The Best Office Chair for Back Pain | Total Performance Physical Therapy

The Best Office Chair for Back Pain

June 19, 2020

When setting up your work from home desk or your desk at work, making sure your chair is set up properly can save you from headaches, low back pain, carpal tunnel and a lot of other medical problems.  So, purchasing the correct chair is vitally important for your health.

 

However, it doesn’t matter if you have the most expensive chair or a simple kitchen chair, how you set it up matters more than what type of chair.  You could have the most expensive chair but if you do not have it set up correctly, you will still face the same physical problems as you would sitting in a cheap chair.  No chair arrives at your house ready to go, all chairs require some proper set up for your body to ensure that you can work at your desk pain free.

 

Also, it does not matter if you have the most expensive chair set up perfectly, you need to make sure that you are still getting up for frequent breaks.  A sit to stand desk is best to help you change positions swiftly and easily.  But if you do not have a sit to stand desk, then you just need to make sure that you are taking frequent stand breaks.  Setting a timer on your phone or computer to make sure that you are getting up is a good way to remind yourself.

The following list is how your chair should be set up.

 

  1.  The first is set up your feet.  Your feet should be flat on the floor.  Your hips should be lower than your knees.  (You can watch the video to see how this is done)  If you have a seat that raises and lowers, then you can raise/lower the chair  until it is in the desired position.  If you do not have the ability to raise and lower the seat, you may use a pillow to raise your hips or put books under your feet to get them flat on the floor.
  2. The second thing to set up is the back of your chair.   You should have some low back support.  There are 2 adjustments that need to be made with the low back.  First is at the low back, the lumbar area.  You want your back to have some support, so this may be a roll behind your back or a rolled-up towel.  Some chairs may have a lumbar roll built in but just be careful that the lumbar support on the chair is right at the low back are.  Then second part of the back that you need to set up or adjust is the back of the chair.  You preferably do not want the back of the chair to be straight up and down.  You want the back of the chair to have a slight lean backward and you should rest your back on there.  If you are unable to adjust the back of your chair, then simply place a pillow behind you back.  This will allow for support for your back, you want to make sure that you are resting your back against the chair.
  3. Arms.  In order to get the arms in the correct position, you want to make sure you have done everything listed in the fist two steps.  Then while you are in that position, roll your shoulders up back and drop them down.  Then bend your elbows to 90 degrees, making sure that your wrists stay completely straight.  Now this is where you should have your arm rests.  If you are able to move your arm rests, then move the arm rests to support the arms.  Do not at any time, adjust your arms to fit the arm rests.  If you do not have the ability to adjust the arm rests in several directions, you can use pillows, stuffed animals, anything that will support your elbows being in the correct position.
  4. Hands.  After you get the arms in the correct position you want to get your hands in the correct position.  You want to make sure that your wrists are straight, not moved up or down.  You may need to get a keyboard tray in order to make this happen.  If you have a laptop, you will need to either get a separate keyboard or a separate monitor in order to achieve this.  You want to bring the keyboard to you and not have to reach and take your arms off the arm rest.  When you start to lift your arms off the arm rests you will start to use your neck and shoulders to hold up your arms, which will cause neck, wrist and shoulder pain.
  5. Eyes.  When you get everything set up you want to set up your monitor.  You have to have a separate monitor if you are working from a laptop.  Make sure the monitor is directly in front of you.  If you have 2 monitors make sure you need to make sure that the screens are close together, touching.  You want to make sure that your neck is turning as little as possible.  You also want to make sure that the top of the monitor is at the eye level.  You should not have to look up or down to see your monitor.

You need to make sure that everything is set up correctly in order to have proper posture and eliminate low back pain.  There is no chair in the world you can purchase that will resolve the back pain, if it is not set up correctly.  You need to make sure that you set up the chair as described above.

Another thing you must realize is that there is no chair in the world that can let you sit for 8 hours without getting up and not cause back pain.  You need to make sure that even with the proper chair, that you are getting up at least every hour.  Even if you just stand up at your desk, it is important that you stand up.

If you are experiencing pain and want a free consultation or to be shown how to set up your best chair, all you have to do is call our office at (215) 997-9898 or click here.