Gabrylly Ergonomic Chair

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By Emilia Benton of SelfGabrylly

With lots of Americans still working from home indefinitely to restrict the spread of COVID-19, many of us have had to come to terms with the “home office” being the new normal. If you weren’t already equipped with an ergonomic office chair and full desk setup in your home, chances are you’ve spent the past few months working from your bed, couch, or dining room table. It’s a solid temporary fix, but with this pandemic far from being over, it’s really in your best interest to invest in a comfortable workspace setup—especially an ergonomic office chair that can help you prevent prolonged back and neck pain.

Thankfully, there are many affordable options out there that can fit your individual needs, helping you to be more comfortable while working from home. “You want a chair that definitely has the ability to move up and down to accommodate people of different heights as well as different heights of desks,” Theresa Marko, PT, DPT, MS, a board-certified clinical specialist in orthopedic physical therapy in New York City tells SELF.

The back of the chair should also be firm with lumbar support, Marko says, and the bottom cushion flat. Some chair cushions are tilted upward in the front, which is not ideal, she says, because they can make you tilt your pelvis backward and put pressure on your lumbar spine.

As for your posture in the chair, Marko says the goal is always to be sitting upright with a straight back, instead of semi-reclining with the backrest tilted backward, or leaning forward, as both of these would put pressure on your shoulders and neck. She also notes that you should be pushed all the way up to your desk to prevent you from hunching forward, with your computer and mouse close by so that your elbows are bent to 90 degrees, right next to your torso. “With your arms at your side, your neck and shoulders should be relaxed, with no tensing or scrunching up the neck.”

Scooting your bottom all the way to the back of the chair against the backrest is also key, Marko says. “Otherwise you will be sitting on your sacrum and stressing your back.” The Cleveland Clinic also recommends keeping your feet flat on the floor, with your knees bent at right angles and even with or slightly higher than your hips. You may need to troubleshoot this if you’re tall and leggy and your knees are hitting the underside of your desk, but try your best to make this work. Ultimately, sitting upright, with your feet on floor, hips squared, and no forward tilt, means everything is in alignment.

And if your chair’s still a bit too high for your feet to lay flat on the floor, Stephanie Weyrauch, PT, DPT, MSCI, a physical therapist in Orange, Connecticut, and president of the American Physical Therapy Association’s Connecticut chapter, also recommends placing a stool under the feet to “decrease strain in the legs and improve posture.”

Ergonomic office chairs tend to look very similar (rolling, covered in mesh, you get the idea), so to help you refine your search for a good one, we asked four physical therapists (including Marko and Weyrauch) on some of their recommendations for the best ergonomic office chairs for improving your at-home setup.

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Gabrielly Office Chair

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