Will a better chair will get rid of my damn back pain?

I have awful back pain all the time, and I know it’s because I’m constantly working on the computer. Do I need to bite the bullet and get a fancy office chair?? Or do I need to go to a chiropractor or something…

depends, but I doubt it. where does you’re back hurt and does anything else make it hurt. It could just be poor posture not the chair, how high is your monitor? Hunching or scrunching down to look into a laptop screen is bad. have you tried standing desks?

If you have to describe an ergonomic/task chair as “Fancy” then I suspect you’re sitting in something terrible and yes, a good task chair should help your posture and comfort if you’re at a computer all day.

I say that currently writing this from a task chair that isn’t mine and the arms are too high so it forces my shoulders into my neck all day.

I have had 3 surgeries on my back so I have a little experience with back pain.

The answer to the question yes and no. The chair must fit you. That can be done with a fancy chair (Aeron works for me) and it can be done with a cheap chair (my current office chair works for me too, some cheap thing with no brand). Sitting on my sofa I need a small pillow for lumbar support.

Unfortunately you need to try it to see if it works or not. Entirely hit or miss.

Muscular pain of any kind usually begins with a lack of use or lack of stimulation, as is the case with sitting in a chair all day long in front of a computer. Sitting in an office chair all day is a great recipe for Rhomboid major and minor, Latisimus dorsi and lower lumbar pain.

Office chair design has evolved to the point of peak efficiency and you can get a good (comfortable) one without expending a lot of resources as iab mentions above. You are likely to get relief from back pain with a regimen of regular daily exercise that stimulates those muscles that are not used while sitting. In fact, sitting in a chair all day will mold and shape your muscles to produce pain when not sitting.

The Lat pull down is among the best exercises for keeping back muscle pain from sitting at bay.

Many of the new digital home gyms are targeting this kind of problem.

Planks. Start at 30s or as much as you can. Build up to 3x a day for a minute or two. Really suck that navel into your backbone. Take a walk now and then. Both of these cost no money.

Yeah, I was looking at Aerons, a few friends have them at their work. Ty!

I just ordered a few Steelcase Series 1s myself after basically thinking about this for the last 6 months. I’ll let you know what I think after adjusting it and using it for 6 months!


I think there is a lot of good advice here. Like lab says, it is very individual. I also find getting up a lot really helps and when I don’t work out enough I notice my posture going.

someone mentioned the importance of adjustable arms and I couldn’t agree more. mine is the cheapest no-brand chair that has them. I try to never use the back so mine doesn’t recline at all. keeping the core strong with sitting posture and going for walks are the best general advice, if the OP has a specific injury or condition be careful on what exercises you try.
Don’t get a kneeling chair!

Please note, just because it is an Aeron and it worked for me and your friends, it does not guarantee it will work for you. At the very least, go to a brick & mortar, try them out. And that is no guarantee either. Spending 10 minutes in a chair is not the same as spending 8 hours in a chair. And never spend 8 hours in a chair, but hopefully you get the point. :slight_smile:

As other comments have suggested, back pain in otherwise healthy bodies usually is originating from lifestyle choices more than using one product. Office chair ergonomics do play a part, but I do not believe it to be the entire picture.
My experience with back pain has been for over a decade now. In those years there’s been lots of physio-therapy, dead ends, research, and slow progress. Here is a summary of what I found helped me.

  1. Avoid Chiropractors. They are too willing to play with your spine.

  2. Learn about Spine Hygiene- a term used by Stuart Mcgill in his book “Back Mechanic”. Highly recommended across back pain forums, not just myself.
    Back Mechanic: Fix Back Pain With The Step-By-Step McGill Method
    According to Mcgill, back pain can be the result of years of having posture that put strain on the spine. This can be seen in how people interact with a multitude of objects daily. For example -picking things off low heights while bending forwards at the hip and twisting can be putting strain on the lower spine and discs. A key example of this is someone removing clothing from a dryer- which is identified in his book.

  3. Use Mcgill’s “3 Non-negotiables” exercises to strengthen the back. You can internet search that and find out more without buying the book.

  4. Consider using an up/down standing desk combined with a good pair of sneakers. When used to reduce the amount of sitting per day it can be effective. You don’t need to stand all day with an up/down desk.

Hope those thoughts help.

Agreed with this - there are multiple sizes of Aeron’s and I never got comfortable in them. I have a Humanscale freedom chair that I love to death. I actually snapped the arm rest a few weeks ago and thought I might need something new but was able to replace the parts easy enough.

I’m in a Chadwick at home, and have a Mirra chair and adjustable desk at work. Too much of any one position will ruin you. I had to do a interaction prototype this winter/spring, which meant learning new software tools and many continuous hours sitting, so despite even following all the advice and having ‘fancy office furniture’ I felt all jacked up at the end of the day.

I would like to try the successor to the Mirra though - Cosm – Office Chairs – Herman Miller - mainly because it looks cool so it might work, right? /s

Could also try sitting on a yoga ball.

Second the above advice on avoiding chiropractors.

chairs have been around a long time, they’re easy to get wrong but not hard to get right. only spend big if you want to. investing time in you exercises will be better return.

As others have said, a good chair will help, but it’s only one solution. We need to actively develop better posture, and this means being able to sit with a straight back without feeling tense or uneasy. That’s the real challenge. Getting to the point where one can maintain erect posture without even thinking about it is quite a difficult task.

Planks definitely help. A simple YouTube search would yield you many results. Stretches and easy exercises you can do to improve and maintain good posture. You could start with the easiest ones, set a routine, and you’ll see very good results in a month or two if you stick with it. Taking up jogging will also help. If you’re sceptical about jogging outdoors, you can do so indoors. Planks plus light jogging indoors would be great. Just 15 minutes or so of jogging per day.

The main factor is you yourself. Learn to integrate feedback on your own posture during the day. Look in the mirror/windows to check how you are holding your spine. Use the abs to keep it straight, imagine the sun pulling on the crown of your head. Sit like that and a lot of the symptoms will be alleviated.

Yet with that all the aforementioned advice can work:

  • Physical therapy (a manual therapist ‘cracked’ my neck to remove gas bubbles trapped in the disks and neck pains have subsided by 90% since, and it has been years. So that was a structural issue.
  • Exercise is always good. Stimulate yourself to get up from the chair.
  • I believe there are affordable chairs that offer good support. Even if most cheap ones (like mine) are quite worthless. The proof is in the pudding.
  • This proved to be a golden solution for me, printed in just a few hours: STL file Back Pain Relief Wheel・3D printer design to download・Cults