Many people who suffer from back pain sit for long periods of time at an office chair. Sitting for long periods of time can actually be the cause of the back pain, so it is important to choose a chair for back pain relief that will support the body in an ergonomic position. Any chair for back pain will support the lower back and put the body in a position of rest rather than strain, but no matter how good of a chair one chooses, the chair alone cannot eliminate pain altogether. Good daily practices, such as stretching and walking around for a few minutes at a time between periods of sitting, are necessary in addition to a good chair for back pain relief.
Fit is vital when choosing a chair for back pain relief. Your feet should rest squarely on the ground when sitting in the chair, and a gap should exist between the backs of the knees and the lip of the chair. If there is no gap, you are sitting too far back in the chair and will need a lumbar support, such as an ergonomic pad or a rolled up towel. This will push the lumbar spine out and prevent the body from slouching forward, which can cause pain or discomfort in both the lower back and in the neck and shoulders. If the feet do not rest squarely on the ground, either lower the chair or add a prop on which your feet can rest.
Just about every chair for back pain relief is adjustable up and down. This adjustment is important for several reasons: first, it allows you to adjust the level at which you see your computer monitor. If you are looking up or down at your monitor, the neck will be bent at an odd angle for hours on end. You should look straight ahead and be able to see the center of your screen. The second reason the height adjustment is important is because it allows you to adjust the level at which your arms rest on your desk when typing. The arms should be bent at about a 90 degree angle, and the shoulders should not be raised too much when typing. Arm rests can help take some of the strain off the shoulders while typing, but if the rests are too high, the shoulders will also be raised, causing discomfort.
Some of the best chairs feature lumbar supports that push the lower back slightly forward. This promotes an ergonomic posture and prevents leaning forward throughout the day, which can place stress on the neck and shoulders. Other chairs feature head and neck supports that keep the head in a good position for sitting. Remember that moving around periodically throughout the day is necessary to keep muscles limber, and the chair alone cannot solve all your back problems.