Although sitting for long periods of time in an office chair that is too low can cause a person all kinds of physical aches and pains, many people do not take the time to properly adjust their chairs. Perhaps these people are unaware of how quick and easy it is to raise an office chair to the appropriate height.
Decide on the optimal height for your office chair. Ideally, your feet should be able to rest comfortably on the floor, your thighs should be horizontal, and the angle between your thighs and calves should be about 90 degrees. Consider your work space. If your desk or keyboard requires you to sit higher, it might be better to raise your office chair and use a foot rest.
Determine what kind of office chair you have. Most of the newer office chairs have a pneumatic lever on one side of the chair underneath the seat that is used for adjustments. Older chairs do not have this lever and instead require you to manually rotate the seat clockwise or counter-clockwise in order to adjust the height.
Raise the seat. If your office chair has a lever, adjust the chair from a seated position by simply pulling on the lever and allowing the chair to lift. If your chair is an older model, simply stand in front of the chair and turn the seat either clockwise or counter-clockwise until the chair is at your desired level.
Sitting for long periods of time in an ill-fitting office chair can cause chronic aches and pains.
James Lacy, MLS, is a fact checker and researcher. James received a Master of Library Science degree from Dominican University.
Stuart Hershman, MD, is a board-certified spine surgeon. He specializes in spinal deformity and complex spinal reconstruction.
Although the office chair industry is a booming one, few people stop to learn what they need to know about fitting their seating equipment to their height, frame, or any condition they may have such as back or hip pain. Instead, most ergonomic chair customers base their purchase decisions on color, style, and price.
Here are some tips to adjust your office chair so that it decreases your back and hip pain.
Use Your Chair's Height Adjustment
Rare is the office worker who is interested in tinkering with the controls located at the bottom of the chair seat, but the levers, paddles, and knobs are there for a reason. If nothing else, learning how to adjust the height of your chair may provide a reference for any other workstation adjustment you may need to make.
The height adjustment is the primary way you have to change the angle of your hip joint during sitting. This angle, in turn, affects the position of your pelvis and degree of curve in your lower back, possibly altering the normal alignment of your spine. And the height of your chair also affects certain muscles (quadriceps, psoas, and hamstrings) that play an important role in posture-related back pain.
It's Much More Than the Chair Back Angle
Just think, the angle of your hip joint is something you can control by simply adjusting your chair height. The hip angle is how close (lots of hip flexion) or how far away (less hip flexion) your trunk is to the top of your thigh when you’re sitting in your chair. When you adjust your height, you adjust the degree of flexion at your hip joint.
A recent study measured the load that sitting has on simulated spinal discs. Researchers concluded that pressure on the spine can be relieved with a more open angle between the trunk and the thigh, that is, the hip joint angle.
Of course, the backrest, seat tilt, and lumbar support features of your chair can help support a pain-free back, and they should be used. But to set yourself up with ideal alignment from the beginning, nothing beats getting the correct seat height for your frame.
Getting Your Seat to the Right Height
Another way to understand your hip joint angle is to compare the height of your knees to the height of your hips. This is usually the easiest way to assess if the chair height is right while you are in the process of adjusting it.
When your chair seat is the right height, your feet will be flat on the floor. Your feet should reach the floor without causing pressure at the back of your thighs. If you’ve got a case of dangling feet (which may be due to your own height), place a footrest or thick book under them.
Your knees should be approximately level with, or lower than, your hips. Level, in this case, corresponds to a 90-degree angle between the hip and trunk, which is relatively stress-free on the hips and back.
Risks When Your Chair Is Too High
If you can’t reach your feet to the floor, your chair is probably too high. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) says this is potentially hazardous because it may lead to your scooting forward and thereby foregoing the support of the backrest. Sitting this way would be considered an awkward posture and a risk factor for work-related musculoskeletal disorders (MSD). Symptoms of an MSD due to awkward sitting posture may include muscle fatigue, swelling, pain, numbness, or decreased circulation.
Risks When Your Chair Is Too Low
If your knees are higher than your hips, your chair is probably too low. In this case, your hip joints will have an extreme degree of flexion. Most people’s backs can’t handle this well because their hip muscles aren’t flexible enough. If you sit with your knees higher than your hips, your position may be responsible for your low back pain.
Your sitting posture has a significant effect on your health, so it pays to invest in a chair which will give correct support while being comfortable.
The seat should match and support your entire body. Follow these steps to find the maximum health benefits from your office chair.
These steps will improve your posture and prevent lower back pain resulting in the perfect posture.
1. Adjust the chair height
The lever for this is usually on the right with up and down arrows. Set the chair height so that the underside of your elbows are at desk height. If you are using an adjustable standing desk, set the chair to the most comfortable height then adjust the desk to elbow height.
2. Ensure your feet are firmly on the floor
Sit well back into the seat & check your feet are firmly on the floor. The Appropriate foot support is essential for low back comfort and maintaining a good posture. If your feet aren’t firmly flat on the floor, a footrest will be needed to improve your posture.
A footrest will help in attaining the right foot elevation, leg and knee position.
3. Adjust the Chair angle
An ergonomic office chair allows the seat to be adjusted horizontally or slightly angled. Usually, the lever for this is on the right toward the back.
Sitting with the seat horizontal or sloping backward provides a comfortable, relaxing sitting position while maintaining good posture. It can nevertheless tilt you slightly away from your desk. Sitting on a slight angle in a forward position toward the desk relieves pressure under the thighs, provides a more open hip angle and improves the back posture.
4. Adjust the backrest angle
The lever for adjusting the backrest angle is usually on the right, showing backward and forwards arrows. When working in an ergonomic workstation a fairly upright sitting posture is best. When talking, at meetings or reading off the screen reclining the backrest is relaxing and provides a nice change for the back.
5. Adjust the backrest height
A comfortable computer chair has a well-shaped backrest cushioning. The most protruding part of this cushioning should fit into the low back – about waist level.
The Backrest height adjustments are all different. You may need to loosen a lever or knob at the base of the backrest. If there is no knob or lever you must have a ratchet style adjustment. These allow adjustments simply by pulling upwards one click at a time. Once the backrest reaches the top position it will drop to the bottom starting position again.
6. Adjust the armrest height
Armrests create poor posture if they stop an individual from sitting as close to the desk as they would like. If the armrests can adjust, position them so that they fit under the desk. This ensures nothing stops you from sitting close and working with arms relaxed.
Some chairs have more adjustability than the adjustments above and some have less.
If you have a chair with adjustable lumbar cushioning in the backrest the shape of the lumbar cushioning can be adjusted to be more or less pronounced. This allows a better match between the low back curve and the chair’s low back support preventing lower back pain.
If you have a chair with a ‘synchro’ mechanism, you can lock or unlock the backrest recline. Make sure you tighten the tension knob (sometimes underneath the seat), to prevent that feeling of the backrest giving way and falling backward.
Needing more support at your workstation? Struggling with poor posture?
Book in an Ergonomic Assessment today to improve your posture.
At Back Centre, our product range is vast and quite unique.
In fact we have the biggest range of office chairs in Australia.
We provide a full suite of office desks, seating, equipment and accessories.
Sitting at your desk should be as comfortable an experience as possible, especially if you work at your desk for the majority of your day. When you are choosing the best office chair for your needs, you should get the one that has the highest back, as well as ensuring that the chair that you choose has lumbar support, a large enough seat and plenty of support under your thighs. Once you have chosen the chair that you need, you should then ensure that it is set up appropriately for your height.
You should remember that your chair is probably the most important part of the office environment. Before you even begin altering any of the other equipment in your office such as your keyboard position or height of the monitor, you should make sure that you set up your office chair properly.
When you first get your office chair, you should set it to the tallest height that it will go to. Sit on the chair and then slowly lower the height until you are happy that it is at the best height for you. The right height will mean that your legs and feet feel comfortable. Your feet should be flat on the floor and your legs should be bent at a 90-degree angle or a little more so that the thighs are not pressing down hard on the seat. If your chair is too high for you, you may find that you will end up with circulation problems. If your chair is still too high at the lowest setting, you should use a footrest.
Adjust The Lumbar position
If the chair has the option for you to do so, you should next adjust the lumbar support. Some chairs allow you to slide the seat and forwards or backwards so that you can sit comfortably with the seat of the chair fully supporting you and with your back to the base of the backrest too. This will provide you with lower back support as well as a more upright position.
Alter the Recline
Some office chairs give you a tilt feature. If you have a tilt and lock feature on your office chair, it is a good idea to set this up when you are setting up the rest of your chair. You should sit on the chair as you recline a little and gently lean back in the chair until you feel that you are in a comfortable sitting position. Don’t forget to periodically change this position. Being a little reclined at all times will take some of the pressure off your lower spine where most of the weight will bear down in a more upright position.
Adjust the Armrests
Not all office chairs have armrests. Even if your chair does have armrests, you may find that they are fixed and can’t be altered. If you do have the ability to alter the height, width, and tilt of the armrests, you should do so now. So that the armrests are comfortable for any size of the user, some chairs have width adjustable armrests. You should adjust these so that your elbows can rest comfortably on the armrest. You should also adjust the height and the tilt so that you will be able to lean your arms at right angles with the desk as you work.
Space to Move
Most office chairs have casters or small wheels attached to the bottom of the frame. This allows you to move around the office environment without needing to stand up. You should ensure that there is nothing underneath or around your desk that may get in the way of the casters. Handbags and laptop carry cases are just some examples of hazardous objects that may be on the floor.
It is possible that you may have a non-adjustable chair. If you do, you can still carry out basic steps to ensure that your office environment is as ergonomic as possible. It is still not advisable that you purchase a non-adjustable chair, and you should try to purchase a model that offers as much adjustment as you can find.
If you find that the height of the office chair is too low for you, you may be able to raise your height by using a cushion. You should try to choose a firm cushion that is as evenly filled as possible so that your thighs will be well supported. If the chair is too high for you, then you could raise the level of your feet by using a footrest.
Some people find that the seat pan is too far forward for their size. If you find that there is a gap at the back of the seat between the backrest and your lower back, you should ensure that you use a cushion to provide lumbar support and to help you to keep better posture in your chair.
Is your chair slowly (or quickly) sinking, but come right back up?
My chair won’t stay up!
My chair’s height won’t adjust even when I press the lever!
On several chairs (primarily the Steelcase V1 Leap, V2 Leap (prior to 1/19/2009), and Herman Miller Aeron) that use a top activated gas cylinder, it’s common to see a set screw to fine-tune the lever activation of the gas cylinder due to manufacturing tolerances and variations in chairs.
DID YOU KNOW?
The gas cylinder set screw adjustment is our most common question here at Crandall Office Furniture.
Replacement Gas Cylinders Available
We offer replacement gas cylinders for a majority of the major brand name chairs in production.
When a new cylinder is installed, or this set screw is not adjusted properly, a few things can occur:
- The set screw is significantly too tight – the cylinder is always activated. This results in the chair raising on it’s own, and also lowering on it’s own when weight is applied.
- The set screw is slightly too tight – the cylinder is always partially activated. Same automatic raising and lowering, but at a reduced rate.
- The set screw is significantly too loose – the cylinder is not being activated. This results in the chair height not being able to be adjusted.
- The set screw is slightly too loose – the cylinder is difficult to activate.
Luckily this is a very easy adjustment and fix.
The diagram to the right gives a breakdown of the set screw and how it interfaces with the gas cylinder.
Each chair is a little bit different, but we’ve created a couple of videos to help walk you through the process of adjusting your chairs gas cylinder set screw:
Steelcase Leap Chair Set Screw Adjustment Video:
Herman Miller Aeron Chair Set Screw Adjustment Video:
If a quick adjustment of your set screw does not fix your problem, you may have a faulty or broken gas cylinder. Fortunately that’s a quick and easy fix as well!
Do you want to raise your office chairs’ height but have no idea how to do that without a lever? If the answer is yes, there is no need to freak out, as we are going to offer you a comprehensive manual about how to raise an office chair without a lever.
For this purpose, we will provide you with the 3 simplest ways to change your office chair’s height. Let’s check them out!
3 Ways To Raise Office Chair Without Lever?
After you are sure what type of office chair you have and what height you want, you can easily adjust it accordingly. The process may seem complicated, but it is a matter of seconds.
Usually, you can adjust office chairs through three different methods. Through these methods, you can raise your chair to an optimum level for your comfort.
1) Clockwise And Counterclockwise Adjustment
Executive or old office chairs have no levers for making height adjustments. You have to stand up from chairs to adjust them, as you cannot raise such chairs while sitting on them. To change the height, you must rotate them clockwise or counterclockwise.
While at first, try to acknowledge which movement is best for raising the height and which one is for lowering the height. Make sure whether clockwise or anticlockwise may raise or lower your office chair.
Adjust the height accordingly by rotating the chair seat. Once you alter it, check it for suitable height and just sit on it for a moment. If the height is satisfactory, then the chair is ready to go. If the size still needs adjustment, repeat the process.
2) Under-Chair Bolt Adjustment
Some office chairs may not have the feature of rotation for adjusting the height. However, they may have a bolt under the chair that helps to adjust the height. There is no need to panic as we are talking about nuts and bolts. You only need to twist the bolt consequently to adjust the height.
Firstly, check your office chair if it has a bolt beneath it. For this, you have to stand in front of the chair as you cannot alter these office chairs’ height while sitting on them. You must have access to the bolt to turn it manually.
As soon as you revolve it, the bolt underneath the chair may raise or get lower. Accordingly, to your preference, you can adjust the height. Moreover, try to make markings like a table or screen up to which you want to raise your office chair. You can repeat the process until you get the height you desire.
3) Back Height Adjustment
Apart from twisting bolts or rotating chair seats for adjusting height, you can change back height or armrest too. Some office chairs have the option of adjusting their backrests to give you a comfortable position. They work by moving forward and backwards.
You have to take care of all the options of adjusting the height of the headrest. Moreover, try to look for a reclining feature in an office chair as they are the most comfortable.
With an adjustable height of the back seat, you can rest comfortably. You will be able to perform your duties diligently, depending on your personal preferences. Apart from these backrests, you may also look out for adjustable armrests. Armrests will provide your arms full support while working or relaxing.
Adjustment of an office chair is essential to keep yourself in a restful position. However, these adjustments should be perfect according to your preferences. Still, sitting on your office chair all the time may not be easy all the time.
If you do not adjust your office chair properly, then be ready to have every type of pain and physical aches. Moreover, with the passing time, you may develop a bad posture as well.
Height adjustment may largely depend on the form of office chair you have. Modern office chairs have a unique lever, so you can push them to adjust the height accordingly. Whereas older chairs or executive chairs usually don’t have any lever. You have to adjust them manually.
Moreover, what is the position of your keyboard? Is it accessible or not? Try to locate your perfect spot for sitting in according to your workspace.
Secondly, try to arrange the base of your seat in such a way that it fits the floor evenly. Your legs should be comfortable and must be at a 90-degree angle. Moreover, try to keep your thighs in a perfectly horizontal position.
Also, check if your office chair comes up with an adjustment feature or not, as you do not want to buy an office chair that does not have any quality of height adjustment.
Lastly, when you decide on the height you want for your office chair, it is time to learn how you can raise your chair without a lever. For this purpose, carry on to the next section to know how to do so.
Mastering how you can raise your office chair without a lever is not a complex task. Indeed, it is an ordinary process as soon as you master it. Adjusting the height manually can be exhausting for you, but you can have a comfortable height that fits according to your requirements in the end.
A big part of your day is spent sitting in your office chair. So it makes perfect sense that you need the ideal comfortable ergonomic office chair. But keep in mind that it’s not enough to just buy one, you also need to adjust the chair for the benefit of your body and spinal health. And the most amazing thing is that it only takes minutes to do it. The best office chairs come with different options to adjust for a good impact on your spinal health. The ergonomic office chairs with the most adjustments will have the most options and capabilities to fit exactly to the needs of your body.
The benefits of adjusting your office chair
Sitting for long periods of time can take a toll on the body and it puts a lot of stress on your neck, back, and spine such as stiffness, pain, and the inability to move freely. Adjusting your office chair correctly will help you reduce pain and correct your sitting posture which will cause a long term improvement to your health.
Read these tips to achieve better health while working in front of the computer.
How to adjust your office chair to the correct height
The first thing to adjust in your office chair is the height. If your chair is the right height according to your desk you are already on the correct path to having a correct posture. The best office chairs which are the most comfortable office chairs for back pain, are ergonomic office chairs which also have height adjustments for the backrest, the armrest and the seat. Firstly adjust the chair height so that the underside of your elbows are level with the height of the desk. That way, your elbows will support your back posture to be upright and you will not lean forward as much and put a strain on your neck and back. The chair needs to be adjusted to a certain height where your feet are flatly touching the floor and that your .angle. If the height of the seat is too low, you put extra pressure on your hips and knees when trying to get up which can cause long term problems.
Adjust your office chair backrest to the right angle
The angle of your office chair plays an important role on your posture and it provides adequate rest for your upper and lower back. The best ergonomic office chairs for back pain usually have a lever, which is usually found on the right of the chair which has backwards and forwards arrows. Play around with the levers of your chair until you find the correct comfort zone for you. This way, your comfortable office chair will cause comfort to your health too. When working on a desk, an upright position is the best. Sitting upright also makes you look and feel professional. When you feel professional, you will act professionally too. This posture is the best suitable for when doing actual work on your desk or typing on your computer. When you are in meetings, or you are reading something long off your screen or watching a video, you can recline the backrest slightly. This will allow a nice change and restful moment for your back. It also allows you to show comfortable body language when you are in meetings which always leaves a good impression.
How to adjust the armrest height of your office chair
In many cases, the height of the armrest is at such a height that it doesn’t allow a safe and healthy distance from your desk. The best ergonomic office chairs are those with an adjustable armrest. They can also stop you from sitting as close to your desk as your comfort allows you, causing you to bend your back and lean forward. The best office ergonomic adjustable office chairs have adjustable armrests. The best position for the armrests is that they need to fit under your desk. Another great role of an armrest is to relieve pressure off your shoulders. Shoulder pain can really set you back in your day and mood. A comfortable office chair along with the correct lifestyle can solve your problem, health and psychology. While you adjust your armrest to fit under the desk, also have in mind that while your arms rest on it that your arms are slightly rested on your shoulders. This way, you will not carry most of the weight on your shoulders and you will also have better support for your neck. These are also the best office chairs for back pain.
When you work from your office or home, it is important to find a proper ergonomic chair . We often sit in the same position for an extended period, and this can cause various musculoskeletal problems. Using an ergonomic chair can help eliminate these problems. After selecting the right chair for you, you need to learn how to adjust your chair ergonomically .
Many people often make the mistake of sitting in the ergonomic chair and deciding whether it is the right product for them or not. But one cannot choose the right ergonomic chair before using it properly. Now we will discuss some of the steps on how to adjust your chair ergonomically .
Adjust the height of your seat
The first step in adjusting the ergonomic chair is to get the height of your chair correctly. First, stand in front of the chair and then adjust the height of your seat pan to lie below the knee cap. Then sit on the chair and rest against the back and adjust the height of the seat cylinder. It is important to notice that your feet lay flat on the ground, and the knee has a 90-degree angle.
Adjust the depth of your seat pan
Most of the time, people overlook the importance of adjusting the depth of their ergonomic chair. But adjusting the depth of the chair can make sitting much more comfortable. If the user of the chair is short, then they would want the seat closer to the chair back, whereas someone taller would need it further away. To get the right seat depth, make sure to have a gap of a fist between the seat of the cushion and the back of your knees.
Make sure to adjust the lumbar support
Most of the users look for lumbar support when they want to choose an ergonomic chair. Make sure to choose lumbar support that has proper placement and adjustment. Look for the right placement as the lumbar support should in the natural curve of the spine above the beltline.
Adjust the headrest
If you choose an ergonomic chair that has a headrest, then make sure to adjust it properly. When you sit in a reclined position, the headrest helps to provide support to the head and neck . This way, you can eliminate the chance of getting neck pain when working for a long time.
Wrapping it up
In the article written above, we have talked about some useful tips on how to adjust your chair ergonomically . By following these tips, you can sit comfortably and work for a long period without the risk of getting musculoskeletal problems .
Without ergonomic chairs, productivity in the modern office wouldn’t be possible.
Adjusting proper seat height to ensure maximum comfort makes it possible to work eight to nine hours a day, five days a week, with little to no back and neck pain.
To adjust pneumatic office chair depth, locate the depth adjustment knob at the bottom left of your office chair. This should cause your chair seat to move inward and outward. The Ideal chair seat depth leaves two to four inches between the back of your knees and the front of your seat.
Failure to adjust proper seat depth will lead to poor posture and lumbar support. Your legs won’t have enough circulation either.
To find the ideal office chair position and ensure proper circulation, you need to adjust seat depth and height.
You should be able to sit comfortably with your back firmly against the backrest, feet flat on the ground, and your knees at a 90-degree angle.
Office chairs are indeed a staple of office life, but how do they work? Learn the proper way to adjust the seat depth to find optimal comfort and productivity in your workspace.
Table of Contents
How does office chair adjustment work?
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Pneumatic office chairs have numerous features to ensure good ergonomics.
Chair seat height is adjusted with an air cylinder, and seat depth can also be adjusted by moving the seat pan.
Office chairs have a single-acting cylinder that acts as a spring to adjust the height. This cylinder contains an air chamber connected to a piston that can be activated by a lever or knob. Moving the piston into or out of the chamber compresses air, determining chair seat depth.
The cylinder makes the lifting motion convenient and easy. You’ll have to manually move the chair seat depth and use a pin to stabilize the height without it.
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To lower office chair depth, pull the knob while adding weight to the seat. To elevate an office chair, pull the same knob without adding weight to it.
Your gas cylinder is likely broken if your office chair doesn’t go up after pulling the lever or knob.
Finding a replacement online and installing the spare is relatively easy.
What is the knob at the bottom of the office chair?
The knob that sticks out below your office chair is most likely connected to the lever that adjusts the piston. Pulling the knob activates the piston and moves it into the air chamber. This action compresses the air inside the cylinder, causing your office chair seat to lift.
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Removing the piston from the chamber causes the air inside the chamber to expand, lowering the seat.
To find the chair depth adjuster, locate the lever on the left side of your office chair.
What is an office chair seat slider?
An office chair seat slider will allow you to adjust your office chair depth or the distance between your seat and the chair’s back.
Seat depth adjustment ensures that you have enough lumbar support and good posture.
You need enough chair depth, height, and width to sit comfortably. The exact number will vary according to your height, but the ideal office chair seat depth is between 17 to 20 inches. This seat depth should be enough so that you’re able to leave at least two to four inches of space between the back of your knees and the front of the seat.
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Why do I need to adjust the depth of my office chair seat?
Not all office chairs have the feature of an adjustable seat slider to find optimal chair depth. Office chair companies usually cut manufacturing costs by eliminating this feature.
However, adjusting seat depth is incredibly important to ensure that you are comfortable, have good posture, and prevent damage to your spine and muscles.
Having the proper office chair seat depth will prevent:
- Knees too close to the chair: Contact stress on your legs and cuts off circulation
- Knees too far from the chair: Lower back is not supported
Conversely, it’s also important that you adjust chair seat height along with chair seat depth. You won’t be able to find the most ergonomic seating position without the other.
How do I measure office chair seat depth?
Seat depth determines how long your seat will be.
When seated, your hips should be far back into the backrest. Seat depth measures the length from the backrest to behind your knees.
How do I find proper office chair seat depth and height?
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Before you can begin adjusting your chair seat depth, let’s understand office chairs from an ergonomic standpoint.
Pneumatic chairs are built with an optimized position in mind, lowering the risk of the negative health consequences of being seated for an extended period at a time. You can suffer back, neck, shoulder, thigh, and arm pain from using the wrong office chair!
By finding the ideal office chair height and depth, you’ll be able to work comfortably and boost overall productivity.
To find the ideal office chair position, you should consider the following factors:
- Feet firmly planted on the floor
- Knees are bent at a 90-degree angle
- Knees two to four inches away from the seat
- Back firmly on the recliner
If you’re working on a computer, consider these additional factors when adjusting:
- Elbows should be at a 90 to 110-degree angle
- Forearms should be parallel and at the same height as the desk
Poor sitting practices cause extreme stress that can damage posture, which is why many office workers opt to get additional lumbar support aside from adjusting seat depth and height.