The Office Chair: Friend or Foe?

Do you work in front of a computer all day? Do you suffer with low back and/or buttock pain or discomfort? Did you know that your office chair could be the cause?

Low back pain is the leading cause of disability globally and has increased by 50% since 1990. Sitting for long periods in front of a computer, moves the spine in a forward bending position and the muscles around the joints are put under a lot of stress and strain. This can cause pain in the muscles, the joints itself and the nerves. This is one of the reasons that you can suffer with low back pain when sitting for prolonged periods. Enter the office chair…

The type of office chair that you sit on, can either help or it can harm your back. If a chair is soft, comfortable and offers good back support, it can help to take pressure off the spine while you are sitting and it offers a supportive role. If, however, the chair is hard and uncomfortable, it can place more pressure on the spine, cause pain or discomfort.


  • It must be comfortable.
  • Must have good padding. If your bum gets sore, numb or feels like you are sitting on a hard surface, it is not giving you enough cushioning and places too much pressure on the lower part of your spine.
  • The seat must be straight and flat: take a look at the seat from the side of your chair. If it tilts forwards or backwards, it will tilt your spine forward or backward when you sit in the chair.
  • Must have a good back rest: the back rest of the chair should be straight when you are sitting and resting your back against it. It should run all the way along your spine and keep it straight, not pushing the spine forwards or backwards.


  • Sit with your bum all the way to the back of the chair and rest your back against the backrest.
  • Use a small scatter cushion and place it in the small of your lower back for added back support when working.
  • Take a break every 20 minutes to stretch and move. It helps with circulation and eases back and neck tension.
  • Sit with your feet flat on the ground.
  • Lift your computer screen or laptop so that the top of the screen is level with your eyes when you look straight ahead.

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