Starting your post-secondary studies is stressful enough. Don’t add back and neck pain to the mix.

Student with laptop Brezza1940

Starting university, college, or any kind of post-secondary education is an exciting time of your life. Are you ready to welcome it? 

Now that you’ve made the major life decisions (deciding what to study and where), you have more “firsts” on the way. 

Some of them may include:

  • Renting your first apartment (and cleaning the bathroom after your first get-together!)
  • Meeting your first friend who doesn’t know everyone you do (maybe I’m the only one from a small town?) 
  • Writing your first university paper (and then rewriting it the way the prof wanted it) 

Whether you’re moving across town, across the country or simply down into your parents’ basement, lots of changes are happening in your life.

And this might mean you spend A LOT more hours in front of a computer than you’re used to. 

It might not feel like an issue now while you’re excited about all the new experiences you’ll be having and #AllTheThings you’ll be learning. But it’s good to consider…

Lifeform get ergonomic office chair

Longer hours at your desk can cause headaches, back and neck pain if you don’t have the correct desk setup.

A little preparation now can go a long way to mitigating issues down the road.

So what’s considered a good studying setup?

  • A desk set at the proper height for using your keyboard
  • An external, ergonomic keyboard
  • A mouse that fits your hand
  • A monitor at a comfortable height, within arm’s reach
  • Good lighting so you don’t strain your eyes
  • A comfortable chair that supports your spine

What style of chair do you need to prevent pain? 

Ergonomic chairs are designed to encourage a neutral spinal posture and provide enough support while sitting for long periods. Though they often cost a bit more than other chairs, you save more in the long run. And by this we mean they prevent issues like headaches, back pain, poor posture and blood circulation, and in more severe cases, cervical spondylosis.

Like 97% (we’re totally making up that number) of other college students, you probably haven’t given much thought to ergonomics. But terms like “lumbar support” and “seat pan” CAN make a big difference in your comfort level.

When researching the purchase of a chair to study in, think about what will keep you focused and productive. Most quality desk chairs are designed with ergonomic options, like a supportive cushioned seat that moves forward and back (depending on if you’re big and tall or petite) and an adjustable lumbar to give you the best back support exactly where you need it.

However, each person has a specific way of sitting to study that’s comfortable for them, which will affect the kind of chair they need.

  • Do you like to lean back periodically to think or read? 
  • Do you give yourself a break from typing and need armrests for support? 
  • Will you be flipping through several books simultaneously, so a swivel function is important? 
  • What size is the space where your desk and chair will be located?

In addition, there are different types of chairs. Some of your options are:

Mesh-back 

Mesh office chairs are trendy because they are lightweight, highly breathable, and easy to clean. The backrest has a supportive, tight-weave fabric for better durability. They are a good choice for the budget-minded student.

Mid-back

Mid-back chairs have a (reasonably self-explanatory) lower backrest, typically without a headrest. They generally are a good fit for small workplaces (i.e. dorm rooms or small apartments). This design offers the needed support to the back and spine.

Task Chairs

This chair style provides a simple, cushioned seat with added benefits such as adjustable lumbar support and headrest. If you’re not looking to sit for more than an hour or two, then a task chair could be your best (most affordable) bet.

Executive Chairs

Generally of premium quality, executive chairs often have a high back and many ergonomic options available. A built-in headrest, adjustable lumbar support, height-adjusted cushioned seat to reduce pressure on your bones and joints and adjustable padded armrests are just a few of the your choices.

Common Features To Look For

  •     Adjustable Lumbar support
  •     Adjustable headrest, armrests, and seat height
  •     Easy swiveling for frequent movement
  •     Supportive cushioned seat and back
  •     Sliding seat pan (seat can be moved forward or back, depending on your size)
  •     Adjustable tilt tension and lock
  •     Nylon casters (wheels are designed for specific kinds of flooring)

Price

If a higher quality (which usually translates into a heftier price tag) chair isn’t in your budget, go back to the basics – cushions with good posture support. Before you buy that cheaper, less comfortable chair at a big chain store, think outside of (a smaller shipping) box for sitting options.

Lifeform Posture Support

Support Cushions

Support cushions are an affordable alternative to a more expensive ergonomic chair. With these lightweight, portable cushions, you can change almost any seat into a supportive option. If you’re driving home for Thanksgiving, checking out the school football game or watching a concert in the park. You’ll always be comfortable, no matter where you are.

When you’re comfortable, you’re more productive. When you can focus on studying – not on dealing with the pain in your body – you can accomplish anything. 

You’ve got this. We’ve got your back.