A pilot investigation into the effects of different office chairs on spinal angles

Eur Spine J. 2012 May;21 Suppl 2(Suppl 2):S165-70. doi: 10.1007/s00586-012-2189-z. Epub 2012 Feb 17.


Purpose: To investigate the effects of four office chairs on the postural angles of the lumbopelvic and cervical regions.

Research question: Which chair(s) produce an "ideal" spinal posture?

Methods: An experimental same subject design was used involving healthy subjects (n = 14) who conducted a typing task whilst sitting on four different office chairs; two "dynamic" chairs (Vari-Kneeler and Swopper), and two static chairs (Saddle and Standard Office with back removed). Data collection was via digital photogrammetry, measuring pelvic and lumbar angles, neck angle and head tilt which were then analysed within MatLab. A repeated measures ANOVA with Bonferroni corrections for multiple comparisons was conducted.

Results: Statistically significant differences were identified for posterior pelvic tilt and lumbar lordosis between the Vari-Kneeler and Swopper chairs (p = 0.006, p = 0.001) and the Vari-Kneeler and Standard Office chairs (p = 0.000, 0.000); and also for neck angle and head tilt between the Vari-Kneeler and Swopper chairs (p = 0.000, p = 0.000), the Vari-Kneeler and Saddle chairs (p = 0.002, p = 0.001), the Standard Office and Swopper chairs (p = 0.000, p = 0.000), and the Standard Office and Saddle chairs (p = 0.005, p = 0.001). This study confirms a within region association between posterior pelvic tilt and lumbar lordosis, and between neck angle and head tilt. It was noted that an ideal lumbopelvic position does not always result in a corresponding ideal cervical position resulting in a spinal alignment mismatch.

Conclusion: In this study, the most appropriate posture for the lumbopelvic region was produced by the Saddle chair and for the cervical region by both the Saddle and Swopper chairs. No chair consistently produced an ideal posture across all regions, although the Saddle chair created the best posture of those chairs studied. Chair selection should be based on individual need.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Analysis of Variance
  • Ergonomics*
  • Female
  • Head / anatomy & histology
  • Humans
  • Interior Design and Furnishings / classification*
  • Lumbar Vertebrae / anatomy & histology
  • Male
  • Neck / anatomy & histology
  • Pelvic Bones / anatomy & histology
  • Photogrammetry*
  • Pilot Projects
  • Posture*
  • Spine / anatomy & histology*
  • Young Adult