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10 Problems with your Chair that Can Contribute to Lower Back Pain

Posted Jul 02 2009 4:51pm
Have good posture while sitting can give your relief of lower back pain!
If you work with a computer constantly, drive long distances, or are sitting on the telephone talking to your clients all day, this next blog post will be beneficial for you.

There is a technique of sitting, and your chair has a lot to do with it.

When you sit in a chair, your muscles should be relaxed, and you should have good posture while you sit. An ergonomically correct chair will work with you to ensure that you are sitting correctly and are pain free by the end of the day. Sitting in an ill-fitting chair puts added stress to your body. It can cause fatigue and strain to your muscles. A great chair will allow your body to relax and give you support when your posture is not at its best.

  1. Not using a Lumbar Support - this causes added stress to the lower bck. A Lumbar Support is often “C”shaped to conform to the curves of your lumbar spine. A Lumbar Support allows you have the correct lumbar lordosis in your back. There are so many lumbar supports out there with a common goal of making sure you have good posture when you sit. For an office chair lumbar support, try the SitBack Rest. It has slight wings that will hold your midback area in place along with giving you a lordosis in the lumbar spine. If you want something that is less bulky, you can try the SlimRest Back Cushion which is ideal for automobiles. You can also get lumbar support cushions for which you control how much pressure and support you want for your lower back: The Inflatable lumbar support cushion. Recently, we introduced our readers to a back rest that provides ice or heat therapies while you sitting. If you suffer from chronic lower back pain, this back rest has a spot for hot or cold therapy pack- This sitback rest PLUS is very convenient and handy.
    Watch Arc4life's YouTube Video about how to use a lumbar cushion here:


  2. The arm rests are not at the right level. If your armrest is too high or too low they can cause discomfort while you are sitting. Your elbows should reach the arm rests, therefore decreasing the stress on your shoulder muscles. Ideally, your arms should be flexed 75-90 degrees for optimal posture.
  3. Back rest is scooped in the upper portion of the chair. The backrest should be flat in the upper portion. This can cause you to lean forward or slouch, which is not good for back posture. A chair with a flat back will ensure that as the day progresses and you get more tired, your posture stays in good form.
  4. Back rest is too vertical
  5. Backrest is too short
  6. Jack knifing effect at the hips and knees.This position can exaggerate the curve in the lumbar spine which increase pressure on the lower back muscles and ligaments, creating pain and discomfort. Your knees should be even with your knees or slightly elevated for good posture.
  7. High front edge of the seat. This can decrease circulation to the legs and feet
  8. Seat Bottom is too soft in the center. This creates a “bucket effect”- this effect places more stress and load on your outer thighs, instead of the bony joints of your buttocks.
  9. Feet are not in the right position when sitting. Make sure that when you are sitting, your feet are touching the floor flat. If you are uncomfortable with this, use a foot rest or even a phone book to elevate your feet.
  10. Overall chair size is not right for you. If you are petite person an over size chair is not going to help you or be comfortable.



Making changes to how we sit can be difficult and discomforting at first. It can even cause soreness because your body is not used to changing the way our muscles are being used. However the effort put into making sure you have good posture while sitting is well worth it. You back will thank you in the long term.

Source: Myofascial Pain and Dysfunction, by Travell and Simons

Photo Source: Joanie Malone


Additional Resources:


Visit Arc 4 Life for your online selection of cervical support neck pillows, orthopedic pain relief products, lower back supports and cushions.


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