Did you know that your desk chair could be responsible for your back pain?
Desk chairs are often the culprits behind bad backs. If you work at a desk, whether it’s in the office or at home, you’re probably spending many hours in your office chair. If it’s not the right chair for you, your physical health may start to suffer.
However, the good news is that it doesn’t have to be that way. There are many different kinds of office chairs for bad backs. In this guide, we’ll show you how to choose the right kind of chair so you can work pain-free. Keep reading to leave back pain behind for good!
What Happens in Your Office Chair
Why are chairs for bad backs necessary, anyway?
The truth about sitting at a desk for hours at a time is that many unpleasant things start to happen to your body, which can quickly lead to back pain. Here’s what happens while you’re working away at your desk.
1. Your Muscles Disappear
Your muscles can literally start to waste away when you spend lots of time in a chair.
The most obvious effect is on your leg muscles, which are doing nothing at all while you sit. However, depending on your chair type and your sitting position, your core muscles can also start to weaken while you’re at work. This is a huge contributor to back pain.
The total number of hours you sit doesn’t matter so much as how many of those hours were uninterrupted. If you stand up at least once every half hour, your muscles can retain more of their strength.
2. Your Nerves Get Messed Up
Even when sitting feels comfortable, it can be messing with your nerves.
Sitting for a long period of time isn’t natural – humans actually didn’t evolve to sit on chairs. This position can cause pinched and strained nerves, which can cause pain in many different parts of the body, including your back.
If you’re sitting in the same position for a long time, your muscles start to contract. When they do, the nerves close to that muscle tend to go along with it, and you’ll end up with a painful spasm that often affects the back and shoulders.
3. You Start to Slouch
When people don’t use office chairs for bad backs, their normal chairs can cause them to slouch over while they work.
You might consciously know what proper sitting posture is. Your shoulders should be relaxed down, your eyes should be level to your computer screen, and your back should be straight. But if your chair doesn’t encourage this position, you’ll start to hunch over without even realizing it.
Even if you start out with great posture, eventually, the attention to your to-do list will take over and you won’t be able to maintain it. This slouch means that gravity can start to pull your head forward and your spine curves over. Soon, you’ll probably start feeling pain in your back.
Your spine has a natural, slightly curved shape that it strives to maintain. However, many office chair designs work against the spine, not with it. Your brain and skull are heavy, and when your head is pushed forward in a slouch, it forces your spine into an even more unnatural position.
However, chairs for bad backs keep your spine in the straight up-and-down position that it’s supposed to be in, making it easy to avoid back pain no matter what your workday demands are.
How to Find Chairs for Bad Backs
Now that you know why they’re so important, how can you find the perfect office chairs for bad backs? Here are some of the top things to look for.
1. Height of Seat
The seat height of a good office chair should be easy to adjust. Many chairs have pneumatic levers so you can change the height as needed.
A range of between 16 and 21 inches off the floor is usually ideal. Adjust the chair so your feet are flat on the floor, with thighs parallel to the floor. Your arms should be about level with the top of your desk.
2. Seat Size
The seat also needs to be the proper depth and width for you to sit comfortably. Most office chairs for bad backs are about 17 to 20 inches wide, which works for most people.
Depth is measured from the front of the seat to the back. The right depth allows you to put your back right against the backrest while still having about two to four inches between the seat and the back of your knees. The amount of tilt the chair has forward or back also needs to be adjustable.
3. Lower Back Support
Lumbar support is one of the most important things in chairs for bad backs.
The lumbar section of your spine curves in a bit, and when you sit for a long period of time without any support for that curve, you slouch, which makes the curve flatten out. This causes lower back strain that can become painful and lead to other complications.
The right chair for you will have lumbar adjustments for the depth and height, so you can perfectly fit the chair to the unique curve of your back.
The backrest is another important section of a chair that will help prevent back pain. Look for a chair with a backrest between 12 and 19 inches wide.
If possible, look for a chair that has a backrest that’s separate from the rest of the seat, so you can change its angle and height as needed. If the seat and the backrest are attached, make sure you can at least adjust the angle of the backrest so it will give you the proper lower back support.
Say Goodbye to Work-Related Back Pain
When you invest in chairs for bad backs, you won’t have to suffer through any more spasms, pinched nerves, or general soreness after a day at work.
Getting up and moving around throughout the day helps too, but the right chair really makes all the difference. Looking for more ideas to combat back pain? Check out our complete guide to getting rid of back pain here.