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The Posture Perfect Office Chair supports the user in two key areas to prevent postural collapse and associated pain. When both of these points of support are absent, the body is put into excessive spinal flexion, which causes the head to fall forward and down, the rib cage to drop towards the pelvis and the low-back to ’round’ (see right).

This is the typical posture adopted when sitting on chairs or stools without any special postural support. Notice how the head fall forwards and the shoulders and low back round into a letter ‘c’ shape.

Lumbar support was invented to supposedly solve this issue by stopping the ’rounding out’ of the lumbar area. And it does achieve this; however in doing so, it causes the opposite problem – that of excessive spinal extension in the lumbar area (see right.)

Here, although the shoulders remain against the backrest, the pelvis is forced to rotate too far forward, throwing the spine and the head out of good alignment. Notice how the mid-back is actually still quite rounded and that the head has to poke forward to counterbalance the shoulders which are now too far behind the hips. The spine is now in an exaggerated ‘S’ shape. The spine is still overly compressed but it’s harder to see because the lower curve (the ‘lumbar’) is in excessive extension and the upper curve (the shoulders) is in excessive flexion. The head is positioned more directly over hips (which is good) but the vertabrae that join them are excessively flexed (in the mid-back) and extended (in the lumbar region). This is highly underdesirable.

Like so many things in life, it’s a question of balance. Only when the spine is properly supported in a position where its natural curves are neither overly-flexed nor overly-extended does it have a chance to resist the force of gravity properly and elongate.

Now have a look at how Posture Perfect’s chairs work:

You can see how the spine is now in its natural, very mild ‘S’ shape. This allows the head, shoulders and hips to all stay in a straight line. (We can draw a vertical line through all 3, as in the illustration to the right.) This is the position where minimum compression is being put upon the joints and spine is naturally elongated, even against the force of gravity.

It can only do this however when it is supported as shown in the mid-back and the upper pelvic area, as shown below. Read on to find out why the correct placement of the adjustable supports hidden in the chair’s back is the key to perfect posture.

The function of the supports

Support One: Mid Back
(uppermost support)

The support in this area (T10-12 vertebrae) prevents the hinging forward of the ribcage towards the pelvis. In turn, this prevents the head falling forwards and down, the shoulders rounding, the hunching of the mid-spine (thoracic kyphosis) and the loss of normal curvature in the lumbar region of the lower back.

All of these issues can be clearly seen in the X-ray above.

Support Two: Upper Pelvis
(lower support)

Support in this area (marked with a red circle above) is critical to ensuring that the pelvis does not rotate backwards too far (posterior pelvic tilt – see hand-drawn arrow above). In doing so, it prevents the user’s bottom from sliding towards the front of the seat and thus losing the support of the backrest entirely in this area (horizontal arrow, above).

Excessive backward pelvic rotation caused by lack of support in upper sacral region (marked in red).

The Answer? A Dual Support System

N.B. The lumbar region does not require any support at all with this superior means of sitting.

CorrectWorking together, these two supports will allow the user to sit in a perfectly balanced way

without any of the normal effort associated with sitting up straight. This posture will be one that allows them to ‘sit tall’ and breath properly, using their diaphragm as it was intended to be used.

Sitting like this, it’s highly likely that any back pain related to poor posture will clear up fairly quickly, assuming the user isn’t putting their body into other overly-flexed or overly-extended positions for long periods of their day. (An example of this would be someone who spends many hours standing hunched over a work desk or someone who completes long workouts curled over over on a racing bike).

Regular sitting in this position makes a perfect symmetrical alignment the default one for the user’s spine and this elongated poise will appear naturally in their standing, walking or running posture – or indeed in any activity they undertake.

For more information, please look at the articles on our Blog.

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