If you have been spending eight or more hours a day sitting in an uncomfortable office chair, the odds are that your back and other body parts are letting you know it. Your physical health can be greatly jeopardised if you’re sitting for long periods in a chair that is not ergonomically designed.

A badly designed chair can lead to a whole host of ailments such as poor posture, fatigue, back pain, arm pain, shoulder pain, neck pain and leg pain. Here are the top features of the most comfortable office chairs.

1. Backrest

A backrest can either be separate or combined with the seat. If the backrest is separate from the seat, it must be adjustable. You should also be able to make the adjustments to both its angle and height. The height adjustment provides support for the lumbar portion of your lower back. Backrests should ideally be 12-19 inches in width and designed to support the curve of your spine, especially in the region of the lower spine. If the chair is manufactured with a combined backrest and seat, the backrest should be adjustable in both forward and backward angles. In such chairs, the backrest must have a locking mechanism to hold it in place once you have decided upon a good position.

2. Seat height

The height of a good office chair must be easily adjustable; it should have a pneumatic adjustment lever. A good office chair should have a height of 16-21 inches from the floor. Such height will not only allow you to keep your thighs parallel to the floor, but also keep your feet flat on floor. This height also allows your forearms to be level with the work surface.

3. Seat pan characteristics

The lower area of your spine has a natural curve. Extended periods in a seated position, especially with the right support, tends to flatten this inward curve and places unnatural strain on this sensitive area. Your weight needs to be evenly distributed on the seat pan. Look out for rounded edges. The seat should also extend an inch or more from both sides of your hips for best comfort. The seat pan should also adjust for forward or back-ward tilt to allow room for posture changes and reduce pressure on the back of your thighs.

4. Material

A good chair should be made of strong durable material. It should also be designed with sufficient padding on the seat and back, especially where the lower back makes contact with the chair. Materials that breathe and dissipate moisture and heat are the best.

5. Armrest benefits

Armrests help reduce pressure on your lower back. Even better if they have adjustable width & height to help support several tasks such as reading and writing. This will help ease shoulder and neck tension and prevent carpal-tunnel syndrome. The armrest should be well contoured, broad, properly cushioned and of course, comfortable.

6. Stability

Get an office chair on wheels’ that swivel to avoid too much twisting and stretching of your own spine. A 5-point base won’t tip over when reclining. Look for hard casters that will allow stable movement even when the office chair is reclined or locked into different positions.