Is there really a need for an office chair if you have back pain? And why your regular chair can be debilitating?
Would a soft lumbar pillow be enough to alleviate the pain?
Sadly no. Back pain isn’t one dimensional. And a lack of a soft cushion on your lower back isn’t the only reason why there’s pain. Let’s take a quick look at why your ordinary chair isn’t enough.
Why your chair can be straining your back
To help you understand the importance of an office chair, let’s try to dissect lumbar pain caused by prolonged sitting.
Your back is pressing too flat against the chair
Regular chairs have a flat and one-dimensional backrest. So the tendency is your spine will press flatly against it.
Remember that your spine has a natural curve. When using a regular chair, you’re forcing your back to conform to the shape of the backseat. So what’s happening here is you’re trying to deviate from the normal curve of your spine. Thus, it results in lower back pain.
Regular chairs are not adjustable
Regular chairs cannot be adjusted in any way. From the height of the chair, the backrest, and even the armrests, everything is static. Our body is designed to move. And when you’re confined in a static vessel, you’re depriving your body of its natural tendencies.
This can put too much pressure not just on your back, but on your shoulders, neck, legs and arms too.
Regular chairs encourage slouching
It’s either from the material of the chair or your spine just got tired of lying flat against the backrest. And no matter how hard you try, slouching is inevitable.
And when you slouch, it can overstretch your spine. Also, it can strain the surrounding ligaments. And these are perfect recipes for grand back pain.
The seat can either be too firm or too soft
A seat that’s too firm can hurt your spine. It’s also numbing for your tailbone. While a cushion that’s too soft lacks the needed support. And this can lead to poor posture and back pain too.
Lack of support
Sitting for prolonged periods causes immense pressure on your back and entire body. The discs at the base of your pine take the toll. It takes up to three times the load as compared to when you’re standing.
A regular chair doesn’t offer adequate spine support. Most don’t have any at all.
You tend to shift your weight forward
Whether you’re grabbing a pen or reaching for a book, it’s inevitable. You tend to lean forward towards your desk whenever you’re working. And a regular chair won’t be able to do anything to support this movement.
Can strain your neck
Since regular chairs are static, the resting eye level for all would be the same. Your regular chair can either be too high or too low for your table. So this forces your neck to be at an uncomfortable angle instead of your eyes gazing straight towards your computers. And this will definitely hurt your neck. And when there’s neck pain, back pain will eventually follow.
Improper angle of the knees
To avoid back pain, your knees should be at a 90-degree angle. An ordinary chair can just lead to any of these two. Either you have your legs hanging from the seat or you have your knees bent too forward from the chair.
What to look for in an office chair
Now we’re clear that a regular chair doesn’t belong in your home office. But how do you know if you’re getting a good office chair?
We’ve listed some of the features that you must look for in an office chair.
Ergonomic chairs are equipped with lumbar support. But it doesn’t necessarily need to be adjustable. There are several types of back support
Portable lumbar support may come in the form of a lumbar pillow. It’s placed in the lower back portion of the chair. And it can be nicely fitted to the curve at your lower back. Sometimes, you may have the option to reduce or add tension to the lumbar pillow.
Oftentimes, a lumbar pillow isn’t enough to provide adequate support. Especially if you have an existing back issue, your back needs more support. That’s why a lumbar pillow is often used in conjunction with other types of support lumbar.
Adjustable back support
Most ergonomic office chairs have this feature. You can adjust the height of the seat. Other office chairs can also be reclined and tilted back. And you can adjust the tension according to your needs.
The adjustable back conforms to the shape and movement of your spine, and not the other way around. So you can always adjust the comfort level of your back relative to your height.
Your regular chair won’t allow this. Oftentimes, you’re stuck with a static backrest that cannot even support your entire back, especially if you’re taller.
The seat height is easily adjustable via a pneumatic seat height adjustment lever. And at a proper height, your legs will be comfortable too. It won’t be hanging from the chair nor would your knees be overextended beyond the seat.
Some office chairs have built-in lumbar support. The chair is sculpted to have an S-Shaped curve that mimics the shape of your spine. So that when you sit, your back won’t press flat against the chair. This design can follow the curve of your spine.
And the S-shaped design also encourages proper posture. Because when you slouch, the curve on your back tends to straighten. And it can easily send you to lumbar pain street.
And to get the best lumbar support for your spine, the width of the backrest should measure between 12 and 19 inches.
Option to move freely
Another factor that distinguishes a regular chair from an office chair is liberty. Office chairs allow your body to move freely, as it’s designed to. Your static chair discourages movement. And the best office chair will allow for more range of motion.
Some office chairs offer a swivel base. It allows you to move from one part of the desk to the other. You can even go around and reach for a notepad without getting off your chair. You can move in a variety of positions without having to leave your chair. This also improves blood circulation and moves tension from your muscles
And some brands offer a flexible material that flows with your body. Whether you’re reaching for a pen or taking calls, these chairs go with your every move. So your arms, shoulders, neck, and back are supported at every angle.
Seat cushions should never be too soft nor too firm.
Office chairs offer support with a seat that has the right firmness. This can support your buttocks without encouraging slouching. Most office chairs are also designed with a waterfall seat. This can remove tension from your legs.
So what do your legs have to do with back pain? As we’ve mentioned earlier, back pain isn’t one dimensional. Tension or leg pain can further lead to lumbar pain. Your muscles and joints are interconnected with each other. And ergonomic chairs understand this network. That’s why they are equipped with a technology that your regular chairs are clearly lacking in.
Comfortable armrests are also an integral part of a good office chair. It can support your elbows and shoulders. In addition, it can also limit tension to your neck area.
Some office chairs have fully adjustable armrests that you can flip up, move to the sides or even adjust the width. While others may have 2D armrests that can be moved up and down. Furthermore, these can be adjusted according to your height. Thus, everything is properly proportioned so there’s minimal chance of tension that can result in back pain.
Why you should ditch your regular chair
Even if you haven’t been feeling that pain yet, it’s bound to happen with a regular chair. There are a lot of reasons why you should opt for an office chair instead. Apart from what we’ve mentioned above, office chairs are equipped with features that combine health benefits and functions as well. It can make you move faster at work too. Thus, resulting in increased productivity.
Furthermore, you should never take back pain for granted. Acute back pain can lead to chronic pain. And this can be debilitating.
And the modern office chairs have eye candy designs that can give your regular chairs a run for their money. And you ‘ll be able to find an office chair that matches your height, weight, and circumstances.
So that is plenty of reasons why you need to buy yourself an office chair. An office chair belongs in an office while your regular chair does not, as simple as that!
What Kind of Chairs Help Reduce Back Pain (we have your back!)
Sitting on a regular chair for a prolonged time will hurt your back. That’s why a lot of people have been making the switch. Ergonomic chairs have become increasingly popular. These chairs are known to provide more support for your back.
Apart from ergonomic chairs, what other kinds of chairs can help reduce back pain? There are several. And we’re going to list them all out in this article.
Your back will love these chairs!
Choosing the right office chair will not only relieve back pain, but it can make you more productive at work too.
Let’s take a look at some of the popular types of office chairs that are nice for your back. It’s high time to make the switch.
Almost everyone is familiar with an ergonomic chair. It’s the most popular alternative to your regular office chair. But what makes an office chair ergonomic?
A chair becomes ergonomic when it can accommodate a wider range of people. So these chairs have an acceptable level of adjustability. Though, it might not suit all people. But there has to be a range from which you can work on. The bottom line, it shouldn’t be static.
Ergonomic chairs offer a neutral position. Meaning they don’t force your back to be in a different angle than what it’s meant to be. It conforms to the natural curve of your spine, hence the word neutral.
And from there, these chairs offer a variety of adjustability depending on your movement. So the headrest, lumbar support, armrest, and back seat height and depth may be adjusted to fit your needs. And these chairs can provide enough support for your spine
The downside? Not all ergonomic chairs can accommodate your height and weight. That’s why you have to do your measurements and see if it matches the range adjustments of the brand.
You have to look for brands that provide great lumbar support such as the Herman Miller Embody. This chair has a unique LiveBack support. Your lumbar flexes as you move, so you can still maintain the natural curve of your spine.
Active sitting chairs
Active sitting chairs encourage movement and strengthen your core. And when you have a strong core, it can protect your back and prevent pain and injuries.
The birth of active chairs was inspired by the use of stability balls. Though stability balls can strengthen your core, it’s not sustainable for an 8-hour use. Stability balls can be uncomfortable. And when you don’t have a strong core to start with, it can send you straight to the floor
So active sitting chairs combined the benefits of a stability ball but tweaked it so that it could be used for a longer period. Active sitting chairs have several advantages:
- Can help you burn calories
- Promotes core engagement
- Encourages frequent movement
- Reduces pressure points
However, these chairs may have some trade-offs. Since you have no choice but to engage your core all the time, some people may still find it uncomfortable. And since these chairs may lack a backrest, they may be too tiring to sit on. Especially if you’re just new to active sitting, it can be a challenge.
The good news is, there are a lot of active sitting chairs that can cater to both the newbie and the seasoned “active sitters.” You may choose active chairs with backrests such as The Core Chair. The backrest is angled at 90 degrees. This prevents you from slouching. As a whole, it can give you the benefits of active sitting while enjoying the comfort of a backrest.
Kneeling chairs offer a huge benefit to those with lumbar lordosis. These chairs are manufactured with angled knee rest. This makes you lean forward as you sit.
The ideal keeling chairs should be set at 20 degrees inclination. This angle offers the most benefit for your back. At this position, your lumbar curvature is the same as when you’re standing. So this relieves tension from your back. And it also prevents spinal compression.
Another advantage of kneeling chairs is that it forces you to engage your core muscles. So it trains your body to maintain proper posture at all times. It’s beneficial in the long run. And if you are used to engaging your core, this will be comfortable for you.
But if you have a bad posture to start with, you might find yourself struggling to maintain a sit-up position in this chair. You actually have your poor posture to blame for that one. But if you want to get work done, this might not be productive for you.
In conclusion, it’s a recommended chair if you’re suffering from lumbar lordosis. Furthermore, if you want to train your body to maintain a proper posture, this is highly recommended. But since your legs are quite compressed on this chair, this is perfect for short term tasks only.
If you’re new to this type of office chair, kneeling chairs with optional backrests such as the Flash Furniture Mobile Leaning Chair is a great option for you.
Sit-stand chairs function in almost the same way as active chairs. But they have some minor differences. Sit-stand chairs are geared toward supporting standing positions. Though they can also be used with a desk when adjusted.
One of the biggest advantages of sit-stand stools is back pain reduction. Sit-stand stools are leaning and tilting forward. This motion tilts the pelvis forward. And this encourages the body to assume its natural S-shaped curvature. This is the neutral position for your spine. And your body is most stable in this position.
Another advantage is that it can promote the burning of calories, the same with an active sitting chair. Sit-stand stool encourages movements, core engagement, and weight loss.
When buying a sit-stand chair, you should look for the following features:
- Seat Height should have a decent range of adjustment levels
- Should have a hip torso angle between 130 and 135 degrees
- Weight capacity
- Must have a strong supportive base
One of the problems, however, is foot fatigue. You can easily remedy this by using an anti-fatigue mat. Or you may purchase a sit-stand stool that has a built-in anti-fatigue mat such as the Ergo Lite.
Saddle chairs and stool
Saddle chairs and stools have a saddle / equestrian style seat, hence the name. These chairs are a bit high compared to your regular office chair. The high seat can provide several benefits for your body.
It puts your thighs at a 13 degree angle. And this is the optimum position where you can maintain the natural lumbar curve. So it’s perfect for those with chronic back pain.
Saddle stools also encourage active sitting. When your core is engaged, you will also develop a stronger back. The design of the seat also doesn’t put any pressure on your legs. So it results in better circulation in your legs too.
We also love how you can easily reach for a pen or your phone at the table. It supports your back whenever you lean forward. And the seta sare rather comfortable with a soft padding
It just has a tiny limitation though. It is adjustable but the lowest level is still quite high for a regular desk. That’s why you can only use a standing desk with the saddle stool.
And one disadvantage we’ve also noticed is that it can create a bit of perineal pressure for men. This can be avoided if you’ll buy the split chair type such as the Kanewell Twin Adjustable stool. It just has a thinner cushion compared to the more popular solid saddle chairs. But men will find the split chair type more comfortable.
You can easily hurt your back with the wrong chair. It causes compression of the spine. And even the simple motion of reaching for a paperclip can also trigger back pain. That’s why you need a chair that can provide you adequate lumbar support. But, how do you find out which one is the best for you, well, let’s see our suggestions
Top 5 office chair for lower back pain this 2020
Has your back pain been bugging you for some time now? It’s quite challenging to focus on what you need to do with all the ache and the soreness. Your regular ergonomic chair might not be providing you the needed lumbar support.
You can end your shift without the nagging pain with the best office chairs for lower back pain. We’ve curated a list of the best brands that can give your back a rest. It’s high time to transition to these chairs.
- Top 19 Best Comfortable Computer Chair For Long Hours
- Wayfair’s high-back office chairs: Top 3 picks in 2020
Let’s look at our top 5 picks for the best office chairs that can prevent low back pain.
Realspace Winsley Mid Back Manager is a stylish ergonomic chair. It’s made from a combination of polyurethane and bonded leather. Aside from the sleek and stylish look, these materials are eco- friendly too. It makes use of a bio-based material that has less impact on the environment
Now, the main advantage is that this chair can provide the needed support for your lumbar. If you sit upright, the cushion provides ample support for your lower back. And if you lean back, it also lends support for your shoulder blades. Hence, preventing back pain.
Furthermore, this mid-back chair follows the normal curvature of your spine. The backrest has a rounded cushion at the lower part. This perfectly supports your lumbar and prevents it from flattening. Also,the S-shaped backrest mimics your body’s shape
In addition, the setup instructions were very easy to follow. It might take you just about 15 minutes to fully set up this chair. And it seems to have a rather good build too. And it can accommodate weight up to 250 lbs.
It’s quite easy to adjust the tilt of the chair. You just need to lift the lever and pull it straight out. But this simple instruction seems to be lacking in the instruction manual. So either you figure it out or watch Youtube instruction videos.
Overall, it’s a professional-looking chair that’s designed to follow the shape of your spine
- Easy to assemble
- Great lumbar support
- Comfortable backrest
- Easy to clean
- Eco-friendly materials
- Doesn’t have an instruction on how to tilt the chair
- Cushion won’t stay firm for long
Where to buy
Modway Articulate chairs are recommended for prolonged sitting. It won’t hurt your back even if you’ve been working for several hours. We found out several features that make it quite a treat for your lumbar and spine.
First, it’s built with passive lumbar support. This type of lumbar support corrects the alignment of your back, spine, neck, hips, and shoulders. Also, it has a mesh back for more breathability.
Secondly, you can tilt the seat back up to 4 inches. You can also adjust the tension of the back seat via the tension knobs. So you can choose the level of firmness that is most comfortable for your back. And for stability, you can fully lock the back seat to the desired position ( upright to 30 degrees).
And other features can add to the convenience and comfort of this ergonomic chair. It can easily be adjusted to fit your height. Even at 6’2, you can still find this chair very comfortable.
In a nutshell, it’s a perfect ergonomic chair for those who consistently experience backaches. Except for the armrest, it provides a wide range of adjustments. And It’s recommended for those with back issues such as scoliosis.
- Well-cushioned seat
- Great lumbar support
- Breathable mesh back
- 360-degree swivel
- The reclining knob is responsive and easy to reach
- The seat adjustment won’t go low enough for shorter people
- Lack of adjustment options for the armrest
- Armrests are too wide apart
Where to buy
This upholstered posh-looking ergonomic chair can be the answer to your backaches. Let’s see what features this chair has that makes it one of the best chairs for back pain.
First off, it has a high back design. Thus, it offers “full” support for your total back, shoulders, and arms. We also find it easier to maintain a proper posture with a high back seat. Since it can fully cover your entire back, it’s easier to stay in an upright position. And of course, if you can maintain proper posture, then your back wouldn’t hurt.
Another advantage is that it has a waterfall seat design. It lessens the pressure on the back of your legs. This adds up to the comfort that you can experience with this chair. Moreover, the chair has an S-shaped design that follows the natural curve of your spine. And the headrest is located exactly where it’s supposed to be. It’s not too low or too high that you need to slow your neck over.
Another great feature is that you can tilt it to up to 120 degrees. So you can get quite comfortable and lounge around in this chair. And you can securely lock it with the tilt knob located beside the seat adjustment levers.
In addition, it has caster wheels. The wheels add to the mobility of the chair so you easily move it on your wooden floors or carpeted office area.
All in all, it’s a comfortable chair with great lumbar support that you can sit on for prolonged hours. And we also love how the cushions stayed firm despite seating on it for more than 8 hours.
- Flip-up arms
- Well-cushioned firm seats
- High back design
- Adequate lumbar support for prolonged seating
- Great headrest position
- 360-degree swivel
- Not heavy duty
- The bonded leather upholstery ages quickly
- Fragile height adjustable levers
Where to buy
- Greatest option: https://www.amazon.com/KADIRYA-High-Back-Office-Chair/dp/B0772S6XWD
This high back chair is highly recommended for those who are suffering from sciatica pain. It has several exclusive features that are beneficial for the back. And you won’t find these in the competition.
To start off, it uses an exclusive technology, the Smart Adaptive Back and Base. The chair automatically adjusts to your body shape and weight. It can follow the normal curve of your spine and the natural movement of your neck. You don’t need to do any manual adjustment for the backrest
Another feature that you’d love is the chair’s 3D armrests. It’s fully adjustable and you can move it up-down, and left-right. Therefore, it can follow your every movement and provide better support for your shoulders too. And these armrests are padded too, so it also feels very comfortable on your wrists.
In addition, it has a weight capacity of 330 lbs. We can feel that it’s quite durable and has a strong build. And if you want a reclining seat, it can tilt it back up to 126 degrees. No matter what position, your back is fully supported with its S-shaped design and waterfall seat edge. And you can also securely lock it in place with the tilt lock.
Overall, we find this ergonomic chair quite a treat for your aching back. The backrest adjusts itself for optimum support. And we highly recommend it for prolonged sitting. Moreover, it’s one of those heavy-duty ergonomic office chairs that are perfect for those who are on the heavier side.
- S-shaped backrest
- Strong build
- Smart adaptive back and base
- Breathable mesh back
- Fully adjustable arm and seat height
- Rotatable headrest
- Durable nylon and glass fiber base
- The seat cannot be tilted forward
Where to buy
- Greatest option: https://www.amazon.com/Argomax-Ergonomic-Adjustable-Headrest-Computer/dp/B081C4VS6Z
Herman Miller Embody chair could perhaps be the most ergonomic chair on our list. We were amazed at how fluid it feels. This posh looking chair follows your every movement, thus preventing back pain.
Priced at above 1000 dollars, it’s an investment that you can make. Furthermore, it’s made in the USA so you can expect that it’s durable and well -built. We also noticed that it has a lot of stainless steel and has a substantial weight to it. So that accounts for the durability of this chair. Let’s see what other features are worth the extra money.
First, it has a fully adjustable seat. You can move it downwards to backward or even up and down. It offers a lot of options for movement. So you’re sure to find one that you’re comfortable with. This chair can also be reclined. And it’s quite easy to transition it to recline with the fully responsive tension knob. It also offers 3 varying recline positions. And you can secure it with the tilt lock.
Secondly, the design of the backseat itself mimics your spine. If you’ll take a closer look at it, the back seat consists of a central spine and ribs. The ribs are flexible so the chair supports the natural movement of your spine. So it won’t go to flat. Instead, it encourages your spine to attain a neutral position.
And the backrest is thin and the top part is bendable. So it literally moves with you and allows for more range of motion.
Another advantage is that since it’s durable, it can accommodate people who are on the heavier side. And it can support a weight of up to 300 lbs.
And lastly, it boasts of a Pixelated Support System. This feature is actually one of the most unique offerings of Herman Miller Embody. The Pixelated Support System. is embedded in the multilayer seat.
What does it do? It ensures proper weight distribution. The pixels act as a net that catches your weight. And these are evenly distributed through the entire seat, thus distributing support to all areas of the seat. That’s why you won’t feel tired or sore even if you’ve been sitting for a long time.
In a nutshell, the Herman Miller Embody is a highly ergonomic chair that moves with you. It’s quite versatile too as it can cater to more people.
- Offers 6 ergonomic positions
- Comfortable both for short and tall people
- Fully assembled
- Durable and well built
- Breathable textile-like fabric
- Fully adjustable seat
- Adjustable armrests
- Large seat
- The seat can use a bit more padding
- Lumbar support isn’t adjustable
Where to buy
- Greatest option: https://www.amazon.com/Herman-Miller-Embody-Chair-CN122AWAAG1G1BB3513/dp/B01DGM7ZKQ
So there we have it! We’ve compiled a list that can give your back a retreat amidst your desk full of paperwork and deadlines.
These office chairs will surely boost your productivity. And your lower back will thank you for it.