The topic of Seat Wedges came up the other day as I was watching a Customer Service Representative work at her computer. She had a good headset and used it consistently well. Her chair was the right height with feet well supported on the floor. Her monitor was positioned well for her eye height and for her vision. Her keyboard was a little high, but she had to upper extremity, shoulder or neck symptoms (and no history of those). What she did have was painful hips and swollen legs.
These particular problems suggest one of two solutions:
- 1. Buy a chair that allows easy and separate adjustment of seat and back angle (or one that is supportive enough but will auto-adjust Ė more on this later) or
- 2. Buy a seat wedge, which will provide the needed change to hip and pelvis but is of lesser cost.
The Auto-Adjust Chair
The office chair will definitely be more satisfactory in the long run, and will be more durable. The chair should last a minimum of 5 years before any service is needed. Office Master has great guarantees on their furniture with most parts replaced at no cost for life. The OM5 is a good design that provides smooth and flexible auto-tilt functionality.
The major problem is that these really should be individually fitted. There are a lot of differently body types and sizes out there and Office Master can fit just about anyone. If you decide you want to buy the chair, please contact me and Iíll see if I can find someone to get you a fitting (free Ė as a cost of business for getting you to buy the chair). You may also have some specific issues and a different chair may be better. Itís better to find this out before you make the purchase.
The Wedge Solution
The seat wedge is a triangular shape, often made of plastic covered foam in various densities. The wedge goes into the seat of the chair with the high part in back, so that when you sit on the wedge you are tilted slightly forward.
The more dense the foam, the better the support and the longer it will probably last. These range from approximately $20.00 to $50.00. Most will not provide good support for longer than a year.
The best is a sissel wedge. I found one for $89.00 from a company in Canada (British Columbia), and one from England which only quoted a price in pounds. These are very firm. If you like a soft seat, they may not work for you. They will continue to provide good support for a very long time.
Seat wedges come in several sizes and shapes, but the basic one shown below should be sufficient for you to try and to determine if you want to put effort into more product researchÖand it would be research related to your specific comfort and desires. One seat wedge over another? Itís a largely personal choice.
I chose a seat wedge for the employee, and it also solved another problem. The postural change along with the lift provided by the wedge resulted in a change to her relationship to the keyboard. It's now at the proper height.
I like the seat wedge for itís portability. In fact, I use one in my car to reduce swollen legs on long trips. It also help the back maintain a good posture by positioning and stabilizing the pelvis. I use the cheap, basic variety like the one below and replace it yearly.
You can see the Office Master OM5 at http://officemaster.com/about/om5/images/360-9.jpg