Background: This study was prompted by the prevalence of back injury and pain in the working population, particularly amongst workers who are increasingly exposed to sedentary work in industrialised countries, and the corresponding limited evidence regarding the effectiveness of seating designs currently used in the workplace.
Objective: The purpose of this study was to investigate the differences in comfort, productivity, and posture between the Bambach saddle seat and a standard office chair (two chair designs used within the workplace today).
Method: A single system, multiple-baseline research design across a sample of four subjects was used. A withdrawal A1 B1 A2 B2 design was utilised, with the ordering of the sequence varying with each subject. "A" represented the standard office chair, and "B" the Bambach saddle seat.
Results: Discomfort ratings tended to increase over time regardless of the seat being used. However, while the saddle seat provided reduced levels of lower back discomfort, it demonstrated higher discomfort in the lower limbs, particularly the hips and buttocks. There were no significant differences identified in productivity between the two chairs. The saddle seat consistently promoted a greater trunk-to-thigh angle for all subjects, a position associated with optimum sitting posture.
Conclusion: This study has implications for the treatment of low back injury and pain at work, as well as other daily activities that involve prolonged static sitting, such as those incorporated in self maintenance, leisure and rest activities. This study provides health professionals with a systematic investigation of the immediate effects of using both the Bambach saddle seat and standard office chair in sitting. The findings of this study should be considered in future research.