Our experts at the Spine Institute of Arizona are committed to helping patients manage their pain and improve their quality of life. Read the information below for tips on improving your spine health by incorporating a simple change into your daily routine and choosing the right chair for your office desk.
Sitting in an office chair all day is hard on your back. This prolonged posture can cause or worsen pain, putting pressure on your muscles, ligaments, and spinal discs.
If you’re looking for an office chair to help your back, here are 5 alternatives to consider:
Using a standing desk engages your core muscles and can encourage better posture and spinal alignment. Try a standing desk converter if you prefer to switch off between standing and sitting.
A raised desk allows you to work while standing. Standing engages your core muscles more than sitting, and it can lead to better posture and spinal alignment.
Make sure your standing desk is raised to a height from which you can work comfortably. Your arms should be able to bend at a 90-degree angle while you use your computer, and you should be able to look straight ahead at your monitor without tilting your neck down.
Place a thick mat underneath you to keep things gentle for your feet and knees. Consider using a pedestal or footstool, too, so you can occasionally shift your weight.
Standing all day may sound like a big commitment. For a less drastic change, you may prefer a standing desk converter. It sits on top of your current desk and can be raised to the height of a standing desk. That way you can switch between sitting and standing throughout the day.
Recliner with laptop stand
You may feel most comfortable working in a reclining position rather than sitting upright. If this is the case, try a reclining office chair. It may keep you from slumping forward and putting pressure on your lower back. And by using the headrest, footrest, and an ergonomically positioned laptop stand, you don’t have to slope your neck downward or strain your arms to work on the computer.
Sitting on an exercise ball can help keep you from slouching. The dynamic sitting experience requires your body to adjust and balance, which helps strengthen your core and lower back.
Sitting on an exercise ball is active. Your body constantly makes minor adjustments to stay balanced, which engages your core and lower back. Because there is no backrest, it encourages good posture. And if you like to fidget or move around a little, the exercise ball lets you bounce up and down.
You may want to get an exercise ball with a base at the bottom, or an exercise ball chair, to prevent the ball from rolling away when you stand up.
An ergonomic stool, sometimes marketed as a balance stool or active stool, is a dynamic seating option similar to an exercise ball. The high seat encourages you to half-stand with your feet on the floor, and the pivoting base and lack of backrest require you to engage your core and practice good posture.
Some people prefer an ergonomic stool over an exercise ball because it stands out less in a professional environment—while providing many of the same benefits.
Kneeling chairs take pressure off the lower back and keep the spine in a more neutral position.
A kneeling chair provides a padded seat for you to sit, angled forward to shift some of your body weight to the shins and knees. The design of the chair is intended to place your spine in a more neutral position, taking pressure off your lower back.
Sitting in the kneeling position for long periods of time may be difficult at first. Try working your way up to an hour at a time in this chair, several times a day.
Be sure to get an adjustable kneeling chair so you can find the position that works best for you.
This list is by no means exhaustive, so feel free to try out different options and choose the one that feels best for you. Keep in mind that no matter which office chair alternative you choose, one of the best ways to keep your back healthy is to get up several times a day and go for a short walk.