Ergonomic chair can prevent aches and pains

It's me - Susan the Speaking of Safety blogger, at my home office in Vancouver on a hot summer day

Every writer needs a good chair.

That gem of advice is from my university professor 20 years ago – and I’ve always kept it in mind. Without a good chair, he said, writers may sit awkwardly, overstraining our muscles. Doing this for many years can lead to repetitive strain injuries.

From WorkSafeBC's How to Make Your Computer Workstation Fit You

I recalled my teacher’s advice when I started feeling extra muscle stiffness in my upper back. It was time for a new chair at my home office.

I asked Facebook: “What’s the best ergonomic chair?” and someone suggested an Aeron chair by Herman Miller. It had positive reviews online, and I ended up finding one, “gently used,” on Craigslist from a nearby store that liquidates office furniture.

How to adjust your chair

When I got the chair home, I referred to the WorkSafeBC manual How to Make Your Computer Workstation Fit You and adjusted the height of my chair and monitor as recommended.

But now, when I look at my photo – compared to the diagram – I see I am too far forward in my chair, without proper back support. I’ll have to fine tune my setup – along with being mindful of my posture, stretching, exercising, and drinking more water and less coffee.

What more can I do?

Despite my efforts, I still get a bit of upper back stiffness, though nothing too bad. Maybe it strains muscles when I use my laptop and/or iPhone in my car or at a cafe because I have to tilt my head downwards to see their screens.

I’d like to ask an ergonomist what more I can do. How can I make my workstation even better? What’s an ergonomic way to use laptops on the go? Please share your suggestions or links.


3 thoughts on “Ergonomic chair can prevent aches and pains

  1. Mark

    Hi Susan. Your screen is too low, your elbows need to be above your keyboard and you need to type without resting your arms on the edge of the desk. I would also imagine that you are stretching a bit to use your mouse, this needs to be closer and make sure you use your arm muscles to move the mouse and not just small movements with your wrist.
    I would also say that your chair is giving you support but you will be weakening your back muscles plus over the day you will start to slump ruining your posture. To take away having to think about how you sit all the time you should try the swopper, it puts you in the correct position, supports you, strengthens back & core muscles plus its fun. Check out:
    Hope this has helped. Keep up the good work. Mark

    1. susan Post author

      Thanks for your suggestions too. Wow that looks like a very cool chair! That could be good for fidgety kids (and adults).


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *