Since sitting is a part of our daily work and leisure activities, the office chair is a regular part of our lives. We sit in office chairs in different configurations while sitting for prolonged hours. While sitting in the wrong posture for extended hours can lead to many issues.
So, can an office chair cause hip pain? An office chair can cause hip pain especially if you are sitting for prolonged hours in a poor posture for over 5 to 6 months. Those who are suffering from femoroacetabular impingement often complain of prolonged hours sitting for hip pain. [source]
The sitting configuration could play a significant role in the ergonomics of the hip joint. A higher hip flexion angle in a sitting configuration as early as 79.8-degree of hip flexion can cause hip pain. Standard sitting configuration in an office chair has 63 degrees of hip flexion.
In this article, I will explain hip pain in a different sitting configuration, including office chairs and kneeling chairs. And I will also discuss the hip pain while sitting. What can we do to minimize this issue?
Does sitting in an office chair cause hip pain?
There are many things that can lead to hip pain. However, poor sitting posture in an office chair is a reason to cause hip pain.
If you are using an office chair that does not promote good posture or support your back properly can lead to hip pain. Although, the office chair is not the only reason for causing hip pain.
Sitting for prolonged hours in a poor posture such as crossing your legs, slouching, slumping, sitting on the edge of the seat, sitting on the side of the chair, an uneven chair seat or sitting surface, etc. all can lead to hip pain. Prolonged sitting on these postures puts pressure on the hips that lead to hip pain.
So, you can not certainly blame an office chair for hip pain. However, a good ergonomic office chair will encourage you to sit in a good posture rather than sitting in a poor posture.
There are many other reasons that can lead to hip pain, such as arthritis, bursitis, femoroacetabular impingement, etc. This article is about office chair and hip pain; so, I won’t be talking about other issues.
What chair is best for hip pain?
According to Occupational Medicine, 63% of office workers suffer from musculoskeletal discomfort, where 6% is related to hip symptoms. And, femoroacetabular impingement patients complain about hip pain, especially in low car seats. [source]
In this article, researchers conduct an experiment in three different sitting configurations: car seat, a simple chair, and kneeling chair to see in which configuration hip has the lowest degree of flexion. They evaluated the hip joint reaction force on these sitting configurations.
According to their study, kneeling chair has the lowest hip flexion, where car seat causes the highest hip flexion. The kneeling chair has significantly reduced posterior pelvic rotation by about 6 degrees during sitting compared to sitting on a standard office chair.
In their study, they have used the “Vari-kneeler” kneeling chair. After searching it online, I found this “Varier Variable Balans Kneeling Chair,”. This kneeling chair seems to be the best kneeling chair due to its design that forces you to balance your body to strengthen your core muscles. If you are from UK, you can check the Varier Kneeling chair here on Amazon UK.
So, the kneeling chair would be the best option for you if you are suffering from hip due to its lowest hip flexion. If you don’t like kneeling chair as your office chair, you can use a good ergonomic office chair with adequate back support in a correct posture.
I would suggest that you can check this “Sihoo Ergonomic Office Chair” that has solid construction, adequate lumbar support, armrests, and headrest adjustability with decent support that can help you correct your sitting posture.
Recover hip pain while sitting?
You can treat or recover from hip pain while sitting in a correct posture in an office chair. Make sure you have an ergonomic office chair that has all the adjustability to correct your posture. If you would like to learn more about ergonomic office chair, you can check our article “What are Ergonomic Office Chairs and When Are They Necessary?”
Sitting tips for hip pain on an office chair:
- Sit naturally on your office chair; the lumbar support of your chair should support your lumbar region. If your chair has lumbar support adjustability, adjust it to fit you correctly.
- Put your feet flat on the floor and elevate your legs a little bit. According to The American Journal of Sports Medicine, 90-degree knee flexion during sitting can decrease blood flow in the patella, developing knee pain. Use a footrest or rolled-up towel to elevate your legs.
- Rest your arms on the armrest without your shoulders being hunched. Make sure your armrests are aligned with your working surface.
- You can recline your chair a little bit to be more comfortable while sitting.
- Interrupt your prolonged sitting by taking 2-3 minutes of walking breaks or resistance training breaks. Try taking breaks within 30 minutes of sitting.
Prolonged sitting is the main issue behind all musculoskeletal discomfort. According to a study of Occupational Medicine, 34% of office workers suffer from low back pain, and 6% suffer from hip pain.
So, interrupt your prolonged sitting with breaks, and also, you can replace sitting with standing. A combination of both sitting and standing would be more productive in my opinion.
Best sitting position for hip pain
The sitting configuration plays an important role in hip join ergonomics, especially in pre-existing hip pathology. A sitting configuration with lower hip flexion angle and lower loading might reduce mechanical irritation of the already damaged labrum and prevent pain during static loading. [source]
The kneeling chair has the lowest hip flexion angle of about 50 degrees where office chair has about 63 degree of hip flexion. So, the kneeling chair has the best sitting position to reduce hip pain. [source]
Hip pain when standing up from sitting position
Our sedentary behavior and prolonged sitting for hours on a daily basis, the hip muscles become used to being in this position. As this sitting position is repeated over the course of 5-6 months, your hip muscles will eventually tighten up.
The hip flexors become short while sitting, and this shorter muscles may have difficulty lengthening while standing up after sitting. [source]
This imbalanced fashion of pulling hip join muscles potentially contributes to hip pain. So, prolonged sitting for hours is dangerous for all of us who work in front of a desk, and it contributes to many issues like hip pain, back pain, poor posture, etc.
Why does my office chair make my hips hurt?
Your office chair makes your hip hurt due to prolonged sitting with poor posture such as crossing your legs, sitting at the edge of the seat, uneven chair seat, etc. can lead to hip pain.
If your office chair is a more traditional chair with little to no adjustability to correct your sitting posture, then prolonged sitting on this chair in the course of days, months and years can eventually tighten up your hips muscle, and when you stand up from prolonged sitting can lead to hip pain.