You may have seen people recommending kneeling chairs for back pain. But do you know why they can help back pain?
Let’s check out the ways that kneeling chairs are good for posture and other benefits related to position and spine curvature.
But first, let’s look at what a kneeling chair is.
What is a Kneeling Chair?
Kneeling chairs arrived in the United States in the 1980s from Norway after being invented in 1979. They have gained in popularity as ergonomics has become more common in office spaces around the world.
The idea is that sitting is unnatural and a kneeling chair can reduce the terrible health risks that are associated with prolonged sitting.
A kneeling chair aims to offer a much different sitting position. Instead of providing the 90 degree angles from the back to the thighs and the thighs to the calves, a kneeling chair promotes a 110 degree angle from the core to the thighs and a 60 to 70 degree angle from the thighs to the calves.
Before we look at the ways that a kneeling chair can be good for posture, it is important to look at the benefits of good posture and the ways that bad posture can negatively impact your health.
Why is Posture Important?
Posture is the way that you hold your body. When you are sitting in a chair, or a kneeling chair, you hold yourself in a type of posture called static posture (as opposed to dynamic posture which is how you hold yourself during movement).
The spine has three natural curves. The curves are located at the neck, the middle of the back and the lower back.
Good posture maintains this natural curvature without increasing them. The head should always remain above the shoulders and the tops of the shoulders should be over the hips.
Poor posture can be bad for your health. A traditional office chair allows slumping and slouching which can harm your health in a number of ways.
First, it can misalign your musculoskeletal system. It can also wear away at the joints along your spin. This can make it more prone to injury in addition to causing aches and pains.
In addition, as your spine misaligns and gets used to the poor posture, it can make it harder to develop proper sitting in the future. This just leads to more and more problems and can make it likely that you will develop worsened posture as time drags on.
Back pain isn’t the only pain that poor posture can cause. It can also cause neck and shoulder pain.
In fact, some people find that they even have headaches when they slouch more. Whether this is related directly to posture is unknown, but it could be because posture can limit blood circulation.
Poor posture can also affect our ability to properly breath. This can make our oxygen levels decrease and we all know how important breathing is to living! In addition, it can affect digestion.
This can make it more likely that you will become constipated. This can cause you to feel bloated and sick which can impact your well-being, productivity, and comfort levels. It can also lead to acid reflux and heartburn.
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How Does a Kneeling Chair Improve Posture?
A kneeling chair can improve posture and reduce back pain. When you sit in a kneeling chair, your pelvis will be positioned forward and tilted slightly. This allows the spine to rest in the natural curves that are beneficial for your health.
In addition, when you sit in a kneeling chair, your weight is evenly distributed around your body. This relieves tension in the back and spine area as well. This can reduce back pain and allow you to keep your good posture without nagging aches and pains.
Sitting in a kneeling chair will get you used to good posture so that you can have good posture while sitting in traditional chairs or standing as well.
Many people find that it can be uncomfortable at first, but as they continue to use the kneeling chair more and more, they find that it gets comfortable and beneficial for back pain and other issues that they may have developed by using a traditional office chair too much.
There are also rocking kneeling chairs available. This can help your posture even more. These chairs promote active sitting and allow you to work while moving steadily and subtly back and forth. This strengthens the core muscles.
Slouching and slumping usually occur as our body gets more and more tired. When we use a kneeling chair and our core gets stronger, we are more likely to be able to hold good posture for a longer period of time without feeling the need to slouch or slump.
A lot of kneeling chairs also have lumbar support. This can be beneficial for back pain and posture. It allows you to sit in a supported position that maintains the natural curvature of the spine.
This may be the best option if your goal is to encourage good posture at all times while staying comfortable.
The good posture that a kneeling chair promotes also allows you to open up your hips. This reduces compression around the hip joints. The weight is balanced and distributed around the body. This is especially true of kneeling chairs that have saddle seats.
How to Ensure Good Posture in a Kneeling Chair?
There are some things that you will want to consider to make sure that you use a kneeling chair in a way that promotes good posture.
Things like the use of a backrest, the amount that you use the chair, and how you use it can make all the difference in the world when it comes to sitting upright.
First, make sure that the kneeling chair will allow you to see your monitor and work on your daily tasks without any issues. The chair needs to be stable and allow you to move comfortably and reach the keyboard or other items that you will need to use.
You will also want to make sure that it is height adjustable. If the kneeling chair is the wrong size, then it could actually harm your posture instead of helping it.
Also, when you first acquire a kneeling chair, you do not want to go straight from sitting in a traditional chair to sitting all day in a kneeling chair.
This can make it difficult for your body to gradually adjust and can lead to aches and pains. Instead, try to gradually increase the amount of time you sit in your kneeling chair each day.
Then, when you reach a good amount of time, still make sure that you alternate between standing and sitting in your kneeling chair often. Movement is highly beneficial and it is also important to retain good posture while you are walking and standing.
You may have noticed that some kneeling chairs have backrests. These backrests may seem like they encourage good posture even more.
However, be careful if you do purchase an option that has a backrest. The kneeling chair should encourage good sitting posture without a backrest in the first place.
Using a backrest while resting may be good as long as the kneeling chair is in the right position. However, do not use the backrest all day. This can disrupt the good posture that the kneeling chair promotes in the first place. It can lead to back strain as well.
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How to Sit in a Kneeling Chair for Good Posture?
When you sit in the kneeling chair, your bottom should be comfortable on the seat and your legs should be bent with your feet on the floor and not on the kneepads. Then, arrange yourself to ensure that you are comfortable.
Finally, you will want to lift your legs and position them onto the kneepads. This method ensures that you are in a good postural position before adding in each element.
You will also want to make sure that the knees and shins are not taking too much of the weight. The weight should be distributed around your body and not put too much pressure on the legs, back, bottom, or shoulders.
Your bottom should always be centered on the seat. If you find that it is hard to do this without your bottom going past the seat in either direction, then your kneeling chair may not be the right size for your body.
You can also adjust your positioning throughout the day to promote good posture in different positions. Try to put one of your feet on the floor then switch to the other foot. This also encourages movement which can improve your health even more.
Final Thoughts on Kneeling Chairs for Good Posture
If you have found that you have been slouching and slumping more and more in your traditional office chair, then a kneeling chair may be just the thing that you need.
A kneeling chair allows you to work and sit comfortably while maintaining natural spine curvature. This can have several health benefits including a reduction in back pain, improved breathing, and better digestion.
Just make sure that you choose a kneeling chair that fits your body and that you sit in it correctly.