INTERVIEWS

The following are the individual interviews I conducted with people who suffer from back problems, as well as my responses to the same questions:

INTERVIEW 1

NAME:

Sheila Roussel: Jewellery Student at DJCAD (Year 2).

DETAIL OF TYPE OF BACK PAIN:

Sheila suffers from upper back pain, mostly between the shoulder blades. The pain is more pronounced in a twisting motion, rather than straight bending. She has suffered with this pain for about 4 years, and has sought advice from Physiotherapists, Chiropractitioners and Osteopaths throughout this period. During this time she has been advised to do certain exercises and such activities as Yoga, but they have not helped significantly.

She believes the pain is probably due to the leaning forward / hunched over posture she habitually takes up when working on her jewellery pieces or the computer.

KNEELING CHAIR:

Sheila has used a kneeling chair in the past. Unfortunately the space where she was trying to work was extremely cramped and there was insufficient room to manoeuvre the chair under the desk so she continued to hunch forward whilst working.

She uses a D-shaped Lumbar Support in her car, because she finds the bucket-shaped seats particularly uncomfortable. They also have curved springy mesh / plastic nodule slip-over backrests on their kitchen stools, as these too are extremely hard and uncomfortable.

She finds a semi-reclined position comfortable (Pelvic angle of approx. 135 o).

PROPOSED PROJECT:

She would consider the type of chair I’m proposing to be a good idea.

In aesthetic terms to convey comfort and relaxation she would consider padding and upholstery essential, perhaps in a warm, soft, textured fabric. Personally she would prefer something coloured – definitely not black! She would prefer a modern contemporary look, perhaps a moulded wood shell exterior with internal soft padding

INTERVIEW 2

NAME:

Kirsty Braes: Interior and Environmental Design Student at DJCAD (Year 4).

DETAIL OF TYPE OF BACK PAIN:

Kirsty has suffered from middle back pain for 5 – 6 years. It is a problem that several members of her family suffer from. She has consulted a Physiotherapist, and has been advised to do certain exercises.

She believes the pain is due to the heavy lifting she does whilst caring for her horses. (One would presume as a keen rider that she probably has good posture.)

KNEELING CHAIR:

Kirsty has never used a kneeling chair, or anything else that might alleviate pain by altering her posture.

PROPOSED PROJECT:

She would be interested in the type of chair I’m proposing, and could envision a range of different chairs.

Practically she feels such a design would need to be reasonably light-weight and not too bulky, so it could be moved easily by someone with back pain. Perhaps something sculptural, shaped to give support, but padded, because it must look comfy.

INTERVIEW 3

NAME:

Lindy Collings: Interior and Environmental Design Student at DJCAD (Year 3).

DETAIL OF TYPE OF BACK PAIN:

Lindy has suffered from lower back pain for ‘years and years’. She has consulted her doctor about the problem, who has advised her on exercises to stretch her back.

She believes the pain is posture related. She has to both stand for long periods when working in a shop, and sit for long periods whilst doing her college work.

KNEELING CHAIR:

Lindy has never used a kneeling chair, but she does use lumbar support. She finds lying flat comfortable.

PROPOSED PROJECT:

Because of her back pain, she might be interested in the type of chair I’m proposing.

In terms of aesthetics, Lindy would prefer a soft, neutral, creamy-coloured cocoon that reminds her of baby stuff. She would like it to be substantial but not too bulky, solid enough that she could feel a sense of safety. She would also like something a little intriguing, different and sculptural.

MY RESPONSE

NAME:

Frances Wright : Interior and Environmental Design Student at DJCAD (Year 3).

DETAIL OF TYPE OF BACK PAIN:

I have suffered from lower back pain on and off for nearly 20 years. At points I have hurt my back (usually gardening or doing other heavy lifting) and suffered severe pain for a few months, but usually it’s a chronic pain (occasionally with sciatica down my left leg) that just makes me generally uncomfortable.

I had never consulted a doctor until earlier this year when I injured my neck at karate. The physiotherapist gave me numerous exercises to encourage flexibility that actually made my situation worse, and on later consultation she realised that I have hypermobile joints, notably in my back, legs and fingers. This means that my ligaments are loose and my joints can therefore move beyond what are considered normal limits. My back pain results from the vertebrae grating against each other as I move, as a result of this. I have been advised to strengthen my core muscles to counteract my natural flexibility.

I believe the pain is also posture related, because I get very uncomfortable and stiff after even a short time seated in traditional chairs, lounging or lying down. I need to keep moving.

KNEELING CHAIR:

I have used a kneeling chair at home for the last 20 years and I have found that it is the only chair I can sit in for a long period without becoming uncomfortable or feeling pain in my lower back. It automatically aligns my spine, and I find the position relieves my pain.

Despite having broken my kneecap 15 years ago, the kneeling position causes no discomfort because the weight mostly travels straight down the spine, and any other weight is borne on the shin not the knee. I do find kneeling on a hard surface uncomfortable in general. I find it more comfortable to be able to move and flex my feet and don’t really find the kneeling position in any way awkward – except when trying to use a sewing machine!

I feel most comfortable when I am up and moving about.

PROPOSED PROJECT:

I am interested in the type of chair I’m proposing, because I would like to be able to sit in an easy chair to watch TV, socialise or read and there doesn’t really seem to be anything like that on the market.

The chair will have to convey both support and comfort.

My natural instinct is towards a piece that is modern, contemporary and semi-sculptural in form, whilst not being too heavy or too lightweight. Padding and upholstery are essential to create a sense of comfort and relaxation, perhaps contrasting a solid structural shell (timber) with a soft textured or deeply piled seat. Colours should be warm and bold (eg. magenta purple) or neutral and soothing (eg. cream).

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