Are Armrests Good For Ergonomics image

Are Armrests Good For Ergonomics?

When you’re working at your desk, do you use a chair that has armrests? Many people wonder if they would be better off using a chair with armrests, especially if they find that they are experiencing arm, neck, or back pain from working.

But are armrests good for ergonomics?

Are they a one trick cure-all for any symptoms of pain that you are experiencing? The answer is a little bit more complicated than you may initially think.

The short answer is—it depends.

The long answer? Before going out and buy a new ergonomic chair with armrests or even considering adding armrests to your desk, perhaps you should take a closer look at your posture to see if that may be the underlying cause of your pain.

Why Do People Use Armrests?

Without a doubt, the most common reason why people request armrests for work is because they begin to notice pain in their muscles. This is usually reported in the arms, upper back, and neck regions.

If the area in which you are working requires that you hold your arms in a position that keeps your elbows away from the sides of your body, it places an increased strain on your shoulders, which will, in turn, cause them to gradually become fatigued.

Given enough time, sitting and working at a chair with poor posture can indeed result in stiff, painful muscles. So, it’s only natural that one would assume that by using armrests for added support, that it may help to relieve this pain.

It’s definitely true that armrests can be very beneficial—but first, perhaps you should take a closer look at your posture. It’s quite possible that by making some slight changes to your sitting position, you can work more comfortably.

If changing your seated posture doesn’t give you relief, then at that point I would definitely recommend looking into getting a chair with armrests.

Why Do People Use Armrests

Proper Seated Posture

One of the best ways to find relief for any muscular discomfort you experience from sitting at a desk is to focus on improving your working posture.

You should ideally be able to sit with your back completely straight, with your head and spine in perfect alignment. Aside from that, your arms should be able to rest comfortably close to the side of your body in a relaxed position. In order to work in this position, you may have to adjust the location of your keyboard and mouse, moving them closer together for example.

Many people have reported that when they are able to work comfortably in such a position, with their shoulders relaxed and their elbows resting at their sides, that their uncomfortable symptoms end up vanishing.

However, it’s not always possible for an individual to adopt this more comfortable seated position. For example, the type of chair or desk you work at might not allow it, or your own unique circumstances (for example, if you are pregnant) might make it difficult to sit like this. In examples like this, you should definitely consider using armrests to relieve your discomfort.

Are Armrests Good for Ergonomics? They Can Be!

If you’ve taken the proper steps to address your posture when you’re sitting and working with no results, then it’s time to consider using armrests.

While not an ideal solution, if an armrest can provide you with relief from pain while you work and prevent you from placing undue stress on your shoulder muscles, they definitely have their place.

Many people have reported huge improvements in their neck and shoulder pain thanks to armrests. If you’re using armrests, you should adjust them to a height where your arms are lifted slightly at the shoulders. This will make sure that your elbows are properly supported by the armrest, taking the pressure off your shoulders.

When choosing a chair that includes armrests, or if you are adding armrests to your workstation, there are three main considerations that you should keep in mind:

  • They must be of an ideal height to allow you to sit comfortably as described above—too high causes your shoulders to be raised too much and too low can cause leaning or slouching
  • The length should not to be too long so as to prevent you from sitting close to your desk
  • Finally, the distance between them should feel comfortable for you and provide enough space to easily get in and out of the chair

 

Conclusion

If you find yourself experiencing neck, back, or arm pain after you spend extended periods of time working at a desk, and you’ve tried just about everything you can think of when it comes to addressing your posture, then armrests could be just what you need to find relief.

They can be great for ergonomics by allowing your arms and shoulders to rest in a relaxed position, preventing your shoulder muscles from becoming stiff and tight, so make sure that the next time you buy an ergonomic chair that it has armrests!

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