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Unfortunately, as many as 83 million days of work are lost each year as a result of back pain [1]. One thing many people take for granted is how important ergonomics are to your workplace health. If you’re someone that spends hours each day sitting down in front of a computer, you’ll want to invest in a quality office chair.

It’s never a good idea to get cheap when researching your options. Finding the right chair can make a big difference in the overall ergonomics of your setup. It can lead to better back health and a more comfortable seated experience day in and day out.

There are other things you can do to improve your office chair to keep your back from aching in pain at the end of each day.

Below, you will learn how to ensure that your office chair isn’t hurting your back.

Tips To Ensure Your Office Chair Isn’t Hurting Your Back

1. Get The Right Chair

First and foremost, you need to put ample research into your buying decision. While a chair may be high priced and made out of premium materials, it may be the complete opposite of what you need. Everyone is shaped differently and everyone has different ideas of comfort. You need to figure out what type of chair is most comfortable for you.

Keep in mind, when buying a chair, you need to factor in the potential for long-term comfort. What may be comfortable to sit on for a brief moment could result in serious back pain after some time. Because of this, you need to prioritize a chair that offers ample support.

Here’s a picture of my Herman Miller chair…Highly recommended if you’re dealing with back pain from sitting for long periods. Read more about them in our article comparing Herman Miller to X-Chair:

my new Herman Miller chair in my home office

A chair that doesn’t have great support may seem comfortable when you first sit on it. Thus, don’t be tricked when you are at an office supply store trying out chairs. Always identify a chair that has ample lumbar support before choosing one.

Likewise, you need one that has a lot of adjustability settings to ensure you can make it comfortable for yourself.

2. Are You Sitting Properly?

One of the biggest mistakes people make when it comes to dealing with back pain from sitting too much is not sitting properly. There is a right way and a wrong way to sit. The wrong way is likely to lead to serious lower or even upper back pain. Whereas, the right way to sit will ensure that you mitigate back pain from being seated too long.

A good way to ensure your office chair isn’t hurting your back is by giving yourself posture checks throughout the day. Schedule an alarm or make a habit out of checking every hour.

At the top of every hour, remind yourself to sit up straight. Sitting up straight and avoiding slouching is the number one way to ensure you are using your office chair properly and that you don’t end up with back pain at the end of the day.

3. Adjust Everything For Optimal Ergonomics

After you buy a quality office chair, there is more to do. Your work has just begun. Once you get the chair set up and ready to use, you’ll need to adjust everything for optimal alignment and ergonomics. Hopefully, you bought a chair that has ample adjustable settings.

  • Armrests

The first thing you want to adjust is the armrests of the chair. Any chair that is worthy of buying has adjustable armrests. You want to align the armrests optimally to ensure that your arms are supported at your desk. The best way to do this is by adjusting your armrests at the right height to where your arms are barely lifted at the shoulder. This should keep you in an optimal seated position while typing.

  • Height

Another essential feature you need to look for when buying an office chair is height adjustment. You want to find a chair that has sufficient height adjustment to ensure that it fits in your space well. Luckily, the majority of office chairs being sold in the marketplace have a lot of room for height adjustments.

The only way you can measure the right height for your chair is by having it placed right next to your desk. From there, you can measure accordingly. You want to sit on the seat and put yourself in front of the desk. The optimal placement would have your arms parallel to your spine.

Likewise, you want to have your hands sitting comfortably on the desk with your arms bent at 90 degrees. It shouldn’t be too difficult getting your office chair aligned properly for your desk.

  • Lumbar Support

A key feature that you want to find in every office chair that you are considering purchasing is lumbar support. You need to ensure that the chair you are buying has the right kind of lumbar support to keep your lower back well aligned at all times.

an example of lumbar support that X Chair provides

Chairs that lack lumbar support are typically those that will result in back pain. The most ergonomic chairs offer lumbar adjustability.

Therefore, you can find the right setting for your back by trying out the different settings.

I have found the X-Chair to be an excellent choice for those looking for proven lumbar support options – read more about X Chair here.

4. Get Up More Often

One of the best ways to ensure that you aren’t ending the day with an aching back is by moving more throughout the day. An easy mistake that a lot of people make is staying sedentary throughout the day. Rather than sitting at your desk for hours on end, you want to give yourself mini-breaks.

This doesn’t mean you have to get up out of your chair every 15 minutes. Rather, give yourself time out of your chair every hour or so. This will give you the ability to stretch your legs and to stretch your back.

That way, you can keep your back from getting too tight and you can constantly remind yourself to maintain optimal posture too. It also allows you to get your blood flowing.

5. Change Your Workspace Setup

When you find yourself dealing with back pain with your office chair, it may not entirely be your office chair to blame. It may have nothing to do with your office chair.

The culprit could be your workspace setup. Several things can cause back pain if not addressed.

  • Monitor Height

One of the biggest culprits for those experiencing back pain is having poor monitor positioning. If your monitor isn’t placed at eye level, you’re going to have to be looking up or down at your monitor. This can result in your neck being poorly positioned throughout the day. If this happens long enough, you’ll find it very easy to develop back pain.

  • Using Laptops

Laptops can be very convenient. However, if you are using a laptop daily without an adjustable stand, you will quickly find yourself dealing with back or neck pain. Unfortunately, laptops were not designed for ergonomics. Luckily, there are ways to make a laptop more ergonomic. You simply need to invest in a laptop stand and an external keyboard. These things can help you recreate an ergonomic desktop setup that will eliminate your back pain problems.

  • Reduce Neck and Back Turns

Anything in your workspace that causes you to twist your neck or back should be eliminated. Having to constantly twist your neck or back to reach cabinets, look at a monitor, or even look at a whiteboard can cause problems. Avoid unnatural bending and twisting by putting everything in front of you so it’s easy to see.

  • Consider a Standing Desk

Standing desks can help you get up and out of your office chair for at least a portion of the day. I have an adjustable standing desk, and it makes a huge difference in helping to manage my back pain. While they’re not for everyone, they’re definite worth considering if you spend a lot of time at your desk.

You don’t have to buy the most expensive option either…I found a pretty affordable option on Amazon that I have been using for nearly 5 years.

Summary

As you can see, there are several things that you can do to ensure your office chair isn’t causing your back pain. By using the tips above, you can eliminate any issues with your office chair or setup that can cause your back to ache at the end of each day.

References

  1. https://hpi.georgetown.edu/backpain/