By C Benson
Kneeling chairs are a solution often suggested for people who have had persistent lower back pain with conventional office chairs and even ergonomic chairs. In this article, we’ll look at what kneeling chairs are, and what unique benefits and drawbacks they present in comparison to other types of chairs.
What are kneeling chairs?
At first glance, kneelings may not look much like ordinary chairs at all. A kneeling chair typically has two major features: a seat, which is angled forward at 20 to 30 degrees, and a support pad in front of the seat on which the knees or shins rest.
The forward slope of the seat on a chair reduces the angle at which the user’s thighs rest. The support pad allows the knees or shins to provide a bit more support to the body than usual, and, ideally, the result is more natural, more comfortable posture, particularly as it relates to the spine.
The basic purpose and advantage of kneeling chairs is that, when used properly, they promote the proper alignment of the spine. Other types of chairs, particularly non-ergonomic chairs, tend to lead users into positions and postures that place an undue amount of stress on the back, and prolonged sitting can lead to back pain. While kneeling chairs may look unusual, they can provide a more natural feel and posture, reducing comfort and increasing productivity.
Kneelings are best for people who have experienced pain in the lower back, particularly discomfort as far down as the tailbone, from extended use of other types of chairs. Studies have found that well-designed kneeling chairs, with a seat angle of around 20 degrees, help the user to maintain standing lumbar posture better than standard computer chairs do.
While they are likely to help with lower back problems, kneelings may cause discomfort in other areas, particularly the legs. This should not be an issue if the chair is properly aligned and fitted to the user, but in cases where the knees rather than the shins are resting on the forward support pad, discomfort can quickly develop.
From an ease of use standpoint, kneelings are generally considered more awkward and inconvenient than other types of ergonomic chairs. For one thing, they can be difficult to get into and out of because of the tight spacing between the angled seat and the support pad. Even with an ideal fit, you will likely find your reach at your desk noticeably reduced with a kneeling chair, and this can lead to new forms of discomfort in the event that your job requires you to make frequent use of a large desk space.
Finally, kneelings are generally most appropriate for relatively short periods. If you are required to remain sitting for hours at a time, you may find that a chair leads to more fatigue and discomfort than your previous chair did.
If you have struggled with lower back pain caused by other types of chairs, you should definitely consider kneeling chairs as a viable alternative, provided that the aforementioned disadvantages don’t apply to your situation. Otherwise, another type of ergonomic chair may be more appropriate. For more information on quality ergonomic chairs for the home or office, please take a look at our ergonomic chair reviews.