A kneeling chair is a type of chair that produces a more correct postural position in the lower back, when one needs to work for long periods at a time while sitting. A kneeling chair is considered ergonomic. Ergonomics is a field which studies the positions in which people sit or stand, or the repetitive motions people make when performing actions. Ergonomically designed products like the kneeling chair are meant to reduce injury and strain of muscle groups.
Normal chairs tend to keep the back at an awkward angle, and can result in back strain or injury when one has to sit for long periods of time. The kneeling chair is designed to mimic a posture similar to that of one standing. Part of this posture is accomplished by tilting the seat forward about 30 degrees. The tilted seat results in the spine being placed in what is called “neutral,” or similar to the position one with good posture would take while standing.
A bar in front of the kneeling chair, which keeps the knees from sliding forward, reduces some of the weight of sitting on the lower back and hips. The lower legs are underneath the body, with the shins placed on a rest below the hips. The kneeling chair does not really bear weight on the knees but instead distributes the weight bearing between the hips and the shins.
The kneeling chair is very attractive to some who find that using this type of chair helps eliminate stress on the lower back. Those with poor upper body posture may not find the same benefit since the chair has no backrest and will not correct hunching. Those with shin splints may be made uncomfortable by weight being born on the shins in the kneeling chair.
Others feel the kneeling chair is a little limiting since once cannot change positions while in the chair. Also, a little coordination is required to get in and out of the kneeling chair because one has to negotiate the support in front of the knees, as well as the pad supporting the shins. One has to step out of this type of chair, and first attempts may result in tripping.
For those with consistent pain in the lower back, however, the kneeling chair may be a significant help. If lack of ability to change positions is difficult, one could spend part of the day using a kneeling chair, and other parts using a standard office chair. Even part of the day spent in a kneeling chair can result in better posture than in a traditional chair.
Kneeling chairs are now widely available through office supply stores and on the Internet. Many companies have turned to this new variant to help cut down on the days workers may call in sick due to back pain.