Effects of backrest design on biomechanics and comfort during seated work
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The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of backrest configuration on seatpan and backrest pressure, spinal posture, and comfort. Thirty volunteers (15 male, 15 female) typed a standardized text passage while seated at a computer workstation in five backrest configurations: chair only, chair with a supplementary backrest, and with each of three lumbar pad thicknesses. Pressure, lumbar and cervical angles were collected during 15-min trials. Subjective data were collected during each trial and at the end of the entire protocol. The addition of a supplementary backrest to a standard chair reduced peak and average pressure on the back by 35% and 20%, respectively (P<0.02). Lumbar lordosis was observed only when lumbar pads were used, being greatest with the large pad. Participants preferred backrest configurations that had lower pressure on the back and less lordotic lumbar posture (backrest only or 3 cm lumbar pad), regardless of anthropometrics. Comfort was rated highest in conditions that would not necessarily be considered biomechanically ideal. Further delineation between specific comfort and objective seating variables is required to effectively reduce and prevent low back pain.
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