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Chairs that Won't Wreck Your Back? 118

Posted by Cliff
from the or-your-wallet dept.
texatut asks: "I'm sure many of you are familiar with this secenario. You spend 10-12 hours a day in a crappy chair, and your back pays the price. I know there are chairs there that cost in excess of $1000 that alleviate the problem, but that's a lot of money to pay for a chair. I wanted to ask you all to give recommendations and opinions on chairs that are in a slightly lower price range, say, below $600. My back thanks you in advance."
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Chairs that Won't Wreck Your Back?

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  • Ahem, 10-12 hours? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Txiasaeia (581598) on Tuesday August 24, 2004 @09:33PM (#10063720)
    I know this isn't what you're looking for, but WonderChair or no, you *still* need to stand up every half-hour or so and walk around. If you're sitting in a chair for more than four hours at a time and your back hurts, well, it's not the chair's fault.

    Having said that, I'd get one with lower back support - makes it a lot easier to sit for a stretch and still be productive. Check out a few ergonomics diagrams available on the net and set up your work space accordingly - your entire body will thank you.

    • Try... (Score:4, Funny)

      by Jeremiah Cornelius (137) on Tuesday August 24, 2004 @10:35PM (#10064195) Homepage Journal
      One of these [libertyforum.org]!

    • I use a little tool on my gnome panel that reminds me to take a break from the keys every hour. When the time comes it covers up my screen with a 5 minute countdown timer, at which point I get up and go for a walk. Without it I always end up going way too long without taking a break.

      It's called Dr Wright, homepage is http://www.imendio.com/projects/drwright/

      There's a gentoo ebuild for it in the standard tree in gnome-extra.
    • by pbox (146337)
      All these ergonomics stuff is available in my IKEA chair. It is their higher end, cost me like $250. I have not had any backproblem since...

      Get the VERKSAM or NOMINELL models.
    • I like to use a basic wooden chair instead of some ultra-modern hyper-ergonomic shit. Why? Because that way that way there's only one way (or two) to sit in it comfortably. Everything else is painful. And it happens that the good way to sit in such a chair is usually good best for my back anyway.

      Another thing with not-overly-comfortable chair is that it's easier to remember to stand-up once in a while, and walk around and such. Moving around every once in a while is very good for your back.

      • Another thing with not-overly-comfortable chair is that it's easier to remember to stand-up once in a while, and walk around and such.

        Sounds like pissing in a wall socket because it feels so good when you stop[1] to me.

        Agreed on walking around once in a while though.

        [1] Jake Thomson, a.s.f.

  • many ppl slouch, pull in their shoulders and bring their faces closer to the screen when using a desktop computer so.. stop doing that (where applicable)
  • by Anonymous Coward
    This chair [officedepot.com] fro Office Depot.

    If you want one of those $1000 chairs for $600, I'd poke around on Ebay. They aren't that rare, although they were more common in the immediate post-boom period.
  • by antifoidulus (807088) on Tuesday August 24, 2004 @10:32PM (#10064176) Homepage Journal
    to get a girl to sit on your lap while you sit on a cheap chair. You won't even think about your back(or work)!
  • Herman Miller Aeron (Score:5, Informative)

    by wdr1 (31310) * <wdr1@pobox.TWAINcom minus author> on Tuesday August 24, 2004 @10:36PM (#10064204) Homepage Journal
    Get an Aeron [yahoo.com]. and you back will love you forever for it. You can get new ones for just over $600 and probably less if you can find one used (try craigslist).

    I have one at work and at home. They're terrific. Once you use them, you'll never want to go back.

    HTH,
    -Bill
    • Are there any cheap knock-offs of these chairs available?
      I'm completly against paying over $200 for a chair.
    • Aeron's rock, I bought one for use at home and have never regetted it.

      They are definatly not the cheapest option out there, but compared to the money most of us toss at computers every year or 2, it's very worth while. It's a very well constructed chair, and I expect mine to last over 10 years (only minor scuffing after 2 so far).

      $1,000-2,000 every 1-2 years for a new computer, compared to $600 ever 10 years for a spine saving chair. If you start looking at the numbers it gets a lot easier to push off an
    • by transiit (33489) on Wednesday August 25, 2004 @12:42AM (#10065033) Homepage Journal
      Or don't.

      I find them to be scratchy and horrible. Nothing special as far as ergonomics go. Remember, Herman Miller also gave us the cubicle. Way to go.

      At home, I've got a ~$100 chair picked up from the local office products store. Checked out all of them until I found one I liked.

      At work, I've got some ergonomic wonder, but my company is also just large enough to freak out if they think we'll have grounds for an RSI lawsuit, so they'll readily accomodate us if we start complaining.

      The best advice here is to take semi-regular breaks. Regular exercize probably wouldn't be the worst thing in the world, either.

      -transiit
      • I am a film editor who is also a rower with a pretty good back. My arms crumpled with RSI when I moved on to computer based editing. Thought it was the end for me. Have cured it with most of the advice mentioned by transiit. I use a good quality simple typist chair, no arms, a Wacom pad (NO mouse, took a while to learn) and a padded (helps circulation) arm support attached to the desk. Long hours with the weight of your arm supported by the shoulder joint and stressed out tight neck muscles is a bad combo.
    • Heard about the Aeron and the dot bomb growth of this eccentric chair, and as many people hate it as love it.

      I suggest buying a cheap chair, and snapping the back off.

      My office chair in my new job was IKEA shit, and since I daren't lean back on it, I tend to sit in the correct posture, slightly forward on my seat.
      Also I leave the feet on my keyboard (its feet, notmine) down, so my wrists stay straight. (8 hous a day with a 20 degree deflection in my wrist? (not jokes please) that would cut off all my nerv
      • The chair I use for preference is one of those weird-looking backless seats with a knee-pad. They don't look particularly comfortable, but they _force_ correct posture, and also make you get up every half-hour or so to get the pressure off your knees.

    • Concur. Once upon a time when I worked for the feds, the local shop had some end-of-year money it needed to spend. (You know the drill...if you don't spend it, you obviously over-budgeted, so you'll be cut next year.)

      They bought Aerons for a bunch of people. Nice chairs. I wish I had one now.

      That said, you still need to sit up straight, put the monitor in the right place, and raise or lower the desk to the right height for you and your keyboard.

      • That said, you still need to sit up straight, put the monitor in the right place, and raise or lower the desk to the right height for you and your keyboard

        That is just what I think whenever this kind of request comes up: What's your posture like? What kind of shape are you in?

        The only people I've known who had trouble with most office chairs were either very overweight or were improperly positioned: sitting wrong, monitor/keyboard at wrong height, that kind of thing.
        Also it helps to get up every 1/2 hou

        • For a while now, the SUSE manuals have included a section on ergonomics, presumably in response to requirements in their European market. People do need to pay more attention to this, as well as using simple commonsense. You can buy a comfortable chair for less than $600, and even the most expensive desk will give you a backache if your monitor isn't at the right height.

          As they say, this isn't rocket science. Sticking a book under a monitor is a lot cheaper than a new desk.
    • Herman Miller's Mirra chair is the Aeron's downscaled sibling. It's much cheaper, yet offers most of the same features. Some reviews even say it's on par with the Aeron [msn.com].
      • We just got two Mirra's about a month ago. Once you get them adjusted they are great!

        You should be able to get a Mirra for around $550 in standard colors. For custom color combinations expect to pay another $50 and wait 4-8 weeks.

        You should able to get a basic Aeron for around $650. Again additional stuff adds cost.

        One thing to realize is that a high quality chair will last a long time, unless you abuse it. Herman Miller chairs come with a 12 year warranty. When you divide the cost over the many years yo
  • Change often (Score:5, Informative)

    by hoggoth (414195) on Tuesday August 24, 2004 @10:38PM (#10064212) Journal
    Don't always sit on a chair.
    Sit on an excercise ball [fitter1.com] for a while.
    Sit on a kneeling chair [sitincomfort.com] for a while.
    Shift positions a lot.
    Get a headset [hellodirect.com] so you don't have to hold a phone to your head.

    Do back exercises every morning and every night. Sit ups, "superman"s (extensions).

    And of course, get up and walk around every hour.

    • Variety helps a lot, but I think that exercise is probably more important.

      Before I started weight training I had a sore back all the time, now it feels great regarless of how I sit...

      Also any extra weight you are carrying around can make a big difference in your back.
  • Personal Opinion (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 24, 2004 @10:39PM (#10064215)
    Dude,

    Get off your butt and go to a store and try sitting in some different chairs!

    There are hundreds of chair designs out there and I've sat in a variety of crappy chairs. If you want a good one, you are going to pay for it. The reason office chairs cost so much is because they are built to last a long time. We've got chairs that are over 20 years old from Steel Case. Generally, I am not pleased with the newer chairs and actually prefer the old ones. But they don't work for fat people because you can't sit down if you can't get your ass past the arm rests. Heck some fat folks ordered these chairs with arm rests the slide to the sides to accommodate their fat assess.

    Want to save money? Look for used office furniture shops, you could get a great chair for a whole lot less then what they cost new.
    • by bluGill (862)

      That isn't a good idea. He is looking for a chair to sit in for 12 hours a day, 5(7?) days a week. 10 seconds per chair isn't enough to know which will work. Indeed a chair that is uncomfortable for 10 seconds may come out best after 12 hours! (unlikely, but how do you know?)

      • Exactly.

        So, what he needs to do is hit the library first, then spend the next few weekends trying out chairs!

        "Umm, that creepy guy is back with his book and Mountain Dew. Should we call security? He was here from open to close last Saturday."
    • This fat folk takes the arms off the chairs.

      It's not cos my fat arse doesn't fit mind but cos arms dig in to your thighs (c'mon, men, you know how we sit) and they get stuck on the edge of the desk.

      Now, foot-rests, what the hell are they about? I mean, you end up rolling your chair back all the time, and that ain't useful.

  • Test them out (Score:3, Informative)

    by xanderwilson (662093) on Tuesday August 24, 2004 @10:42PM (#10064232) Homepage
    Get to OfficeMax or wherever and sit in the chairs. I know people who have loved those expensive Aeron chairs and people who have hated them and you won't know until you try. Check their website and find a dealer near you.

    Also pay attention to posture and computer/monitor/keyboard position, and take regular breaks (with and without stretching) from the chair.

    I walked into a Discovery Channel store not too long ago while traveling. They had a removeable lumbar support that you can attach to any chair. Didn't try it and YMMV, but it was about $60.

    Oh and you might be able to find a $1000 chair on Ebay or Craig's List, or a local used furniture place for $600 or less. Businesses that go belly-up can have many expensive chairs on the cheap.

    Alex.
    • Have you actually done this? The chairs at all these warehouse style office supply places (Office Max, Reliable, Staples, etc.) SUCK. They are all very cheaply made, use foam that compresses to paper thickness (too low density), have ZERO back support, etc. These stores don't even carry nice chairs as stock items. Some better models are availbale from the catalog, but most of those suck too.

      What you really need to do is go to a dedicated office furniture dealer where they carry quality stuff with good warr
      • Have you actually done this? The chairs at all these warehouse style office supply places (Office Max, Reliable, Staples, etc.) SUCK.

        Yup. That's why it's important to test them out. No matter how good and expensive they look in the catalog, there's no way of knowing their quality and how appropriate they are for an individual's situation until you test them out.

        I agree that a dedicated dealer of furniture and/or office furniture is a better bet. But at an Office Max type store you'll be able to figur
  • adjustable desk (Score:3, Interesting)

    by wiswaud (22478) <[ac.dww] [ta] [jse]> on Tuesday August 24, 2004 @10:44PM (#10064247) Homepage
    at work we have desks that are adjustable in height. if i find myself uncomfortable at some point in the day, i'll just lift the desk (we have spring-loaded and motorized versions, both almost effortless to operate) and work standing for a while.
    does wonders.
  • Get a Swiss Ball (Score:3, Interesting)

    by stinkyelf (558533) on Tuesday August 24, 2004 @10:53PM (#10064291) Homepage
    Your back will hurt a lot for the first 2 weeks as the muscles develop strength, persevere and take a break when it becomes too much. After a little while like this your back will be strong and posture good.

    The important thing with a swiss ball is the height of it, when you sit on it your knees should be slightly below your ass.

    Make sure you get a good strong ball, the cheap ones simply do NOT work.

    I have a mediball pro 65cm which is good for my height (186cm), and haven't had any complaints in the couple of years that I've been using it.
    • You are not the only one. The Belgian singer An Pierle always plays the piano while sitting on a Swiss ball.

      To go back on topic, here is a cheap alternative to expensive 'ergonomic' chairs: get an old chair and remove the back rest and the arm rests. Now your body will have to actually work to keep itself upright. I had a colleague who used to sit like that and he said that it helped alleviate his back problems.

      der Joachim

    • Or maybe a Swedish meatball?

      Sweden - hmmm... Hey, you don't work on that Nokia platform do ya' - whadda they call it, the Sybian?

  • a Ca$170 chair from Staples. Am very happy with it. improvements on the previous office chair were:
    -shorter seat. having 2" clearance behind my knees, instead of none, means i get up and wheel about more easily.
    -smaller wheelbase.
    -detachable and/or adjustable arms. not part of structure, and only a single post holding them up, so less to get in the way of cushions or jackets etc. wish they were padded though.
    -adjustable seat tilt
    -seperate adjustable back tilt.
    -both with an any-angle tilt-lock.
    -adjust
  • Just a simple tip.. (Score:4, Informative)

    by hookedup (630460) on Tuesday August 24, 2004 @10:54PM (#10064300)
    Take your wallet out of your back pocket when working. it makes quite the difference..
    • Two reasons to never put your wallet in your back pocket.

      #1. If you're an average office guy, and spend a decent part of the day in a chair, be it in a car, or in the office, that wallet is throwing off your center of balance while sitting. Keep it in your inside jacket pocket.
      #2. Roughly 95% of the worlds populace carries the wallet in the back pocket. Thieves know exactly where it is, and can snatch at will. Keep it in your inside jacket pocket.
    • Take your wallet out of your back pocket when working. it makes quite the difference.


      For years I've had the big George Castanza wallet, because I can't ever decide what I never want with me or what I occasionally want with me.

      I still have the wallet, but it no longer lives in my back-pocket. Universally, my back feels better from nat having that monster deforming my spine.

      Off load it to your backpack or laptop case or something.

  • by meanfriend (704312) on Tuesday August 24, 2004 @10:57PM (#10064318)
    ...there are chairs there that cost in excess of $1000 that alleviate the problem, but that's a lot of money to pay for a chair.

    But still a lot less than the price of wrecking your back in 5 years. Really, if you are sitting 10-12 hours a *day* in the same chair, then you are spending a tremendous amount of time in front of your computer and you better get the best ergonomics you can.

    Really, if you are willing to spend $600, then you are already considering some high end chairs. Find the one that feels the best and dont worry so much about the price (assuming it doesnt cost $10K or something crazy). They are built to last and will serve you well for years to come.

  • Non-office chair (Score:3, Interesting)

    by drivers (45076) on Tuesday August 24, 2004 @11:03PM (#10064354)
    I used to have back pain at work, and I got sick of fiddling with the settings of poorly made office chairs trying to get them to relieve my back pain. (Also, I asked for the same office chair I bought for myself at home, which was only $100, but my work was too cheap to buy it for me.) I started using what I would call a guest chair. Basically it is a solid chair: no wheels, no adjustments. Just a solid wooden frame with cloth coverings, a wide and deep (front to back) seat and armrests with a low back. I think the key here is solidity. It doesn't give way to weight or creak at all. You know how when you sit in a cheap office chair something gives way, and it creaks when you shift positions? Not in this chair. Since then, no back complaints. I think that in most chairs you tense various muscles to compensate for the lack of support. I suppose it depends on the exact chair, so at least try something beside "computer" chairs.
    • Sounds kind of like what I've got - except I've got the wheels and can lean back. I especially like the rigid back - it helps the back.

      The Bank I work at has about a half a dozen of them and a bunch of people "upgraded" a couple of years ago - I didn't. As a matter of fact, I was able to appropriate on for home.

      I did some looking on e-bay, and found that you could get this kind of chair for about $50 or so. It kind of has a 70's look, but what does you butt care?

  • From experience (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anna Merikin (529843) on Tuesday August 24, 2004 @11:05PM (#10064369) Journal
    I was born with a (minor) case of scoliosis, so my back is VERY sensitive. Here's what I found --

    1. Back problems (aches) due to fatigue are helped most by strengthening the abdominal muscles, which are what keeps the back aligned.

    2. A straight back chair is best, but only if you put your feet FLAT on the floor. Otherwise, they are a pain (literally.)

    3. Soft padding is a no-no. Maybe gel is good, I haven't tried it.

    4. The backrest and seat should be adjustable for angle and height/reach. Change positions often.

    5. I made my own perfect-for-me seat from a wrecked Thunderbird with the inflatable seatback option. I took the passenger seat (it was less worn) to a welding shop and had some straight pieces added for legs. It is adjustable, inflatable, durable, comfortable and cheap.

    6. But most of the time, I compute on a yoga mat on the floor with the keyboard in my lap. Half Lotus works for me.
    • I was born with a major case of scoliosis, and have had to have a pretty major operation to correct it. I agree with pretty much everything you say here.

      It seems to me, however, that there are a lot of common fallacies with regards to back pain. I know that for me, swimming, sleeping on a hard bed, those kneeling chairs, etc. are all TERRIBLE for my back, no matter how good they are for other people. In fact, after any of those activities, I can barely walk.

      With regards to chairs, I bought an Aeron a w
    • Very good advice!

      Remember that your back is yours, and what works for you may be very different from what works for others. Try the chair for at least an hour before you buy: A chair that is comfortable for 10 minutes may be sheer hell for a day.

      I also prefer a straight backed chair, however here in Norway I have a hard time finding a new office chair with a straight back. The chair I use at my office now is an old one that I found abandoned in the basement...
  • sitting on one cheap wooden folding chair since a decade or two, never got problems when sitting on that less than 20 hours in one session.

    of course thats because it is never comfortable enough to spend hours in the same position.

    when i am working on one of those fancy office chairs because of some contract work i'm in trouble faster than i can think.
  • A friend of mine had a chair that you sat with your butt on small part, then tucked your knees under and on a kneerest. It was supposed to be way better for his back.

    Of course, I couldn't relax much in it, and when I slouched it really made me tired, and after a while my knees hurt too.

    They are called "knee chairs" and links to manufacturers / resellers are here [vitalityweb.com] and here [pricegrabber.com].

    Of course, there's always the option of
    • mount monitor on one of those extension arms like the Dentist X-Ray tube, hooked to the ceil
  • a great chair (Score:3, Informative)

    by kevinbajan (656377) on Tuesday August 24, 2004 @11:26PM (#10064548) Homepage
    Try the Sum chair from All Steel Office http://www.allsteeloffice.com/sum/launch.html/ [allsteeloffice.com] (flash warning). I have one myself. Very comfortable and adjustable, and comes with a lifetime warranty to boot.
  • Steelcase Leap (Score:2, Informative)

    by SteveOU (541402)
    I've got a Steelcase Leap chair. First the office bought one for me, and then I would up buying one for home. Cost me $700, which may be more than you were looking to spend. Comes with a lifetime warranty on the mechanics (pneumatic cylinder, etc) and the cushions are user-replaceable.
    It is very adjustable...arm height, arm width, arm angle, chair height, seat depth, and seat edge. Plan on spending at least a week (took me 2) to get it set right for you. And then don't let other people muck with your settin
    • I spend a lot of time in a Steelcase Sensor (high-back with adjustable arms (try this link [steelcase.com])). It's fairly comfortable for my 6'2" frame.

      Although I would have probably gone with the Leap if I had the option three years ago.

    • Re:Steelcase Leap (Score:2, Interesting)

      by silvwolf (103567)
      I'll second this. Some of the newer areas at work have these in all the cubes. I love going to those places to work on the workstations! Even though the chairs aren't adjusted for me, they're still way more comfortable than any other chair I've tried.

      My current chair at home is falling apart so I started looking around for a good deal on a Leap. I've quickly looked at some of the local retailers listed on Steelcase's site, but couldn't find any prices on them. No real discounts found on Froogle either
  • It's not a bean bag chair [lovesac.com], but it's kinda similar. I enjoy the 6 foot diameter sack covered in polar bear fur. The three babes [lovesac.com] are optional but recommended. I could only afford one. I would have had a picture of me to post ala a 'Baby on a bearskin rug', but my camera is broken. My gf's camera is the old school variety and we weren't sure if the lab would develop a picture with a man's buttocks in it.
  • they sell the aeron and the mirra both chairs are like the epitome of comfortable chairs and instead of buying another iPod, i'm considering purchasing the Mirra. VERY comfortable, I've worked in Aeron chairs too... they really rock :)
  • justify the cost (Score:3, Interesting)

    by austad (22163) on Wednesday August 25, 2004 @12:12AM (#10064850) Homepage
    Really, if you think about it, you probably only spend one or two hours a day in your car, but you probably paid an obscene amount of money for it. Spending $1000 on something you spend half your life sitting in seems cheap to me.

    In any case, I was going to pick up an Aeron, but I came across a Herman Miller Ergon made in 1975 for $40. It's pimpin' 70's orange, and it's super comfy. I've heard that they have lifetime warranties and will actually send someone out to fix it if it breaks, but I haven't had to use that yet.

    Recently I've been seeing some Aeron knockoffs. I'm not sure who makes them, but they seem fairly good. Not nearly as well built, but the one or two hours I sat in one, it was decent. All of the chairs they sell at Office Max/etc are crap. Don't waste your money.

    I'm still probably going to buy an Aeron. The mesh on them is great for keeping you cool if your office/room is warm. Plus, no one can do that Tabasco trick on you if you have the mesh (where you put tabasco on their chair, and it wicks up when their ass sweats and gives them an ass rash).

    • Plus, no one can do that Tabasco trick on you if you have the mesh (where you put tabasco on their chair, and it wicks up when their ass sweats and gives them an ass rash).

      I...am utterly speachless. What have people done to you?

    • Re:justify the cost (Score:3, Informative)

      by Parsec (1702)
      I've tried the Aeron and found the front edge of the seat (the hard plastic surround) pushed into the back of my leg too much to be comfortable. Find somewhere to try this chair out, it might not be for everyone. (Of course it is possible I just didn't fiddle with the settings long enough.)
      • In my experience (I have an Aeron at home) this is because the front stop is in place. Always allow the chair to tilt forward and you won't have this problem.
      • I've heard this complaint from a lot of people, so it must happen. Doesn't bother me, but I'm the "skinny geek" variety, so I doubt I push the mesh far enough down to have the issue. As always, ergonomics are different for everybody. The Aeron was the best money I've spent on furniture-- no more back issues.
  • If you find you forget to get up and move around every hour then try drinking plenty of water. Your bladder will remind you to get up!

    Of course the rule of "all things in moderation" applies. Don't overdo it as you'll make yourself ill by overdiluting your internal electrolytes (oversimplification) but a couple of litres a day shouldn't hurt.
  • after the work, or during the break. much better effect for your back and overall health than an overpriced chair.
  • To the people saying it should be worth spending thousands of bucks to save your back. Why should you have to spend thousands to do so?

    Why are so many chairs crappy? Why are so few people making decent chairs for decent prices? Just sit in some chairs for a few minutes and it's obvious they are crap.

    I thought the US folk have lawsuit happy people?

    Strange.

    Given the amounts some of you are willing to spend why don't you buy a TFT screen, suspend it from the ceiling, and then work lying down flat on your b
    • To the people saying it should be worth spending thousands of bucks to save your back. Why should you have to spend thousands to do so?

      Well, it's not "thousands", but it is around a thousand. because that's what good quality chairs cost.

      Why are so many chairs crappy?

      Because people are cheap and buy cheap chairs because they are cheap. Quality takes a back seat to price (pardon the pun.)

      Why are so few people making decent chairs for decent prices?

      Because good quality costs more. Sure, you can buy c
      • My point is: given the same materials why can't they make chairs with the right shapes? I'm not even talking about durability - just after a few minutes of sitting (or even a few seconds) you know it's a crap chair.

        Believe me, I've tried some chairs and after a certain point, the grade and thickness of the plastic or steel used only affects how long it lasts (and how heavy it is), not how comfortable it is.

        I've seen chairs that are about USD60-80, and if they would just change the shapes (same material) t
  • Regardless of what chair I'm using, I've noticed that I tend to subconsciously curl up into a fetal position whenever my mind is focused on something. This probably can't be good for my back. Does anyone else have this problem, or know of an effective way to stop it?
    • I'd recommend that you just take a break now and then, uncurl whenever you notice you're doing it, and make an effort to curl in slighty different ways each time you curl. Curl to the left one time, and the right next time. As long as you don't stay scrunched up for a long time, I'd say that the frequent movement will do you good. I do this occasionally as well, but not often enough for me to worry about it.
  • The Le Corbusier lounge chair [arno.org]
    It takes a bit of getting used to having your keyboard in your lap and the screen on a stool next to you, but it sure is perfect for the back. I have worked 30 hour stretches on this one and gotten up without a twinge in the back. The neck can get a bit stiff, if you don't move your head much during work, but that's a small price to pay, I think.

    And then there's saddle chairs, of course, whch will strengthen your lower back while you work, but I'm too lazy to get past the fo

  • but I have used a chair from IKEA for $99 ( http://www.ikea-usa.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet /ProductDisplay?catalogId=10101&storeId=12&product Id=11055&langId=-1&parentCats=10114*10292 [ikea-usa.com]) that I haved used for years a home.

    Even when I was Programming 21 hours per day for three weeks (was working on a project with very limited time) I didn't have ANY problem with my back.
    And I have had very much problems with my back over the years, but it loves that kind of chair.

    I know it's not that
    • Too bad my girlfriend decided to jump in to my lap when I was sitting in the chair and that trashed it. So now I have to buy I new one. I had the keyborad in my lap and a snap-on mouse board for the mouse.

      Ouch, that must have hurt your girlfriend! ^^

    • Yeah, I've had a chair for consol gaming downstairs and pulling it up to the tv when and such. It's a great chair, though not very durable and doesnt look like it'll take over 300 pounds for very long, which can be why your gf leaping onto your lap would probably crack it or something. But for just one person it's a pretty good chair, I just think it's too low for my computer desk and couldn't game in it at all (but would be finr for keyboarding it up)
  • I have a cheap $30 chair I bought at one of those office liquidation (or whatever) places. Was a nice chair, for the price. Unfortunatly, the arms were just a bit too high to fit more than a bit under the desk. Eventually I decided to just take the arms off in order to get that extra inch closer to everything (I'm the type who uses every corner of the desk and needs to be able to reach it all without moving)
    Of course, within the month the back had fallen off. It wasnt designed for use without arms. I figure
  • by jotaeleemeese (303437) on Wednesday August 25, 2004 @06:27AM (#10066365) Homepage Journal
    .... if you do nothing to take care of your back.

    -Do some pilates or yoga. I know, rubish new ageism, but try to do a couple of exercises for begineers and then tell me if youa re on shape or not.

    -Exercise. Any exercise will do.

    -Don't sit that many hours in front of a computer. Takes brakes often and regularly.

    Ultimately any chair that is adjustable will work, even cheap crappy ones.
    • Do some pilates or yoga.

      The place I worked before my current employer had Aeron chairs. My back would occasionally get sore, but nothing horrible. My current job has generic office chairs that are in bad shape. After about a month, I was seeing a massage therapist every other week.

      That's a bit expensive, so I decided to make some changes. I found the best chair I could at the office, which helped a little. I also started doing yoga. This helped a great deal.

      Some exercises that really helped my

      • The benefit of the chakra and naga are that they take the pressure off the area of the spine that most people keep constant pressure on (which is not good).

        When you're doing the above, you put the pressure on the bones of the spine, relieving the disks. This is the opposite of how most people's posture holds them. Especially when sitting infront of a computer all day.
  • I recently had a real bad experience trying to buy an office chair online. It turned out I had bought from a Yahoo merchant that was only an order taking service. They charged my card as soon as the order was taken and then, first they said it would be backordered 6 weeks and then they tried to get me to accept some other chair. Finally, only after about 8 weeks and tracking down the actual owners of the company and having a lawyer write them a letter did they refund my money. This particular outfit goe
  • I am quite happy with my Håg Capisco chair with a "saddle seat" - it automatically makes you adjust your position every now and then. You can get versions with an extra tall lift suitable for use with an elevated desk. You can get different casters depending on the floor type.
  • by ivan256 (17499) * on Wednesday August 25, 2004 @11:33AM (#10069401)
    While I love my Aeron, it's not the secret to eliminating back pain. If your back muscles are weak, sitting up for 12+ hours will hurt in any chair that doesn't fasten around the torso and hold your spine straight for you.

    Do some excercises. If you have to spend most of your day sitting, you can reduce the time you spend on it by slowly adding weight. The things you should be doing are sit-ups (with a weight held cross armed on your chest if you only want to do 25 reps instead of 100), deadlifts (get a weight for each hand, or a bar, bend your knees only slightly and then bend at your lower back lifting with your lower back muscles. Keep your upper back straight or you'll hurt yourself), and some upper back work depending on equipment availablity. If you have access to some gym equipment, do some pulldowns with a bar that lets your hands face inward. If you don't, get some dumbells, lie on your chest, and with your arms out lift them 3 or four inches off the floor and hold them up for a few seconds. When you're not really weak anymore you can try some pullups. If you're to the point where you have upper back pain from sitting, and there's nothing physically injured about your back though, it'll probably be a while before you can do even one pull-up.

    Spend 10-15 minutes a day staying in shape a bit and you won't have any back pain. (Except for the first few days after you start... You'll hurt like you've never hurt before those first few days...)
  • If you really can't afford a new chair, then one thing you could try is buying a backrest that straps-on to your current chair. Staples Canada sells the Obus Forme [obusforme.com] backrests at around CA$60.00 (About US$45.00).

    The small pad in the middle is attached by velcro, and is completly adjustable/removable. I haven't really found any problems with this thing so far, so I think it might be a good alterantive to your problem.
  • by Webmoth (75878) on Thursday August 26, 2004 @01:27AM (#10075897) Homepage
    In addition to the chair, consider the rest of your workspace.

    Get a screen that's large and bright enough so you can see it when sitting in the proper position in your chair. A $1000 chair isn't going to do any good if you have to lean forward all day just to see your monitor.

    Consider moving your keyboard and mouse off of your desk onto a keyboard tray. When sitting in the proper position with proper posture in your chair, your forearms should be level or pointing ever-so-slightly downward.

    Learn to use your keyboard. Don't rest your wrists on the desk or one of those wrist wrests (unless it's really, really thick); this causes your wrists to bend backwards, pinching and fatiguing the nerves therein. Likewise, avoid bending your wrists down or to the side. Hang your arms down at your sides totally relaxed, ape-like. Look at your hand position relative to your forearm: this is the ideal position.

    Adjust your chair's armrests to support your forearms above your keyboard, so your back muscles are relaxed. A wireless, ergonomic keyboard placed in your lap with properly adjusted armrests can be very comfortable for long sessions, though you might need a bean bag to get it at the proper angle and elevation.

    Learn to use keyboard shortcuts and menu hotkeys. (Microsoft Word be used mouselessly to a large degree; WP can be used entirely with the keyboard.) When you are always taking your hand away from your keyboard to use the mouse, you add stress to your arms and back and lose productivity. If you can find a wireless keyboard with a built-in trackball, touch pad, or trackpoint, so much the better. Look for one where you don't have to remove your hand from the home position to operate it.

    Make sure your lighting is such that it doesn't glare in your eyes or on the screen.

    Move your mouse to the opposite hand you write with. This will increase your productivity because you won't have to set down your pen to scroll; you'll be able to write as you are scrolling. It'll seem awkward at first, but with practice it will begin to feel more natural.

    Have you considered a barkolounger and a flat panel on an arm?

    Do situps. Seriously. The abdominal muscles help support your back. My brother started doing situps every day and now rarely has back problems. He's not an office worker; he's a farmer and a forester.

    Look around frequently. Stretch. Throw things at your cubiclemate.

    Lastly, I am not an ergonomist and your mileage may vary.
  • Get the right kind of cushions for your specific back problem, e.g.:

    Like this Donut [goodspharmacy.com]

    'course it might be a bit embarassing to sit on a donut all day, but if it helps...

  • I slipped a disk last year, and was out of work (lying on the ground!) for a total of 5 months in two stretches. What's helped me is a combination of Yoga and a kneeling chair. The chair cost about 75, and I can sit on it nearly all day without back pain. Give me an hour and a half in a normal office chair and I start getting twinges. I am a complete convert.
  • 1. get one of those foot rest things that lets you support your feet in a variety of different angles. I found that they made quite a difference to my posture (in an aeron, which I generally like)

    2. Take up some form of exercise that strengthens your back. I had a pretty weak back after tearing a load of muscles up one side playing field hockey 6 years ago. After I started using the rowing machine (ergometer) at the gym, I found my comfort in front of a machine improved a great deal. It's worth asking the
  • Have a look at the Stokke web site (one of the European versions) [stokke-furniture.no] for a kneel chair.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    The Swopper (http://www.aeris.de/lang/en/ [aeris.de]) is designed to be like an exercise ball that previous posters have mentioned, but you can also rotate it. Again, may hurt the first few days, but once you develop the proper strength, it will keep you strong. Not sure how much these cost.
  • by nstrom (152310)
    My Allak [ikea.com.au] chair from Ikea is pretty comfy, and only cost $89.

    I can't seem to find it on the Ikea USA website, so it could be that it was cheap because it's a model that's being retired. Bought it 2 weeks ago at the brand new Ikea in CT.
  • Try a Swopper [relaxtheback.com] from Relax The Back.

    I found that with my desk an exercise ball as mentioned above was too short, which just caused new problems. The Swopper is height adjustable just like most other office chairs, and you can also adjust the tension and sway in the spring.

    I'm recovering from back problems that arose from sitting in a broken chair for a year at work on a cement floor where the heat didn't work and we had a tin roof (ie freezing in winter, boiling in summer). Oregon's unemployment rates w
  • In Finland the saddle chairs [mindcom.fi] are quite a success.

  • Take the occasional horizontal nap as a refresher. That's where you're a Viking!
  • If you are at all inclined to do it yourself, check out high end auto wrecking yards for a RECARO car seat. They are very pricey options on several German makes, standard on a few marques that are priced in the over $100,000 range, and are not at all rarely prescribed medicaly [deductable] and thus could be in almost any car. Mounted on your choice of a base and you have a $3000-5000 chair for 10% of new. Google on RECARO for details--then start shopping for wrecks.

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