Why Your Office Chair Is Causing You Back Pain

January 31, 2020 5 min read

You know those shooting pains up and down your sides? Or that constant ache on your lower back? That’s all because of your office chair. A good office chair for back pain will help reduce these symptoms, but first; you need to identify the problem.

The modern working lifestyle was built to ensure efficiency, which means that it never took comfort into consideration. Only now, after such a long while, are we finally starting to take ergonomics into consideration. However, it’s not too late.

Office furniture – most especially the chair – needs to be selected on the basis of best lumbar support, orthopedic comfort, and adjustability. It’s because your chair lacks all of these qualities that you end up suffering through back pains in the long run. Moreover, sitting in the same position for hours on end can put a lot of stress on your back. There are a couple more reasons why your office chair is causing you back pain, so let’s take a look:

What’s the problem?

The main problem with why office chairs are the main cause of back pains is because you sit in them all day long. This basically puts a huge amount of pressure on the disks of your spine – 3 times more than when you’re walking or standing. Additionally, bad spinal support can result in poor posture, which increases the pressure on your back even more. The way that we sit on the chair can be another reason why it’s causing us back pain. Just the angle and positioning of your body can stress out the joints and tissues along your back, which may cause aching.

What’s the solution?

Even if your chair’s got some built-in lumbar support, that doesn’t mean that your back is going to totally fine. In fact, good lumbar support does nothing for many people. It’s all about the way you sit – and ultimately, the way you can adjust your office chair. Further, let’s take a look at how body positioning and chair adjustability can make a lot of difference in your back pain:

Body positioning tips

No office chair can stop your back from aching if your posture and way of sitting are bad from the get go. You may think that this is an inevitable set-back that every office worker suffers through in the long run, but you’ll be surprised with what a few small adjustments can do. Here’s what you can do to make your sitting position better:

  • No hunching on slouching: Note that your office hours are not the only time that you’re sitting – count in the hours that you sit at home, during commute, and even during other times. This much sitting is unhealthy, but one small change can make a bit of difference. You have to make sure that your head is always positioned straight on top of your neck. Don’t angle it down while typing or reading. It’s the most probable way to avoid bad posture.

 

  • Keep alternating posture: There’s no particular way to sit correctly on an office chair, but what you can do is alternate your posture regularly, so that the stressed out joints and disks along your spine can get a bit of breather along the way.

 

  • Support the shoulders and back: No matter what office chair you use, it’s important to make sure that your back and shoulder are supported most of the time. This helps relieve much of the tension within the muscles and alleviates the pain a lot.

 

(Pro tip: wear flat shoes and keep them firmly on the ground while sitting. It will take some of the pressure off your lower back.)

 

(Pro tip 2: Take a break! Standing up and walking around after every hour or so is a great way to take some of the stress off your back.)

Best office chair for back pain

Now that you know how to sit properly, it’s time to understand exactly what kind of an office chair you need to get rid of your back pain. Let’s take a look:

  • Excellent lumbar support: Your spine is not actually straight. In fact, it’s actually curved at the base, and keeping this part of your back upright is what puts the most amount of stress on your body. This is where good lumbar support comes in. The best office chair for back pain would have a back that provides great lumbar support. It will naturally support the curvature of your spine, which would automatically relieve much of the pain in your back.

 

  • Best supporting gear: If you position your body just right, you can take a lot of tension out of your back just by supporting your limbs on various parts of the chair. An ergonomic office chair can help you do that successfully. For example, elbow supports can considerably lessen the strain on your neck. Moreover, if your elbows are too far away from your body, you’ll automatically feel the discomfort. Therefore, adjustable armrests are a must have. A footrest can help alleviate lower back tension by bending your knees at a right angle.

 

  • Height adjustability does volumes: The little knobs and lever at the base of your office chair are there for a reason. In simple terms, adjusting the height of the chair can help you change the angle of your hip joint when you sit. This, in turn, effects the pelvis position and can possibly help you find a sitting position that complements the curve of your spine. But you need to keep on tinkering to find that perfect sweet spot.

 

A simple thumb rule to determine that you’ve got the perfect chair height is when your feet are firmly on the ground. This means; no dangling. This helps ease the pressure of the back of your thighs.

 

Another rule to go by is that your hips should be at a 90 degree angle with your hips. This means that the upper flat of your thigh should be level with your hips. It can also be lower, but not higher. If your thighs are higher, that puts an inadvertent pressure at the base of your spine, which can cause back pain.

 

Tip: Don’t work on an office chair that’s too high, as it makes back support absolutely redundant by making you lean towards the work surface. This will obviously lead to orthopedic discomfort.

 

  • Go for movement and support: An ergonomic office chair should be able to accommodate different postures. You’ll notice that you don’t sit in the same position all the time – that’s virtually impossible, unless you’re a robot. So, the best office chair for back pain will help you maneuver around. You simply need to try on a few pieces that have the adequate back support and seat span along with adjustable armrests. These three elements will ultimately help you get the best, most orthopedically comfortable sitting position, even when you more around a lot.

The science of proper sitting is an ever expanding genre, and the best office chair for back pain can help reduce some of the factors that ultimately lead to a bad back. We hope that these causes and solutions help you to better evaluate your lifestyle and make the right changes to your office furniture.