Why Are Some Office Chairs a Pain on the Back?

Why a lot of people actually don’t use the backrest when sitting on an office chair?

Most office chairs have a backrest. 

But the reality is, not all people are using it. 

It’s intriguing because a backrest is supposed to add comfort. Sitting upright without something to lean against can be tiring.

The lack of back support can disrupt your posture. And it can result in soreness and pain at the end of the day. 

Well, unless you have very strong core muscles, then you can do it for a couple of hours without a backrest. And unless you have trained your back to achieve a neutral position even with a backrest, good for you.

But only a small percentage of the population belongs to that category. And even with strong core muscles, your back can still get sore after sitting for a long time.

So we are going to see what’s the primary reason why a lot do not actually use the backrest of their office chair.

Normal office chairs are not comfortable for the back

There are two features that non-ergonomic office chairs lack. And these make them very uncomfortable for the back, that’s why it’s better not to use them at all.

Lack of adjustable lumbar support

An ergonomic office chair without sufficient and proper lumbar support will help you sit for as long as you need without your back getting sore. Some ergonomic office chairs such as the Cosm might not have adjustable lumbar support, but it is designed in such a way that it follows your every movement. 

Office chairs like the Fern or Steelcase Gesture, though lacking a more adjustable lumbar support, are very flexible and shaped after your back. So it’s fluid moves with you and can provide great lumbar support. 

fern office chair

Now, non-ergonomic office chairs lack this feature. They don’t have adjustable lumbar support nor do they have a backrest that is designed to move with you. 

Most even have a more rigid material and the backrest is shaped more like upright rather than following the normal curvature of the spine.

So when you lean your back against it, you will be assuming a too upright position than a neutral one. The normal posture of your spine should not be too straight, it’s more of an S shape. And most ergonomic chairs are shaped after the spine so that they can help you achieve a neutral posture.

Tilt locking recline

The body is designed to move. 

So even if you are seated, moving will make you last longer in the chair. 

And to be able to move while seated, the chair has to be able to recline, rock back and forth, or even tilt. 

More premium chairs like the Aeron have a synchro-tilt and a forward tilt mechanism that makes it sublime for your lower back. 

Aeron chair
Aeron chair

Other ergonomic chairs either have a recline function, a forward tilt, or a synchro-tilt. These features will allow you to move your body, change positions even while you are steamed.

And a non-ergonomic chair does not have these. It’s either you sit or stand up.

Using the backrest of a non-ergonomic chair can actually hurt your back and your entire body

Unless you are using an “ergonomic office chair”, it’s better to not use the backrest.

Normal office chairs lack the ergonomics that can make the chair comfortable for working long hours. Even if you’re just going to sit for two hours, you will be able to tell the difference between a regular office chair and an ergonomic one.

Regular office chairs also lack the adjustable features that can help you find a more comfortable spot. Adjustability is one of the major keys to a comfortable seating experience.

And there are uncomfortable things that can happen if you’ll just use an office chair that lacks ergonomics

A chair without the proper lumbar support will force you to slouch

And slouching can result in joint pain and the disc pressure is also increased. So sitting on the wrong chair will also feel the same as standing for a prolonged time. When you sit, your lumbar curves. And when the backrest is flat, this will force your hips to flatten and move forward. So that will result in slouching.

No movement is bad for your back

Your body’s design to move. That still applies even when you’re seated.  

A recline function allows you to do just that. And this prevents your muscles from getting tired especially if you’re going to burn the midnight oil.

Injecting mini movements will also help strengthen your core and improve blood circulation. This will also lead to increased productivity since you’ll have blood flowing to your entire body. 

Is it bad to sit on a chair without a backrest?

So is it better to sit on a stool or a backless chair?

A normal office chair will force you to slouch. You are bound to get tired if you’re using a backless chair. Though if you’ll be able to realign your spine properly and use the stool just for a few hours, it is better than using a non-ergonomic chair.

ergonomic stool
An ergonomic stool

But not all stools or backless chairs are okay, ergonomic stools will be able to provide a better seating experience. 

So those are the reasons why a lot of people actually do not use the backrest of the non-ergonomic office chairs.

So this question arises, is it ok then to use a chair without a backrest? Is it healthier to go backless?

Not really. You will slouch eventually. Your body is not designed to sit for an extended period. And as we have mentioned above, even if you have a strong core, you’re bound to get tired soon.

That’s why even if a stool may be better than a regular office chair, do not just buy any stool. Go for ergonomic backless chairs. 

And here are our favorites.

This has a very comfortable cushion, not too soft and not too firm. A too soft cushion can be bad for our back, especially when it doesn’t have any backrest. You also will not feel a tipping feeling like what you often experience with most non-regular stools.

And the best part is, you also have the option to use this with a backrest. 

This backless stool has a wide height range and can be used by taller folks. We also love the soft to firm cushion and the chair swivels seamlessly up to 360 degrees. So this stool allows for more movement and can get the blood flowing. 

The saddle seat of this stool helps relieve pressure from the lumbar. Saddle seats can somehow promote a neutral seating position.

How can you keep a proper seating posture?

Assuming a neutral stance will not only make you last longer in front of the computer but will also spare you from lingering back pain.

Whether you’re gaming, online schooling, or working from home, a proper sitting posture is very important. And you have to know how to sit properly. And here are additional tips to help you maintain just that

  1. Avoid cross sitting

You know by now that you have to keep both feet flat on the floor. Cross sitting will prevent just that. And when you cross your feet, you’re putting too much pressure on the peroneal nerve. This can cause an annoying tingling sensation on the legs and can disrupt your posture.

  1. Avoid cradling the phone between your shoulder and ear

This can lead to neck strain. So use the phone property by holding it with your hand.

  1. Use bifocal glasses

Using bifocal glasses will allow you to see everything in front of the computer without the need to lift your head. 

Lifting your head can lead to neck strain. 

Take breaks, stand up from time to time.

Even if you are using an ergonomic chair with a recline function, taking short breaks can help prevent muscle strain.

Final Say

Non-ergonomic chairs can be really bad for your back. 

That’s why you have to invest in ergonomic office chairs. 

Do your back a favor. 

And it’s easier now to find a suitable ergonomic chair depending on your budget and needs. There is literally a smorgasbord of choices out there.  

And while sitting on an ergonomic stool is better than sitting on a non-ergonomic office chair, you can only sit on a stool for a couple of hours.