Can an Ergonomic Chair Cause Back Pain? (What Research Says)

Nowadays, it is not only because of the growing age but also the sedentary lifestyle which causes severe back pain. I know with the advancement of technology; Ergonomic Chairs are produced having lots of effective features to make the sitting arrangement comfortable and painless. 

But, are their claims true? Can An Ergonomic Chair Cause Back Pain?

A good Ergonomic Chair will not cause back pain; rather, the prolonged sitting position or the poor posture will cause it. Moreover, if the Ergonomic Chair is not suitable for you and feels uncomfortable to sit in, you might also experience back and lower back pain. 

In this article, will be provided you with research-based answers to all the queries about back pain caused by Ergonomic Chairs. I will also explain if it is the Chair’s or the user’s fault. 

Lastly, I will mention various tricks to avoid back pain that is caused by long-time sitting position. 

So, let us get started. Happy Reading.

Can My Chair Cause Back Pain?

A chair can definitely cause back pain, especially when the chair lacks ergonomic features. If the chair does not offer proper lumbar support, your back will not have proper support while sitting. 

That is, if the chair does not provide appropriate support to your back and lower back, you are most likely to experience back pain. Remember the chair you sit in for a longer period of time should contour the natural S-shape of your spine and maintain the lumbar curvature.

Then again, if the chair has lumbar support but is not positioned in the right place, you will also feel uncomfortable sitting in it, which can initiate pain. 

Studies have proved prolonged sitting can give birth to musculoskeletal dysfunction. Mostly when the seats are not well-padded, and the seat is not adjusted to the perfect angle. 

Having said that, it is not always the Chair’s fault; when you sit in a chair for a long time without changing the posture, you will definitely feel numbness in the legs, which is eventually spread towards the rest of the body. The numbness will then cause pain. 

Studies have proved those who take an intervention from a sedentary lifestyle or take small breaks to stand or walk amidst work reportedly experience less back pain than the other group of people. [Source 1] [Source 2]

You need to make sure the chair is comfortable, and you are sitting in the proper posture because if these are not followed, you will most certainly experience severe back pain.  

Recommended Read: Can My Office Chair Cause Leg Pain?

Is An Ergonomic Chair Effective For Back Pain?

Undoubtedly, Ergonomic Chairs play a great role in minimizing the bad effects of a sedentary lifestyle. Sitting continuously for prolonged hours will initiate body pain, but the effects are diminished when you use an Ergonomic Chair. 

To know more about Ergonomic Chairs, you can check out our article on “what are ergonomic office chairs and why they are necessary?”

Ergonomic Chairs come with proper adjustments, like seat height adjustments, lumbar support, tilting or reclining adjustments, back height adjustments, and armrest adjustments. And when it comes to reducing the back pain, all these need to be in the perfect setting. 

If you are searching for a Good Ergonomic Chair, you can check out my favorite one with the best adjustments, NOUHAUS Ergo3D Chair. Check it out by clicking here.

Or you can check out the article on Best Office Chair for Better Posture: A Detailed Guide with Pricing

Making all the adjustments ergonomically and not sitting in the proper posture will not produce an effective result. Thus, sitting appropriately is extremely important, without slouching or keeping arms unparallel to the desk. 

Things You Need To Consider While Sitting In A Chair To Minimize The Back Pain

You should follow certain things, like a set of rules that need to be strictly followed for the betterment. Let me list down the three things you need to follow while sitting in an Ergonomic Chair;

1. Make Sure Your Office Chairs Contain Ergonomic Features

Since people are becoming health conscious and preferring Ergonomic Chairs over traditional chairs, manufacturers are also producing Chairs with Ergonomic Features. 

Sometimes manufacturers claim the chair to be ergonomic, but in reality, it lacks many features. As a result, you need to check the product details and features before purchasing. 

Then again, even if you already own a chair that lacks ergonomic features, you can make suitable changes to add ergonomic features. For this, check out this article on How to Make an Office Chair Ergonomic?

2. Make Sure The Chair Is Appropriate For You

Each Chair comes with some specific features that ensure if it is a proper fit for you. For instance, when you buy a chair, the chair height should be proportionate to your height because it ensures that the adjustment fits you perfectly. 

Although there are chairs whose height is adjustable, the backrest height is also adjustable; in that case, you do not have to worry about the chair’s height. 

Then again, if you are a short person and the fixed armrests do not let you keep your arms parallel to the desk, then the chair is not suitable for you. 

You need to make sure that even if you use an Ergonomic Chair, the chair is a perfect fit for you, and you can sit comfortably in it.

3. Make Sure To Sit In The Proper Posture

Whenever you sit in a Chair after ensuring the chair is ergonomic and suitable for you, the main job is to use those facilities accordingly.

Make sure the Chair’s and seat’s height is at the proper level, the armrests are perfectly adjusted, and the lumbar support perfectly holds the natural S-shape of your spine. Finally, make sure you are seated in the proper posture. 

How To Maintain Proper Posture While Sitting?

Well, it is one of the important questions when you need to spend a lot of time sitting in a chair. Check out the way of maintaining proper sitting posture;

  1. First, make sure the seat and chairs height is adjusted so that your feet touch the ground, and the lumber support holds your lumbar area. 
  2. Now, comfortably rest your back on the backrest, recline a bit, if you want to. That is, make yourself comfortable with the chair.
  3. Then rest your feet parallelly on the floor and maintain a 3 inches gap between your knees and the seat’s edge. 
  4. Also, make sure the knees are at a 90-degree angle with your hips. That is, your buttchecks should be perpendicular to your knees. 
  5. Avoid crossing your legs or resting them on the floor.
  6. Now that your lower body is in the perfect posture, now you need to work on the upper body.
  7. Naturally, rest your arms on the armrests or on the desk; make your shoulders should not hunch. 
  8. If the chair has a backrest, comfortably rest your neck and head on the top of the backrest. 
  9. If you look downwards for a longer period of time, you might experience neck and shoulder pain, so avoid that. 
  10. Last but not least, make sure to take 30 minutes to break in every 2 to 3 hours from the sitting position. Maybe you can go out for a walk or a small chat with colleagues. 

10 Tricks To Avoid Back Pain From Long-Time Sitting Position

There are various ways to minimize back pain: upper back pain, power back pain, or neck pain. These tricks will work like magic.

However, let me tell you, the results will not be visible the day you start following them. Nonetheless, after a certain period, you will definitely notice the differences. 

  1. Keep the knees and hips perpendicular to each other while keeping the feet flat on the floor. 
  2. Do not cross your legs or hang them forward or backward. If you feel the chair height is too long to touch the ground for your feet, lift or lower your chair as per your need or take a small stool to balance it out. 
  3. Keep your back in a neutral position without any slouching. The Chair’s back should hold your posture perfectly, or you can add additional lumbar support (Amazon Link).
  4. The next one is to keep the armrests parallel to the desk. Because if you do not maintain the perfect angle between the arms and the desk, you are most likely to slump forward, hampering your neutral posture. 
  5. Balance your body weight; do not put pressure on your hip or the legs. It will hamper the posture and eventually cause pain. 
  6. Now and then, pay more and more attention to your posture.
  7. Keep the seat at the perfect position, not to depth nor high or low. 
  8. Take short breaks every 30 to 40 minutes and go for short walks.  
  9. Avoid lifting heavy things from the ground while sitting on a chair. 
  10. Even when you recline, make sure to keep your back in a neutral and comfortable position.

Meraj Jahan

Hey, I am a co-author at Office Chair Trends. Not only have I experience working for extended hours behind the desks at my workstation, but I also have seen people in my surroundings suffer from body aches. Being a reader by day and writer by night, I have researched this matter and gathered knowledge along the way. I am sharing all my experiences on this site.