The Best Chairs, The Worst, and Why…
Poor posture is a common cause of chronic back pain, and this is true not only in regard to standing but also, and actually more so, to sitting. If you slouch or sit in an uncomfortable position, your muscles and ligaments can become overstretched, fatigued and strained.
In fact, the average American spends anywhere from eight to 12 hours a day sitting! Despite this significant time allotment, many people pay precious little regard to the chair in which they sit, even though this can hold the key to ridding you of potentially debilitating back pain — or avoiding it in the first place.
How can you tell if your chair is the culprit behind your throbbing back? Or better still, which chairs for back pain will give you relief?
Sitting Up Straight is NOT Best for Your Back
You’ve probably been told since you were a child to “Sit up straight!”
But choosing a chair for back pain that causes you to sit up straight at a 90-degree angle can actually cause chronic back problems. This is because sitting too upright places strain on your spine, which in turn causes your spinal disks to move and become misaligned.
When researchers from the University of Alberta Hospital in Canada used magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to review spine health during different sitting postures — either 90 degrees or slightly reclined at 135 degrees — they found the 90-degree angle caused the most strain and the most prominent movement of the spinal disks.[i]
The study author, Waseem Amir Bashir, a researcher at the University of Alberta Hospital in Canada, noted:[ii]
“A 135-degree body-thigh sitting posture was demonstrated to be the best biomechanical sitting position, as opposed to a 90-degree posture, which most people consider normal.”
Many office chairs on the market will, unfortunately, keep your posture fixed in the 90-degree position, thereby potentially making your back pain worse.
If Your Chair Lets You Slouch, Back Pain is Imminent
Even though a slightly reclined position is easier on your spine than a stick-straight posture, this doesn’t mean slouching is ok. In fact, slouching is virtually guaranteed to give you back pain sooner or later …
When you slouch, your shoulders and head move forward in an unnatural position that strains your spine, neck and jaw. This can lead to headaches and jaw pain, in addition to back pain, as it actually puts the equivalent of 100 extra pounds of stress on your lower back.
And the more you slouch, the worse the damage becomes; for each inch your head drops while slouching, another 10 pounds of stress are added to your spine![iii]
The trouble is, most people are not disciplined enough to keep their spine in its proper alignment; if your chair allows you to slouch, there’s a good chance you will, especially when you’ve been sitting for four or five — or eight or 10 — hours at a stretch.
Ideally, your chair should be designed in such a way that it prevents you from slouching; only the best ergonomic chairs will do this.
Why Movement is so Important for Your Back
Your body is not meant to stay in one position for long periods of time, which is why experts recommend you get up and stretch at least every 20 minutes or so when you’re seated. Realistically, most people do not do this — you become engrossed in your work, are on a phone call, or in a meeting and simply cannot get out of your chair every little while.
Prolonged sitting, especially when you’re slouching, stresses the tissues supporting your spinal column, fatigues your muscles and ultimately can lead to back pain.
Most chairs only add to the problem of extended, sedentary sitting, as they are made in a fixed position that does not allow for much movement while sitting.
The healthiest chairs for back pain are therefore those that allow for ample moving and stretching even while you’re in a seated position. While it’s still important to get up as often as you can, a chair that facilitates movement is essential for your back health.
Lumbar Support is Essential
The natural curve in the lower portion of your spine, called the lordotic curve, needs special support while you sit, known as lumbar support. This helps to relieve the muscles surrounding your spine, which otherwise have to work overtime to keep your spine in the proper alignment when you’re sitting.
Often, when lumbar support is lacking, your head and upper back pitch forward to compensate, which encourages slouching and exacerbates pain.
If your chair is lacking lumbar support, a rolled up towel placed behind your back can help — however, this is a hassle and really only a short-term solution, since the towel will tend to move every time you get up.
All Office Chairs are NOT Created Equal
If you’ve ever been in the market for a chair for back pain, you know there are countless models on the market — but most fail miserably when it comes to what really matters, which is keeping you comfortable and pain-free.
If your neck and shoulders are fatigued or rock-hard at the end of the day, if you feel stiff and achy, or you have pain anywhere along your back or spine, there’s a good chance your chair is not giving you the support you need.
The best chair for back pain stands out above the crowd, and in tests of many dozens of office chairs (including those priced at up to $3,000!) by the Healthy Back Institute, none even came close to this one.
So, we gave it the name it deserves: The #1 Best Chair for Bad Backs.
What makes this chair unique and capable of allowing you to sit without pain?
- Motion: The unique and patented design facilitates movement from small, hardly perceptive ones to full recline and incline position changes.
- Adjustable Recline: You can adjust the backrest recline angle for a perfect fit.
- Dynamic Counterbalancing: The seat and the backrest swing from a pivot point that matches your body’s center of gravity and its center of motion, so they rotate in perfect concert with you.
- Maximum Lumbar Support: Full lumbar support that moves as you move, following the natural path of human motion.
- Unique “No-Slouch” Design: The unique design of the seating mechanism makes it virtually impossible to slouch in this chair.
Whether you currently struggle with back pain, or want to be proactive and prevent it from occurring, this chair provides optimal support for a healthy, pain-free back.
Considering how much time you probably spend sitting each day — especially if you work in an office environment, but even if you plan to use this chair at home — evaluating what you are sitting on, and choosing a chair that is carefully designed with your back in mind, can make all the difference in your level of pain.