How To Adjust Office Chair For Lower Back Pain – Best Practice


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Learning how to adjust office chair for lower back pain, neck, and shoulder pain is something every office worker needs to have handy. 

This is because when you sit in front of your desk and work for hours daily, you tend to experience shoulder, neck, leg, and back pains, in more severe cases worsen an existing back problem. This usually happens as a result of a long period of none active movement of your entire body since sitting in an office chair is a static posture that increases stress in the shoulders, arms, back, and legs.

The good news is that you are not alone. According to studies, countless people usually experience musculoskeletal problems, most commonly in the shoulders, neck, and lower back on daily basis. 

These pains are mostly caused by sitting on an office chair that has been incorrectly set up or adjusted. When you discover that you are always experiencing pains whenever you work from your desk front, then it is time to learn how to adjust your office chair for lower back pain if you want to prevent it from happening again. 


The Common Causes Of Back Pain Sitting

Sitting is a static posture, and because the body is not designed to be static for too long when you sit for a prolonged period of time, it results in increased stress in the back, neck, shoulder, arms, and legs. It also can increase the pressure in the back muscles and spinal discs. However, this whole problem is a result of an incorrect sitting posture which is the major cause of back, neck, and shoulder pain. 

When you work too long from your desk, your core muscles get weak causing you to slouch over or slouch down in your office chair – you may end up in a bad posture that can overstretch the spinal ligaments and strain the discs and surrounding structures in the spine which can drastically cause body pains as well. 

Guidelines on How to Adjust Office Chair for Lower Back Pain

For you to work effectively in your office, you will need an ergonomic office chair, and when you properly set up your office chair, it can help you maximize back support and maintain good posture even when you sit for long hours.

But buying one of the best office chairs on the market may not be enough – you need to understand how to adjust office chair properly so as to suit your height and improve your sitting posture thereby giving you all the needed comfort while reading unnecessary pain. 


Steps on How to Adjust Office Chair for Lower Back Pain

The very first step in setting up your office chair is to determine the correct height of the workstation. Things to consider when making this validation should include the height of the person using the office chair, the work that will be done using the chair, the height of the desk, the computer monitor,  and the number of hours the chair will be used. Depending on the height of the office desk, you may try the different positions of the office chair to find the perfect position or try a different office chair if you are not getting the right settings. 

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Once you have done all of this, ensure that when you are sitting on the office chair, your feet are planted firmly and flat on the floor or on a stable footrest while your legs are uncrossed. The setup should be done in such a way that everything slopes downward, ensuring that your knees are slightly below the level of your hips.

Also, ensure that your lower back is supported by lumbar support that can be adjusted to suit your back. Your elbows are relaxed and supported on height-adjustable armrests and close to your body. While your wrists and hands are in line with your forearms and your shoulders well relaxed. Below are the guidelines on how to adjust office chair for lower back pain


  • Lower back support


Hw to adjust office chair for Lower back support

Always ensure that your bottom is pressed against the back of your chair. It should have a cushion that lets you lower your back so you arch slightly in order to prevent you from slumping forward or slouching down in the chair easily whenever you are tired. The lower back support in the office chair is designed in such a way that it helps reduce the load on your back.

While working on your office chair, it is important to not slump or slouch because that places extra pressure on the structures in the low back, especially on the lumbar discs.


  • Elbow measure


How To Adjust Office Chair For Lower Back Pain - Best Practice

To measure your elbow, you should start by sitting comfortably and closely on your office desk such that your upper arms are kept parallel to your spine. Then place your both hands on your desk or work surface (your computer keyboard or desktop).

Look to see that your elbows are at 90 degrees and if they are not, then adjust your office chair height ( Downward or Upward)


  • Armrest Adjustment

Armrest Adjustment - how to adjust office chair


Always go for an office chair with an adjustable armrest. And the armrest should be adjusted in such a way that it slightly lifts your arms at the shoulders. When your office chair provides you with these features, it helps take some of the strain off your upper spine and shoulders which is very important. Also, this keeps you active and reduces the possibility of slouching forward in your office chair.



  • Resting Eye Level

To get the perfect eye level on your desk, lift your head up with your eyes closed while facing your monitor screen. Ensure you are sitting comfortably on your office chair before doing this. Then slightly open your eyes – you should be looking at the center of your monitor or laptop screen. If the screen is higher or lower than your gaze, then you should adjust it either up or down to reduce strain on the upper spine.

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  • Thigh measure


How To Adjust Office Chair For Lower Back Pain - Best Practice

Another thing to check is your thigh measurement. When you are comfortably sitting on your office chair, you should be able to easily slide your fingers under your thigh at the leading edge of your office chair. If you discover that it is too tight, you should try raising your feet with an adjustable footrest.

On the other hand, if you are a taller person, you may have more than a finger width between your thigh and the chair. In this case, you’ll need to raise the desk up and then adjust your office chair upward so you can achieve this setting


  • The Calf Measure

When you are comfortably sitting on your office chair and your bottom pushed against the back of your chair, you should be able to pass your clenched fist between the back of your calf and the front of your office chair. If you find it difficult to achieve this with ease, it means your office chair is too deep and needs to be adjusted.

You’ll need to adjust the backrest forward – you can do this by inserting low back support like a lumbar support cushion, a pillow, or a rolled-up towel and if any of this doesn’t work well, then consider getting a new office chair.


  • Adjusting Your Desk



How To Adjust Office Chair For Lower Back Pain - Best Practice

Always ensure that your office desk is on the same level as your elbow. If the desk is too high, consider raising the height of your office chair and then use a footrest to support your feet. (you can use a stack of books to support your feet as well) do not allow your feet to be suspended in the air or dangle because this will create additional pressure around the downside of your thighs. Also, it will make you feel unstable. 

However, if the desk is too low and cannot be adjusted, you should not lower or re-adjust the height of your office chair. You can add some books under the desk to increase the height, raise your monitor and keyboard or replace the office chair. If you compromise the height of your chair, for this reason, you will find yourself bending forward always thereby causing pain in your neck and shoulders. 


  • Adjusting Your Computer Monitor

sitting-properly-diagram Adjusting Your Desk

Your computer monitor should be around an arm’s length away from you while the top of the screen is just below your eye giving you a central position on the screen. For a person who wears glasses, you may need to adjust the position of your monitor to match the focal length of your glasses since most glasses are designed for reading or distance view. 

If it is a reading glass, you will need to adjust the monitor closer to yourself, you can do this by using a monitor arm which will enable you to easily and quickly move the position of the monitor.

For someone who is always on a laptop without a laptop stand or external monitor, this may endanger your posture, and cause headache, shoulder pain, and upper and lower back pain. To avoid this, you need to use an external mouse and keyboard with either a laptop stand or an external monitor.

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Also, ensure that your monitor and keyboard are centered in your front. If you are always twisting your neck to look at your monitor or your paperwork, you may end up with neck and shoulder pain. A good solution is to use a Microdesk.

For those who use double screens, you need to find out how much time you spend on each. The one you use most should be your main screen and should take the center position in your front while the other one is kept on the side. However, if you use both equally, you need to place them side-by-side with the centerline directly in your front.

Find out what is the best affordable ergonomic office chair at the moment


Move Around or Stay Active To Reduce Back Pain in the Office

Whether you are using the best ergonomic office chair or not, you should not get too comfortable and allow yourself to sit in one position for too long. Studies have shown that when you sit in a static position for a prolonged period of time, it may lead to back pains and increased muscle strain. 

Active movement is healthy for the body and mind and you can provide yourself with some active office movement by using a chair with a swivel mechanism – thus promoting dynamic sitting

If you don’t have a chair that provides you with this feature, you can keep your body active by standing up from your office chair to stretch and ease up some of the tension every 30 – 50 minutes. – during this 5-minute break, you can do some stretching of your back, roll the neck, walk around, jump, or roll your shoulders to reduce both upper and lower back pain.

Doing this will help get your joints and muscles moving thereby promoting healthy blood flow that brings important nutrients to all the spinal structures.

In general, moving around to stretch out on a regular basis while you are at work will help keep the muscles, joints, ligaments, and tendons loose – this will in turn promotes an overall feeling of comfort, relaxation, and ability to focus and become productive.


Final Note

Office chairs are good as they provide more comfort and relaxation during work, however, for you to get the best out of your office chair, you need to set it up properly to suit you and give you the correct sitting posture. and you cannot do this correctly except you know how to adjust office chair yourself. thankfully I have provided you with a complete step-by-step guide on how to adjust office chair for lower back pains. 

Also, there is not one office chair that is optimal for all users. As an individual, you should know your individual preference for comfort while following the guidelines explained in this article to promote good posture and back support while sitting in an office chair. You can also check out our list of the best office chairs and the complete guide to choosing the best office chair 


Finally, understand that correct and incorrect sitting posture at a desk with a computer monitor is totally up to you. But you should never compromise your sitting comfort for anything. 

If your desk is too low and you cannot adjust the height, do not compensate by lowering the height of your chair as that will cost you serious pain. Instead, look for a way to increase the height of the desk. You can do this by using bricks, blocks of wood, constructed wooden legs, books, or something similar to improve the height of your desk



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