If you sit at a desk all day and suffer from back pain, you might have resolved yourself to just suffering from that discomfort for the rest of your life. Back pain often feels like it has no single source, which can almost make you hopeless that it can improve. In reality, your spine is an interconnected system.
Imbalance in any part of that system causes a pain response in other parts of the system. Since office workers spend the majority of their time in office chairs, it is highly likely that the discomfort you feel is tied to having the wrong chair.
What Makes a Good Chair?
If the wrong chair can cause back pain, what makes the right chair? There are a few factors that cause a chair to make your back hurt, and the right chair will counteract each of them.
Seat Height Adjustment
Back pain starts below your lowest pain point, and all the pain above that is caused by your body attempting to balance the issues from beneath them. Adjusting your seat height to put your legs in the right position to square up your hips will give the rest of your spine a solid base.
Many people think having a very soft seat cushion is helpful, but in reality, you are better served by a fairly firm cushion. This will stand up to your bodyweight all day without compressing, so it can hold your spine where it is supposed to.
Moving up your spine, the next important element is proper lumbar support. When we stand, our spine makes an s curve. It tapers in above the hips, then back out at the shoulders, then a second inward curve at the neck. When one curve is off, the next curve compensates, causing discomfort.
Proper lumbar support will keep your lower back from straightening out as you sit and get tired. This will keep your upper spine aligned as long as you are leaning into the lumbar support.
This doesn’t seem like it would impact your spine, but armrests keep your hands at the right height for typing without your shoulders having to support the weight of your arms hanging down for hours at a time.
Good armrests will adjust to the height of your arms, or they will be able to be moved out of the way, giving you flexibility in your seating position.
One of the natural responses to fatigue is to slouch. Unfortunately, this is a bit like rolling a stone downhill, because as you slouch, you create pressure and pinches, which makes you want to slouch more, which makes you hurt more, etc.
The best chair for back pain is going to encourage you to sit up straight, no matter if you are leaning back against the backrest, or if you are leaning forward.
A great example of a chair that does this (as well as all of the other things that have been mentioned) is the Backstrong C1. This chair was designed by a chiropractor to encourage positive posture whenever you are in your chair.
The seat swivels, so it repositions your hips appropriately no matter how you are positioned. It even has a set of exercises you can do in the chair to keep your core strong and healthy.
As you can see, it is possible for the right chair to improve your comfort, and possibly even eliminate back pain altogether. Get a chair that combines lumbar support with proper seat height, movable armrests, and posture support, and you will quickly feel a world of difference!