We sit in an office chair for prolonged hours while we are completing any intensive task. After using an office chair for a few hours, our back muscles started to get fatigued and increase the risk of back injury. This raises a question, are office chairs good for your back?
All the modern office chairs are not good for your back. However, ergonomic office chairs with pronounced lumbar back support and optimal ergonomic adjustments will offer good support to your lower back and upper back as well.
In this article, we will discuss the science behind our back and how we can keep our lumbar lordosis while sitting to achieve an optimal sitting experience. I will also recommend a few ergonomic office chairs to consider for your back, so make sure you keep reading!
Why does your back hurt while sitting in an Office Chair?
If you have a desk job, then you probably found yourself hurting your back more than once. You are working on a project, and you forget the time about sitting on the chair, and at the end, you find yourself having a fatigue back muscle.
Back hurts while sitting in an office chair because of a wrong sitting posture and inadequate lumbar support to relax your lower back muscle.
Prolonged and static sitting in this wrong posture with less movement does not provide sufficient nutrition for your intervertebral disc, hurting your back.
According to this study, sitting position causes the greatest intervertebral disc pressure and prolonged static sitting posture may have a negative effect on the intervertebral disc due to less nutrition.
Mostly, our back hurts due to prolonged static sitting in the wrong posture. So, correcting our posture is essential while sitting in an office chair.
Why are office chairs good for your back?
Office chairs are available everywhere and come in different price ranges. As everyone is working from home due to pandemics, the demand for an office chair is now more than ever.
Manufacturers are working tirelessly to offer the best-engineered office chair to provide the best sitting experience with ergonomic adjustments to fit you correctly.
Office chairs are good for the back because they have an ergonomic “S-shaped” backrest that follows our back curve and offers adequate support for prolonged sitting.
This “S-shaped” backrest matches the curve of our back, and additional lumbar support on the lower back ensures the lumbar lordosis while sitting, putting less pressure on discs.
For better back support, the office chair also offers a mesh-back design, height and depth adjustable lumbar support, and a high backrest design for upper back support.
Office chair offers mesh-back design
Modern office chair offers more mesh-back design and less leather design. Although a leather office chair looks more premium and offers an executive look but mesh material is more breathable and comfortable.
Mesh-back design offers better support to your back because it can follow your back spine and offer better airflow.
If you search on the market, you will see that most office chairs now use mesh-back design due to their recent popularity, comfort, and reliability.
Office chair offers Ergonomic Backrest
Ergonomic “S-shaped” design backrests are common these days. Manufacturers are trying to build the best office chair that offers overall support to your posture.
If you look at the mid-range office chairs like Sihoo and Nouhaus, you will see that these chairs have ergonomic “S-shaped” backrests.
Higher-end office chair also offers the same backrest design as mid-range chair with more adjustability.
An ergonomic backrest is essential for optimal support in your back, a chair with a flat backrest won’t provide you good back support and can lead to back issues.
Office chair offers adequate lumbar support
Adequate lumbar support is the most important reason for good lower back support on an office chair.
Some office chairs often come with height and depth adjustable lumbar support, for example, the Sihoo office chair, which will ensure optimal support for your lower back.
This height and depth adjustability allows a user to configure the lumbar support to his/her liking which is important.
This lumbar support is less prominent on other office chairs. Some office chair offers dynamic lumbar support which will adjust automatically according to your sitting position.
I prefer adjustable lumbar support more than the dynamic one as according to your height, the dynamic one might not fit you properly, although some people love it.
If you have back issues, always go for a chair with proper back support.
Helps to relax back muscle
Working for prolonged hours in a static sitting position is one of the reasons for muscle fatigue and injury, it may also lead to back pain.
Your intervertebral disc needs nutrition, and sitting in a static position may negatively affect the nutrition. So, constantly changing posture can promote the flow of nutrition to the disc.
The office chair offers dynamic sitting by adding reclining or rocking functions which allows you to recline while working, making your sitting more dynamic.
This dynamic sitting comes with tilt tension adjustment and tilt lock that allows you to adjust the resistance of recline and lock the backrest in different reclined positions.
So, you can make yourself more comfortable while prolonged sitting, and your muscle get relaxed, getting the proper nutrition.
Relieve pressure from upper back
We often put so much care on our lower back we forget about our upper back. Mostly mid-back office chairs don’t offer so much support on your upper back, lead to shoulder pain.
High-back office chairs were introduced for better back support, both on your lower and upper back.
High-back office chairs come in handy when you have proper adjustable armrests; armrests are vital for resting your elbows while working.
When you gently rest your elbows to your armrests without your shoulder being hunched, it will relieve a lot of pressure from your upper back, relaxing the upper back muscle.
Ergonomic adjustments to achieve optimal sitting
Ergonomic adjustments are necessary to achieve the optimal sitting posture. Office chairs often come with adequate adjustability to fit each individual correctly.
According to sitting biomechanics, you can achieve optimal seated position by following the below ergonomic adjustments, assuming you have an ergonomic office chair.
- Adjust your backrest to 110 degrees to 130 degrees, depending on your comfort position.
- Put your knees at a 90-degree angle, resting your arms on the armrest, which will reduce lumbar disc pressure.
- Adjust your lumbar support depth 1 to 2 cm.
- If your office chair has a swivel tilt or synchro-tilt mechanism, your seat will incline when you adjust your backrest to 110 degrees. If you want to learn about tilt mechanisms, you can check our article “How Does an Office Chair Tilt Work?”
- Video monitors are optimum at eye level.
Ergonomic Office Chair to consider for your back
Sihoo Office Chair – M57: Sihoo ergonomic office chair has height and depth adjustable lumbar support, which will fit you properly and offer adequate support. You can check the Sihoo chair on Amazon.
Nouhaus Ergo3D: This ergonomic office chair offers dynamic lumbar support which is not manually adjustable but will automatically adjust with your sitting posture. You can find the Nouhaus Ergo3D on Amazon.
We have an additional review of Nouhaus Ergo3D chair, if you would like to learn more you can check our article “Nouhaus Ergo3d Ergonomic Office Chair: Is it a Good Buy?”
Office chairs are a common and essential part of our everyday life. Prolonged and static sitting on an office chair with the wrong posture may lead to various back issues.
Although modern office chair comes with adequate lumbar back support to keep the lumbar lordosis similar to standing posture. However, you can adjust your chair to the ergonomic setting I have described above to achieve the optimal seated posture.
What type of office chair is best for your back?
Ergonomic office chairs are best for your back because they have an “S-shape” designed backrest that follows the human back curve and offers adequate lumbar support with adjustability to fit everyone correctly.
Does Office Chair help with back pain?
An office chair with pronounced lumbar support will be helpful for back pain. Most office chairs come with adjustable lumbar support to fit you correctly.
You can adjust them to your preference. However, sitting in a correct posture is more important when you have back issues such as back pain.