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What is the a really good chair to buy if you program for long hours?

Hi

I am going to be buying some new office furniture soon for home use and its needs to be ergonically friendly (I have already started to get pains in my wrists).  I would like to know what chairs professional programmers use that are healthy (i.e. provide good posture) and comfortable after long periods of time seated.  In addtion to this are those monitor arms for TFT worth buying?

All good suggestions will have the points split evenly as there is no right answer.

Thanks
Grant
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Grant Rogers
Asked:
Grant Rogers
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4 Solutions
 
RanjeetRainCommented:
Please ask this question in Miscellaneous TA or the Lounge.

http://experts-exchange.com/Miscellaneous/
http://experts-exchange.com/Miscellaneous/Lounge/

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InteractiveMindCommented:
Hey Grant,

I spend far too many hours on the computer Programming; I have been suffering from lower-back problems, and being a student, I can't afford anything better than a standard office chair -- as a result, I went to see my doctor about my lower-back pains -- he prescribed me a load of Ibuprofen, and also gave me a sheet of exercises - to help keep your back healthy. After just a single week of taking the Ibuprofen, and doing those easy back-exercises, no more than once a day: my back feels great! :-) Also, try to keep a good posture; people often think that a good posture consists of keeping a straight back - but this is wrong!! Forcing a straight back is very likely to *cause* back problems. Instead, it is recommended that you position your chair (or use a pillow), to help support the "natural curve" of your back.

The whole point of that little fable, is that although you may not have the best chair, as long as you keep a healthy back, by keeping a good posture yourself, and also doing some easy-back exercies, then you'll be fine!

Otherwise, there are these weird little chairs, which have no back rest; these chairs are said to be very good for your back! (However, they look *very* uncomfortable) ;-)

Another tip: Don't get one of those big, posh, comfy, office chairs (you know, the big expensive ones); they have a straight back, which causes your back to rest in a flat position -- which as I've said earlier, will cause you back problems!

> In addtion to this are those monitor arms for TFT worth buying?
Monitor arms are good, although, if money is at all an issue, then don't bother with them; they're just a nice little feature, which can help insure that you have setup your desk layout correctly (well, they make it easier)..

In addition, some other health warnings:

if your keyboard doesn't already have one of those wrist pads, then get one; as without them, you're a lot more likely to get an MSD (Musculoskeletal Disorder). There's some other advice, somewhere, here: http://www.microsoft.com/hardware

TFT = <thumbs up>    (better for the eyes than most other monitors).

Position your desk somewhere near a window! This encourages you to look out, and give your eyes just a few seconds of rest (even if you are using a TFT).

Other than that: have fun! And be careful!

Good luck -- let me know if you have any other queries.

Regards;
Rob.
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InteractiveMindCommented:
Also: while we're on the topic of a healthy computer environment, make sure that you have a good supply of oxygen (preferably an open window); not only is this nice, because sometimes after spending several hours non-stop in front of a screen, you get a bit hot (and cosy) - and thus the breeze will wake you up, but: background humbing sounds (like those from your computer - especially if there's a fault), ultimately, can cause you to start breathing faster (subconciously), as a result, increasing the amount of CO2 in the room around you (where you take in about 0.04% CO2, and breath out about 4%!)..
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gecko_au2003Commented:
Go and take a look at this site on office chairs on the argos site ( I know it is a uk site but I am sure there are american sites that sell simmiliar products )

http://www.argos.co.uk/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/ArgosBrowseCounts?storeId=10001&C$cip=21801&Trail=C%24cip%3D21799%3EC%24cip%3D21800%3EC%24cip%3D21801&categoryId=21801&langId=-1&catalogId=3151

Basically one of the top 3 or 4 leather chairs , I have one of those and it moves around and you can adjust the height of it etc :) Plus it being leather makes it comfy :)
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InteractiveMindCommented:
> Plus it being leather makes it comfy :)
This is a bad thing; when you're comfy, you naturally slouch -- which is bad for your back! :-(
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gecko_au2003Commented:
So when ever you sit down your meant to have a completely wooden chair that makes your butt sore ? Or what are you suggesting ?
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InteractiveMindCommented:
I'm suggesting that when you're looking to purchase a chair, you shouldn't look for something that is extra comfy; I'm not suggesting to go for a wooden chair either, however. But as I've said, those really lush, extra-comfy chairs (which you get warm and cosy on), should be avoided, when spending many hours on them at a time.
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InteractiveMindCommented:
..Chairs are *not* divided into two categories:

  (1) Extra hard chairs;
  (2) Extra soft chairs.

..instead, you should aim for something in between.
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gecko_au2003Commented:
In that case could you point out a chair or some chairs which you would suggest :)
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InteractiveMindCommented:
Okay, well, these are those chairs that I said about, which look uncomfortable, but are supposed to be very good on the back:

    http://www.healthyback.com/store/sitting/kneelingchair.htm

Also, a very good chair:

    http://www.healthyback.com/store/sitting/healthybackperfectcomfortchair.htm#sal

Said to be good on the back, it also is not too large (allowing a natural curve in the back to form); also, it's not leather - meaning that you won't get so comfy, as to slouch.
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gecko_au2003Commented:
I mean I have one of those leather chairs which I pointed out above and I have used it for the good part of 3 years and I have regular breaks ( Which I highly recomend ) and my back is fine and as long as you get up to have regular breaks and such like then you should be fine :)

I mean at the end of the day you have to sit on something unless you wanna stand in front of the computer.

I found this lol, if you can afford it that is :

http://www.championseating.com/cgi-bin/champion.cgi/20001-911.html
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InteractiveMindCommented:
lol - that can't be good for your back.  :-P
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Jaime OlivaresSoftware ArchitectCommented:
I have purchased a chair similar to this:
http://www.shopbrodart.com/shop/cb/product.aspx?pgID=2940

The key is the tilt & swivel capabilities, because best way to "rest" your back is to adopt different positions every time, not a fixed position all the day. Full arm rest also are very useful.

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gecko_au2003Commented:
That was what my leather chair has :) the tilt and swivel ont op of being able to alter height :)
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gecko_au2003Commented:
Hey maybe my example was a great one, at least it shows everyone not to buy or get lol hence they know what the bad option is :D Points Please LOL cough cough J/K.

It's been a laugh being a part of this question :) Hopefully we get more like this in the future ! Keeps EE from being not boring !!
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Grant RogersMonitoring ConsultantAuthor Commented:
Hello, I have just had a chance to read all the replies!

RE: RanjeetRain
Apologies, I wasn't sure where to put it.  I think this question is still relevant to programmers though.

RE: InteractiveMind
I appreciate your input.  I did exaclty the same thing as you.  I went to the doctors and they gave me some exercises and pain kilers, although my pain has never been in my back, always my wrists.  I didn't fancy taking pain killers everyday but I joined a gym to get my joints moving.  You are right keeping a good posture is very important.  I do have a big comfy executive office chair at the moment which is absolutley useless for posture!  As far as the monitor arms go I don't think they will be too big a burden on the budget so I will see about those.  I have been to the microsoft site and taken a look at the video there actually, the information was useful.  I like your tip about a window, I do often look out and stare into space (usually when I have work to do ;)!  Oh as far as the open window goes, I have to have it open my room is small and gets hot quick especially in the summer!

RE: gecko_au2003
Its ok I am in the UK so it is very relevant to me.  I will take a look at the argos site but I am expecting that a specialist shop should have a better choice.

RE: InteractiveMind
As far as the kneeling chair goes has anyone you know tried those?  Are they just gimicky?  the other chairs you listed look interesting.

RE: gecko_au2003
Nice but a bit out my price league ;)

RE: jaime_olivares
Nice seat, will have to check out how much that would cost in the UK.

I like this one though: http://www.ergonomic-seating.uk.com/therapod.htm, Fluid System ;)

I wil leave this question open for a little while then share the points out.
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Jaime OlivaresSoftware ArchitectCommented:
About UK computer furniture, more expensive, as expected:
http://www.chworkspace.co.uk/seating_operator.php
http://www.chworkspace.co.uk/seating_executive.php

I would suggest the Digital model, with full arm rests, if you can pay ;)
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cookreCommented:
Those kneeling chairs wreak havoc on your shins.

I avoid the whole problem by not sitting for more than an hour without getting up and wandering about a bit.  If you're chained to your cube, at least stand up and stretch regularly while appearing to ponder a particularly thorny problem, resuming the chair after a jubilant "Aha, that's it!"
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Grant RogersMonitoring ConsultantAuthor Commented:
cookre I just went across to my neighbour who has one of those chairs.  They seem fine while I was sitting in there but the lady said exactly the same thing, they do your knees in after a while.  I think I can do the pondering pose :).
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InteractiveMindCommented:
In that case -- go for a chair like Jaime's  (something which isn't too high, as to allow a natural curve).

>> "although my pain has never been in my back, always my wrists"

You say that your doctor, too, prescribed you some pain killers, and some exercies. Well, as some say: "Finding a solution to a problem, isn't completely down to finding out how to fix it, but to discover it's cause" (or something to that effect).

Perhaps you've developed a minor condition of "Carpal Tunnel Syndrome" (an MSD). The best advice for these sort of things (other than getting advice from your doctor ;) in most cases), would be to exercise them often (as you do): but nothing too intense! Make sure that they're supported, when in the same position for a long period of time (so, get one of those gel wrist rests [if you haven't already] - and get in the habbit of typing, with your wrists resting comfortably on it!

Some info on carpal tunnel syndrome: http://www.indiangyan.com/books/therapybooks/Osteopathy/Curing_wrist_hand_pain.shtml
It contains some of the symptoms, so perhaps you could make a self-diagnosis. It also suggests some things you can do to help cure it, and prevent it from occuring again -- which would reply for most of MSDs.

> I didn't fancy taking pain killers
Yeah, I stopped taking mine, after I choked on one of them, and ended up being sick! lol - funny to look back on; but Ibuprofen tablets are far too large for me. lol.
..And of course, there's the case that pain killers (especially parocetamol), when taken in large dosages or often, can cause liver damage. :-(

Anyway, that's all the Doc has to say ;-)
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Grant RogersMonitoring ConsultantAuthor Commented:
Thanks for participating everyone!
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InteractiveMindCommented:
:-)
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