Tips on Choosing an Office Chair for Bad Backs

These days many people work in office settings. Most often than not, working in an office means spending the most part, if not all, of your working hours sitting in a chair. This might have sounded appealing to people who lived many years ago and worked on farm or in factories. However, working in a seated position can cause you to have back problems or worsen the one you already have. Care must be taken in choosing an office chair to avoid back issues. We have some tips here which you will find useful when looking to purchase the right office chair for bad backs.

Why you need the best chair

When purchasing an office chair, it is appropriate to ensure you are getting one that will not impact negatively on your health and productivity. Long hours spent in a bad chair can cause posture problems and result in lower back, neck and shoulder pain. It can also give rise to carpal tunnel syndrome and leg problems. Studies have shown that your choice of office chair can affect productivity. A good chair makes you and/or your employees comfortable. It has been observed that people tend to be more positive and productive in their workplaces when they feel comfortable enough.

What to consider when buying an office chair

It is not enough to simply imagine how appealing a chair would look in your office. The following are some essential factors should you have at the top of your mind.

Chairs and tables in a office

Lumbar support

Lumbar refers to the lower back region. The right office chair should support the inward curve of your lower back. This consideration is especially important for those with back issues. Adequate lumbar support helps to reduce or prevent lower back pain. It prevents back pain from aggravating to sciatica. Ergonomic office chairs allow adjustments to fit the curve of individual user’s back.

Seat height

The height of an office chair meant for a person with a bad back should be adjustable. A range of about 16-21 inches from the floor is recommended. The perfect range should cover a height level that allows you to have your feet flat on the floor, your thighs horizontal, and your arms level with your desktop.

Seat width and depth

It is important to consider how comfortably your hips would fit into the chair. It is suggested that the seat should be an inch wider (at the minimum) than your hips. However, seat width should not make it hard to keep your arms on the armrests. The depth (distance from seat front to back) should be such that you are able to sit with your back against the backrest, with a distance of about 3 inches between the seat and the back of your knees.


It will be good if the armrests of the office chair you will be buying is adjustable. The armrests should be in a position that allows your arms to rest comfortably and with your shoulders relaxed. Ergonomic office chairs let you adjust the armrests to suit whatever thing you are doing at any time.


The width of a perfect chair’s backrest needs to be in the range 12-19 inches. Such should be adjustable, especially if it is not joined to the seat, to allow comfortable sitting position. It is ideal for the backrest to support the natural shape of your spine and the curve of your lower back.


You will do well to go for an office chair that uses breathable material. This helps to ensure it doesn’t get too hot and uncomfortable after sitting in it for long hours. The ideal chair should also have sufficient padding to keep you from feeling the hard base after several hours of sitting.


It is typical these days for office chairs to have swivel base. If the one you’re considering doesn’t, you will need to rethink your purchase. You expose yourself to arm fatigue when you get a swivel-less chair. A swivel enables you rotate easily and reach for items in different directions, thus helping to prevent harmful straining.

Making your purchase

After you may have considered the factors mentioned here, it is still important to test an office chair before paying for it. This way you can be doubly sure you are making the right choice. Sit in the chair or have the person who would be using it sit in it to have a feel of how comfortable it is. Make sure the office chair won’t cause or worsen back problems.

More and more people are now making the shift to ergonomic office chairs. These are designed to be adjustable so as to suit individual user, unlike one-fits-all traditional chairs. Although ergonomic office chairs cost more, their adjustment capabilities can promote your health and overall productivity.