Office Chair Back Support

What's Important in an Office Chair?

Office chair back support is super important in an age where work-related back injuries are common. Most people simply don't understand what factors are important when it comes to choosing a chair that will have a positive effect on their back health.

This guide is here to help you understand the design features of a chair that are most important for back support. We'll also look at some top products and brands for anyone suffering from a back injury who needs a chair that goes the extra mile.

Key Office Chair Back Support Factors

What makes a good back support office chair? Let's take a look at some of the key design elements a chair should include to ensure maximum comfort and safety.

  • Lumbar support features - This is by far the most important thing to consider when thinking about office chair back support. The lumbar region is the lower part of the spine. It's the region where most common back injuries are centered. When sitting in a normal office chair, most people roll their shoulders forward and slump over, allowing the muscles in the lower back to go loose. These muscles get weaker and weaker, putting you at much higher risk of slipping a disc or suffering some other back injury.
  • Natural spine arch support - This is closely related to lumbar support, but some chairs with lower back support don't push your body into a position that fully preserves the natural arch of your spine. When you're sitting, your spine should have a natural arch in it - you may have seen a skeleton in a doctor's office that show this natural curve. When you have strong core abdominal muscles, it's easy to maintain this spinal curve - but most of us are weak in the abdominal region. A good back support chair forces you to sit with the natural curve in your spine, which in turn helps strengthen those core muscles so that you can hold yourself upright with ease and without risking long term injury.
  • In proportion to your height - This is an issue many people overlook, but it's important. If you've tried several different ergonomic chairs already and you find none of them are working for you, it may simply be because you're too tall for them. If the chairs you're sitting on are ergonomically designed with a shorter person in mind, you may not feel the ergonomic effects as a tall person because the design is out of proportion to your body.

Office chair back support

As long as you keep these factors in mind when shopping for a chair, you should be able to find a product that ticks all the boxes for office chair back support.

High Back Office Chairs

As mentioned above, taller people may require a high back office chair to achieve the best results in terms of back support.

Even if you're not particularly tall, a high back office chair or a chair with a headrest can be useful for keeping your head in line with your spine. (This helps preserve good posture and prevent neck strains).

Creating Your Own Back Support

If you don't have the budget to buy a whole new chair or you need a temporary back support solution, there are a few things you can do to add more lumbar support to an existing chair.

The easiest way to do this is to simply roll up a towel and place it behind you, so it pushes your abdomen forward slightly. This on its own helps to preserve the natural arch of your spine. Now, this is a fairly unscientific approach and it's unlikely to get you into exactly the right position, so you don't want to rely on it for too long.

Alternatively, you can buy lumbar support products which work in essentially the same way as the towel method above, but they're contoured to fit a human back. These tend to be more comfortable and safe than using a towel, and they cost less than buying a whole new ergonomic chair.

A Great Back Support Office Chair

Let's now take a quick look at one of the stand-out performers in the world of back support office chairs: the Herman Miller Aeron chair.

Aerons are generally priced between $600-900, so if you're looking for back support on a budget this probably isn't the way to go. But if you're willing to invest in preserving and improving the health of your back, it's hard to beat the Aeron. This chair has undergone rigorous testing and design brainstorms by some of the best minds in the business. It pioneered a number of unique design features that have now become common in ergonomic chairs. Most importantly, it ticks the major boxes above: good lumbar support, a design that preserves the natural arch of the spine and a high, wide back for extra upper body support.

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