Are You Suffering Back Pain From Your Office Chair? 3 Quick Tips

Most back pain from office chairs is down to one of the following three reasons.

  1. Poor quality seating
  2. Bad posture when sitting
  3. Lack of movement when working

In this 3 part article we’re going to look into each in detail and consider how best to tackle them and improve your working comfort.

Let’s start with the first of them.

Poor quality seating
Cheap seating is a major contributor to back related pain in the office. The reason this happens is principally down to the use of poor quality materials which aren't designed for long term use. A classic example of this is low quality seat foam which goes hard and flat in a matter of months.

Another problem is missing features making it impossible for users to fine tune adjustments to their needs.

So much for the seat, what about the way we sit?

Bad posture when sitting
This is something that you can take action on, although if you have a really bad chair it may limit your success.

Slouching when you're sitting is a real killer for your back. As you back rounds it puts pressure on your muscle and spine resulting in pain.

It’s a good idea to place your body well back as you sit down so the chair’s back is in contact with and supporting your back. If there is a lumbar support make sure it’s well positioned for lower back comfort.

Craning your neck forwards is a very bad habit that is all too easy to get into. Over time it will cause a lot of neck and shoulder discomfort. The key to avoiding this is to make sure your screen can be read comfortably when you are sitting in a relaxed upright position.

Other sources of back pain come from incorrect seat depth for your legs and also the amount of pressure required to recline comfortably. On many chairs both seat depth and recline tension are fixed and so the only solution will be a new chair.

And the final problem can often be solved by a change of habit.

Lack of movement when working
Far too many people remain seated all day, apart from taking a lunch break.

recline

Woman Reclining In Generation Chair

Although better quality chairs are designed to help you move as you work, even the best of them won’t do your exercise for you.

No matter what seat you have getting out of it regularly and having a stretch or taking a short walk is vital. We aren't designed to be fixed in one posture for hours at a time. You should aim to get up out of your chair every 30 minutes or so and do some simple stretches and maybe walk around the office.

working

Man Working In Leap Chair

Sitting at 90 degrees used to be common advice for office workers. Nowadays a more open sitting angle is recommended. Research by Woodend Hospital in Aberdeen Scotland found that an angle of 135 degrees body to thigh seating position reduced the strain on the spine and its ligaments.

While this is good advice, it’s simply not possible with most office chairs. Even if you recline in them to work they tip your legs upwards making it very difficult to remain in contact with your work.

Happily, some modern chairs like the Knoll Generation and Steelcase Leap will allow the user to work in this more open angled position.

In conclusion
Back pain in the office is usually caused by one of these 3 reasons:

  • Poor quality seating
  • Bad posture when sitting
  • Lack of movement when working

With a little awareness it’s usually fairly easy to spot the problem and take action to sort things out.

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3 Responses to “Are You Suffering Back Pain From Your Office Chair? 3 Quick Tips”

  1. I’ve been looking for office chairs to improve my posture at work i’ve found some mesh office chairs from http://www.decorfurniture.co.uk/office-furniture/gt-mesh-office-chair.html but i don’t if they are any good i don’t want to spend money a chair if it is isn’t going to improve. From the style of the chair it does look like it will help. Are mesh office chairs any good for posture?

  2. Without seeing these chairs it’s difficult to know if they are any good. Looking at the price I think it’s unlikely, especially when you consider many manufacturers would charge more for a headrest than this chair costs including its headrest.

    Good quality mesh chairs are fine as the mesh is designed to support you properly. However they would cost considerably more than these ones.

  3. Ok Thanks for your help.

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