Chair, Specialized or Ergonomic: FSA Eligibility
Under IRC 213(d)(1), "medical care includes amounts paid for the diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment, or prevention of disease, or for the purpose of affecting any structure or function of the body." This includes medical equipment, supplies and devices.
What are specialized or ergonomic chairs?
Each time people sit, they are placing stress on the spine and its associated structures, which in turn can compound existing back issues/abnormalities or aid in the development of back pain and other chronic pain issues. Of course, because individuals of every age will sit intermittently while they are awake, be it for meals, driving, working in offices and while watching television, this puts far more stress on the lumbar area of the back than more strenuous activities like standing or walking.
With many more individuals in industrialized countries adopting sedentary lifestyles or spending the vast majority of their work weeks sitting in office chairs, ergonomic office chairs were developed to give individuals the ability to sit in a balanced position that supports the lower back and promotes good posture in any activity (Veritashealth.com).
What makes a chair ergonomic?
For a chair to be considered ergonomic, it must have a series of important features that set it apart from standard chairs. No one type of chair is considered the best and individuals must also consider their body type, spinal shape and history of back issues when choosing a chair. The following features should be included in a proper ergonomic chair:
- Seat Height/Depth Adjustment: These adjustments can ensure that users can keep their feet flat on the floor to maintain proper posture, as well as providing additional leg support to enhance proper blood flow.
- Back Rest/Angle Adjustment: Being able to adjust the height of the back rest will allow users to re-position the contours of the chair to ensure optimal back support, as well as the angles to find the most comfortable position possible.
- Adjustable Arm Supports: Proper arm support and elevation while typing is vital to prevent carpal tunnel and other stress syndromes, so ergonomic chairs should at the very least have height adjusters to help users find optimal positioning.
- Swiveling Base: The ability to turn while seated can help to prevent awkward motions and reduce stress on the back.
- Lumbar Support: Lumbar support is indispensable to provide reinforcement for the lower back and correct posture in an ergonomic chair. As an added bonus, if this section of the chair is independently adjustable from other portions of the seat, this can provide optimal positioning to enhance back support.