Something that many people find confusing when they begin researching certain products is terminology. Certain words are used to describe certain products, which may seem simple and straightforward to manufacturers and marketers but leave the rest of us confused. In this article we are going to discuss the following terms: low-back, mid-back, and high-back.
When I first heard these terms I began picturing chairs in my head. To me, a low-back chair was one whose back rest came up to my lower back. I believed that a mid-back chair was one whose back rest stopped somewhere around the middle of back. I believed a mid-back chair could not possibly have a back rest taller than about 12 inches. I thought that a high-back chair was anything which came higher than the 12-inch maximum I had assigned to the mid-back chair.
For the most part, I was wrong. Yes, low-back chairs typically have shorter back rests than mid-back or high-back chairs. Mid-back chairs typically have shorter back rests than high-back chairs. What is interesting is that low-back chairs actually have back rests which come up to about the middle of your back. Mid-back chairs often feature back rests which extend up to your shoulders. High-back chairs normally include some sort of a head rest.
So, why name them the way they did? It turns out that the terms low-back, mid-back and high-back do not refer to the height of the back rests. Instead, they refer to the area of your back the chair has been designed to support. Let’s take a brief look at each of the three types of chairs so that I may fully explain this concept.
Also commonly referred to as ‘task chairs,’ low-back chairs typically feature back rests which come as high as the middle of your back. They are built to offer support to your lower back. The back rest on these chairs is usually quite small and will flex backward and forward while you are sitting. The entire back rest is designed to be a type of lumbar support.
Most of these chairs are created for people who sit in them for short periods of time, or who maintain movement while in the seated position. They are not often constructed for maximum comfort. They are, instead, an economical option designed to get the job done.
Unfortunately, these chairs do not support your upper back, neck or head. If you have pain or problems in these parts of your back, it may be necessary to look into purchasing a mid-back or high-back chair.