Is my chair causing my back pain?

Sit less move more…..that’s the key! 

This is one of the most common questions I get asked in clinic.

There is no ‘best chair’ where one size and shape fits all. In my opinion you could spend £10 on a chair or £200 on a chair and still get back pain. I believe the underlying problem is often not the chair itself, but how long you are static in it.

Our bodies and indeed our backs are simply not designed to be static for long periods of time. Research has indicated that remaining seated for too long is simply bad for your health, regardless of how much exercise you do. Many adults in the UK spend more than 7 hours a day sitting and this increases to 10 hours in older age. In a study of over 800,000 people, those that sat the most, compared to those that sat the least had over 112% increased risk of diabetes, 147% increased risk of cardiovascular disease and a 49% increase in death from any cause.

Yes we can make the chair work better for us by improving support to the lower back, optimising the angles we work at and lessening the fatigue on our muscles, but ultimately we need to move more to improve things.

Get up and speak to someone, make a drink, do some photocopying whatever you need to do. Keep moving your body, fidget, roll your shoulders, stretch your neck….just keep active.

A lot of companies are now investing in sit-stand desks, which helps to beat some of these issues. Even sitting on a swiss ball or wobble cushion, offers variety of position.

If you sit at work all day, don’t sit at home in the evening to watch TV. Get out for a walk, play with the kids, vary your routine and engage with people more and gadgets less.

So in simple answer to my patients, I will often say your chair is a small part of a big picture. Address the bigger picture and the chair will become insignificant.

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