Sitting may not be exhausting, but it brings about its own challenges. If you’re not sitting down properly, you’ll start to feel aches and pains—not just in your lower back, but even in your neck and shoulders.
That can’t be comfortable.
Fortunately, there are several things you can do about this. Besides doing a bit of stretching and giving yourself short breaks, you can also take a closer look at the chair you’re currently using.
The use of office chairs isn’t limited to a corporate setting. With more people now working from home, it’s something you can find in most home offices. It’s just as important to have a high-quality chair at home.
People are also focusing more on ergonomics and wellbeing, so it’s not surprising that they have become more discerning about the types of chairs they use.
If you take some time to observe, you’ll realize how many different office chairs are available in the market these days.
Some are set apart by the material used to manufacture them—whether traditional leather or modern mesh. Others offer specific features not found in the majority.
A feature that often sets some office chairs apart from others is the presence of a headrest, which is great for preventing and alleviating aches and pains.
Let’s look at what kind of a difference a headrest makes, how to use it properly, and how to adjust it to fit your needs.
Are you ready? Here we go!
Table of Contents
- Should I Use a Headrest for My Office Chair?
- How to Properly and Effectively Use a Headrest
- How to Adjust Your Chair’s Headrest
- In Conclusion
Should I Use a Headrest for My Office Chair?
There’s no straight answer for this—it mainly depends on how much time you spend using your chair. Headrests are best for seats you use for long periods. If your job usually has you running around or doing work on the field, you may not be able to maximize their use.
If, however, your job requires you to work on your desk for extended periods, having a headrest can bring a different level of comfort. There are several benefits brought about by using an office chair with a headrest.
Here are some of them.
They help with your posture.
When we first sit down, we typically have good posture. The longer we stay in the same position, the more we begin to slouch without being aware of it.
Sitting on a chair with a headrest encourages you to sit upright. Even when you begin to feel fatigued, its presence makes you use it naturally. Instead of slouching, a headrest allows you to lean back slightly and rest your head in an upright position.
They give more comfort from adjustability.
Ergonomic chairs are typically more comfortable than their traditional counterparts. Manufacturers specifically designed them to provide rest to the parts of your body that are prone to getting stressed.
Another reason is that ergonomic chairs have many adjustable parts—and the headrest is one of them. It lets you move the headrest to any angle and height to fit your requirements. It means you can position according to what your body needs in terms of support.
They provide relief from muscle aches in your neck.
Neck pains often spring from being too tired. One of the easiest ways to alleviate this is to rest your neck and head for a few minutes.
In this light, your office chair’s headrest becomes useful. It provides a surface to rest your head, which allows your neck muscles to relax. It decreases the amount of discomfort you experience because the muscles on your neck get a break from supporting the weight of your head.
They allow you to take small breaks throughout the day.
Too much of a good thing doesn’t always lead to the best results. Taking short breaks throughout your workday is crucial to keeping your creative and cognitive functions at their optimal level.
The difficulty with breaks is that they can end up running longer than you intended them to be. Using an ergonomic chair allows you to take a breather without necessarily running into other distractions.
Some chairs even allow you to recline, allowing you more rest. With a headrest, your head won’t hang awkwardly even if your chair’s in this position.
They increase your productivity at work.
Being more comfortable in your chair allows you to do more uninterrupted work. It also prevents distractions brought about by muscle aches. It makes you more efficient and provides an environment that makes you effective at what you do.
Instead of having your attention focused on how to make yourself feel better, you can devote this to your tasks at hand. The chair and its headrest take care of you while you take care of your deliverables.
How to Properly and Effectively Use a Headrest
When it comes to having the correct sitting position, it begins from the ground up. That means your starting point is your feet. Make sure that they’re flat on the floor when you’re sitting down.
Then it becomes a combination of how you position your body and how you organize your desk. Sometimes a comfortable sitting position doesn’t require you to adjust your form—it means changing the height of your desk or the distance of your laptop.
You have the appropriate working position when you’re able to keep your head over your shoulders and not in front of them (if this is the case, you’ll find yourself slouching in no time). A headrest helps with this as well—leaning your head against it prevents you from unnecessarily hunching forward.
Here are several things to keep in mind to make sure you’re using your headrest correctly:
- Your headrest should sit slightly forward of the chair’s back. This position allows it to meet the natural resting place of your head. It should also be at a slight angle, so it matches the curve of your neck.
- If your headrest is concave, its purpose is to cradle the back of your head as you lean back. Some are convex and should sit at the base of your skull.
- Adjust the headrest to the base of the back of your neck. You shouldn’t feel like your head is pushed forward or downward. If you get these sensations, it means you need to adjust the headrest’s position.
How to Adjust Your Chair’s Headrest
Within the niche of office chairs that have headrests, you’ll find various styles. Depending on how your chair is designed, you’ll have to adjust it in different ways. Here are three popular headrest designs and how you can move each one.
Design 1: Built-In Headrests
Chairs that have built-in headrests have tall backrests. They go all the way past your head, allowing the top portion to double as a headrest.
The challenge with design is it doesn’t have any adjustability since the headrest connects to the rest of the chair.
To use the headrest, you need to lean back until the back of your head touches it. It may also end up pushing your head forward if it doesn’t fit your height.
You have to make yourself fit the chair, not the other way around—unfortunately, this is in direct conflict with the concept of an ergonomic chair.
Design 2: Height Adjustable Headrests
Unlike built-in designs, height-adjustable headrests offer some level of adjustability. As its name implies, you can reposition the headrest—it can either go up or down.
The crucial thing is to make sure it fits the curve of your neck or the back of your head, depending on the style of your office chair.
Adjusting these headrests is straightforward—a gentle push or pull should move it to the correct height. Once you reposition the headrest, make sure to test it to ensure it fits your build.
One limitation, however, is that you can’t change the angle of the headrest’s pad. It may lead to discomfort in the long run.
Design 3: Fully Adjustable Headrests
Fully adjustable headrests give you the most adjustability. You can move the pad up and down to fit your height. You can also adjust its angle to match the curvature of your neck.
The process of adjusting the headrest’s height is similar to height-adjustable designs—a push or a pull puts it in the appropriate position. Holding the pad and tilting it up and down allows you to change the angle.
You can find these kinds of headrests on high-end ergonomic chairs. If your work requires you to be seated for long periods—around 10 hours a day—it may be worth the investment.
Headrests are great features available in ergonomic chairs.
Although not all headrests are created equal, you don’t necessarily have to go for the most expensive type. Consider the kind of work you do—you may find you might not even need one.
That said, however, having an office chair with a headrest—even just a built-in one—gives far more benefits than disadvantages.
So think about it—if it’s something you decide is worth investing money in, there are various styles available to you. All you need to do is to choose one that fits your needs.
My name is Vance, and I am the owner of To Ergonomics. Our mission is to improve your workflow by helping you create a supportive and welcoming environment. We hope that you’ll find what you’re looking for while you’re here.