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The Sitting Series: Saddle Chairs

What chair is best for me and my health?

So you’re looking for that magical pain relieving chair for work? Ergonomic chairs that offer improved leg, pelvic and lumbar positioning are increasing in popularity, but they still have their own downsides. Using one of these chairs can be taxing on your muscles and may take some getting used to. In this series we will go through various chairs, advantages, disadvantages and sitting tips in general.

Saddle chair

If your job requires long periods of sitting but requires you to pay attention or lean forwards slightly this might be an ideal chair for you. Anaesthetists and dentists are common users of saddle chairs. They need to lean forwards to check equipment and work on patients over long periods of times.

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Ideally the knees are below the hips which allows the lumbar spine to have the ideal curvature. These chairs have been shown to promote health posture throughout the entire spine and head which is why they are becoming an increasingly popular choice. The feet are also able to rest on the floor allowing for extra weight distribution.

The height is the main adjustable feature, meaning there is no back support to alter or tilt to change. This fact means the chair can easily be altered for multiple users. This makes the stool ideal for a communal desk or perhaps a desk used by separate people over different shifts. The issue with this is that the pre-determined tilt is set to create an angle of about 130-140 degrees between the lumbar spine and legs. This angle means the users are near enough standing so the desks need to be quite high compared to a conventional desk.
This chair also requires some postural strength. Without the added lumbar support from the back of a chair the erector spinae muscles in your back will need to keep you upright. Although this is a great way to strengthen your back, it will take a while to build that strength to allow you to sit comfortably all day.

Salli make great saddle chairs and here is a link to one of their products, though here are many other manufacturers

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I really hope this helps you with any sitting issues you may experience, please give myself or any of my colleagues a call if you would like any further advice.

By Tristan White MOst DO ND