Are Wooden Chairs Good for Your Back?

Whether you are using a wooden chair or any traditional chair, lack of lumbar support can cause lower back pain if you are using your dining room chair (wooden chair) as your primary chair for your home office. Then you might be already developing lower back pain. Here’s why:

Wooden chairs are bad for your back and prolonged sitting for several reasons, such as:

  • They are not ergonomically built
  • Lack of lumbar support
  • Lack of correct posture support
  • Always hold you in a static position
  • It doesn’t always offer armrests
  • Decreased blood flow to the lower body

As you can tell, you can develop a lot of back issues if you are using any wooden chair or traditional chair for your work. Prolonged sitting on any chair is highly discouraged, even if you are using ergonomic chairs. At the same time, wooden chairs offer you a lot less option to sit correctly in a good posture.

If you are using wooden chairs for a small amount of time, you might not have any issue. And if you have back pain, sitting on traditional chairs or wooden chairs can make it worse. Let’s take a closer look at why you should not use a wooden chair for your work and what you can do to eliminate this issue.

Why You Should not Be Using Wooden Chairs

One may notice when sitting on a wooden chair that it does not hold you in a neutral posture.

Image from spineuniverse.com

As you can see from the image, the Cervical spine at the top, the Thoracic spine at the middle, and the Lumbar spine at the bottom. When you sit on a chair, your weight is balanced over your pelvis. The lumbar spine should have a forward curve to it just like the image, and the thoracic spine will have the opposite curve of the lumbar spine.

When you are sitting in a neutral posture, the weight of your body comes down through the vertebrae, and it supports appropriately. Suppose you are sitting in a non-neutral posture which most wooden chairs are getting you to do. In that case, your lumbar spine will go backward instead of forward and create a “c” like shape, and you tend to sit on your sacrum. There is no support on your back in this position that causes stress to the back muscle causing low back pain.

You are sitting in a non-neutral posture in most of the traditional chairs, including wooden chairs. As the back of the wooden chair is straight, If you sit on the chair in a neutral posture, you will see a gap between your lumbar and the back of the chair. Due to lack of lumbar support, you tend to roll back into the chair, creating the “c – shape” structure on your back spine.

Check out this video of Physical Therapist Steve Meagher who explains what wooden chairs (dining room chair) do to your posture when you sit and how to get rid of it.

Use Lumbar Support on your wooden chair to reduce back pain:

To support the lumbar spine of your back while you are using a wooden chair you can use the lumbar support pillow to hold you in that neutral position. When you are using a lumbar support pillow or a rolled-up towel on the back of your lumbar spine, it offers excellent support to the vertebrae that balance your body’s weight.

Although a rolled-up towel should offer you good support on your back, however, I am particularly not a big fan of rolled-up towels. There are some excellent lumbar support pillows on the market using memory foam, which should offer you comfort and good support.

Here I am listing a lumbar support pillow for you from Amazon. This pillow uses memory foam that will offer you comfort and support to your lower back while working for prolonged hours.

There are many pillows on the market, but the reason behind choosing this pillow is that it has an ergonomic curve into it, just like the curve we have on the lumbar spine. So, it will offer you good support when you are using a wooden chair.

Sit correctly to reduce back pain:

Whether you are using a wooden chair or an ergonomic chair, sitting in the correct posture is essential for your healthy lifestyle. It is going to make a difference, particularly on your low back, neck, and shoulder.

Here is how you can sit correctly:

  • When you sit on the chair, your feet should be flat on the floor.
  • There should be around a 90-degree bend in the knees.
  • Put even pressure on both your hips.
  • If you are taller, make sure you have a tall chair, or if you are shorter, you can use a footrest; make sure your feet are not dangling.
  • Make sure you are sitting in an upright position, then you can put a rolled-up towel or a pillow to your lumbar back to provide support.
  • Take a break every 30 minutes. 

How about using an exercise ball as a chair, would it reduce back pain?

Research suggests that an exercise ball may reduce back pain as it engages the core and lumbar muscle activation but prolonged sitting on an exercise ball might not be advantageous. If you would like to learn more, you can check our article “Is Using an Exercise Ball as a Chair Good: What Research Says?

Related Contents

What kind of chair is best for your back?

As I have discussed, wooden chairs are not mainly the best option for your back. If you are working from home, you might want to use ergonomic office chairs that will offer you much more adjustability to fit you correctly. An ergonomic office chair provides good support on your lumbar back and both shoulder and neck.

You might want to check our article “Best Office Chair for Better Posture” to learn more about the best chairs for your posture and the back.

Are wooden chairs better for posture?

Wooden chairs are not suitable for your posture because they don’t offer adequate support to your lower back. When you sit on a wooden chair you tend to slouch, and it puts stress on the lumbar vertebrae and back of your muscle, causing back pain and postural issues. 

To address these issues, you should sit in the correct sitting position and use a lumbar support pillow. I would suggest you use an ergonomic chair that will offer you more support and make you productive at your work.

Are chairs without backs better for you?

Chairs without backs are a better option than chairs with straight backrests. When you are using a chair without a backrest, you tend to sit in an upright position to prevent you from slouching and taking the pressure off your lower back.

How to make a wooden chair comfortable?

As wooden chairs are just built out of wood, it is hard to sit for a long time. You can make it comfortable by using a seat cushion and lumbar support pillow that will support your pelvis and lumbar spine.

I am listing the seat cushion from Amazon. This cushion is using memory foam that will enhance your comfortable sitting experience. It’s also portable; you can use it on a long flight. 

Final Thoughts

Wooden chairs are lying around in every household, and we tend to use them a lot. Using them in a correct posture can save us from horrible issues like back pain, sciatica, and long-term injuries. 

As wooden chairs are static, they won’t offer you the best sitting posture for your height. Sometimes a stationary chair decreases the blood flow to your lower body due to the lack of movement. Try checking out our article “Can a Chair cut off Circulation” to learn more.

Also Read:

Sifatul Shohan

Hi, I'm the co-owner of officechairtrends.com. A blogger and a freelance web developer.  As I work as developer, I have to work for prolonged hours at a desk that's where I developed back pain. I started reseaching on ergonomic chair and gained knowledge throughout the process.  This is the site where I share everything I've learned about office chairs.