Is Your Desk Chair Causing Office Chairitis?

You certainly won't find the condition office chairitis in any medical book. Nonetheless there are thousands of people suffering its effects every day without even realizing it. So what exactly is office chairitis and how do you know if it's affecting you?

Office chairitis is my way of describing the sorts of problems people put up with daily by spending long hours in poorly designed desk chairs.

What are the signs of office chairitis?
Here are some of the clues that your chair is the cause of of this condition.

Lower Back Pain From A Bad Chair

Do you find that after you've been working for an hour or so your shoulders and neck start to ache? And as the day wears on so does your pain.

Maybe for you it's more a case of lower back pain. The base of your back just aches and when you do eventually get up out of your chair you feel as stiff as a rusted hinge.

For others it shows up in the form of nagging discomfort in the undersides of your thighs. No amount of wriggling and moving about in your chair seems to help ease things.

And if you are really unfortunate you may even suffer from several of these problems at the same time.

So much for the problems, what is at the root of them?

What causes office chairitis?
Almost always the cause comes down to sitting in low quality seating.

 Worn Out Chairs Don't Support You

The reason your neck and shoulders are aching is because of the lack of a properly designed seat. Cheap chairs often place your body in a lousy posture and as a result your neck and shoulders end up being badly supported.

This inflicts undue stress on the muscles in your neck and shoulders and as they tire they start protesting in pain.

It can even be down to something like fixed arms on your chair. When they aren't at the right height your shoulders often get hunched up in the air forcing your upper body into an unnatural posture.

A similar problem arises with your lower back. For good back comfort it's necessary to maintain the natural curvature of your spine, known as lordosis.

When a chair lacks the correct support for your lower back what happens is you start to slump in your chair. Your lower back becomes rounded and what results is this all places a huge additional strain on your lumbar region. Bring on the pain says your brain.

And when pain in the undersides of your thighs is your problem, there's a good chance it's down to your chair too. One of the commonest causes of this is cheap chair foam. The quality of foam in office chairs varies enormously. In cheap chairs it's frequently little more than packaging foam. This type of foam isn't designed to take the constant pressure of your body sitting on it.

Typically after a few months of use this type of foam starts to deteriorate and no longer retains its shape. As it gradually breaks down it isn't long before it all goes flat. And that's when the underside of your legs start to ache from sitting too long on a hard flat surface.

Let's take a look at what you need to do to fix these issues.

How can you tackle it?
When you job involves sitting long hours in a desk chair, unless you want to be in constant pain you have to invest in a proper chair.

HÅG Futu Ergonomically Designed

A well designed chair takes care of all these problems because it's properly engineered to do the heavy lifting for you.

So it places your body in a good and well supported posture. This prevents the aches and pains so you can concentrate on doing your job properly.

Of course you are looking at a sizable investment around $500 or more. And before you protest that you couldn't spend this much on an office chair lets look at the cost over it's lifetime.

Chairs at this level are designed to last between 5 and 10 years. We know this because the makers guarantee them for these sorts of periods and in some cases even longer.

So let's be conservative and assume we will get 7 years use form our chair and run the math on it. Working on a 40 hour week and 48 working weeks a year for 7 years our $500 chair works out at an overall daily cost of just under 30 cents.

So the cure for office chairitis is only 30 cents a day. Unfortunately there is no payment plan for this, I just want you to know this is the barrier to having a proper chair that isn't going to screw up your back.

I was at a computer and electronics fair recently and there was a guy selling clones of the iPhone 4S for about 10% of retail. At first glance they appeared to be the same. However when you looked at the screen you realized that HD in this case stood for horrible definition, the resolution was like a sixties TV set.

Exactly the same thing happens in office chairs. There are loads of cheap copies out there, they may look great. However reality only hits home once you start to use them. Your eyes may be fooled, your muscles won't. You really do get what you pay for.

Summary
Here's a quick checklist of the points we've covered:

  • Office chairitis is caused by badly designed seating
  • Fixed arms can often lead to neck and shoulder pain
  • Chair backs lacking the right support cause lower back pain
  • Worn out seat foam leads to upper leg discomfort
  • The cost to cure office chairitis with a proper chair is under 30 cents a day

Further information
This short video explains what you need on an office chair to get proper comfort. And here's where you can find some great chairs built to support you for many years.

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