for sitting and sitting sucks – we were never created for sitting like we do these days. Ergonomic furniture does just that – reduces the symptoms and helps to maintain a better posture. Period.
How to fix your back, shoulders and neck? You will need to move and do certain exercises, this is why, once again, I insist you consult with the physio or any other spinal health doctor.
6. Don’t be greedy. This doesn’t apply to you – it applies to the greedy ones (you know who you are). As you know, there is a saying – cheapest is the dearest. My mom often says that “we are not rich enough to buy cheap things” and I agree with her on many occasions.
Below certain price level you just can not expect anything decent – quality will suffer.
Of course, there are exceptions, but do you want to be the one trying to fit some weird screws into some weird holes and then return the chair with the help of 5-star Amazon customer service?
The morale is – don’t be greedy, pay a bit more for something really good and you won’t regret it.
Now that you know what to avoid, let’s choose an ergonomic chair for you!
Perhaps I got a bit philosophical here, but I really want you to avoid these 6 mistakes, when buying the best ergonomic chair for yourself (or your loved one).
Have you any other mistakes you want people to avoid? Leave them in the comments below!
image via Flickr: valeriebb
Melanie's passion lies in human biomechanics, movement and well-being. She strives to help people sit better and that is why she is the main editor at MyErgonomicChair.com.