5 Surprising Reasons Why Your Desk Chair is Causing You Back Pain

Back pain is a common complaint among office workers, with long hours spent sitting at a desk often to blame. While many factors can contribute to back pain, one of the most significant is the chair you sit in every day. If you are using a desk chair then, you might be surprised to learn just how much your desk chair can impact your back health. Here are five surprising reasons why your desk chair might be causing you back pain and what you can do to address these issues.

Desk chair

Poor Lumbar Support

One of the primary functions of a good desk chair is to provide support to the lower back, or lumbar region. The lumbar spine naturally curves inward, and if your chair does not support this curve, it can lead to lower back pain. Chairs with poor or no lumbar support force your spine to straighten, leading to strain and discomfort over time.

How to fix it:

  • Look for chairs with built-in lumbar support: Many ergonomic chairs are designed with adjustable lumbar support that can be positioned to fit the curve of your lower back.
  • Use a lumbar support cushion: If your current chair lacks proper lumbar support, consider adding a lumbar cushion or roll to help maintain the natural curve of your spine.

Inadequate Seat Depth

Seat depth refers to the distance from the back of the chair to the front edge of the seat. If the seat is too deep, it can put pressure on the back of your knees and prevent you from sitting back in the chair properly. If it’s too shallow, it can fail to support your thighs fully, leading to discomfort and poor posture.

How to fix it:

  • Choose a chair with adjustable seat depth: Some chairs allow you to adjust the seat depth to fit your body.
  • Ensure proper seat depth: When seated, you should be able to sit back against the backrest with a gap of about 2-4 inches between the back of your knees and the front edge of the seat.

Incorrect Seat Height

The height of your chair can significantly affect your posture and back health. If the chair is too high, you might find yourself sitting with your feet dangling, which can put pressure on the back of your thighs and lower back. Conversely, if the chair is too low, you might end up slouching to reach your desk, leading to strain on your lower back and neck.

How to fix it:

  • Adjust your chair to the correct height: Your feet should rest flat on the floor with your knees at a 90-degree angle. Your thighs should be parallel to the ground.
  • Use a footrest: If adjusting the chair height is not an option or if your desk is too high, consider using a footrest to ensure your feet are supported.

Lack of Adjustability

An adjustable chair is crucial for maintaining good posture and preventing back pain. Chairs that lack adjustability in key areas such as the backrest angle, seat tilt, and armrest height can force you into awkward positions that strain your back over time.

How to fix it:

  • Invest in an ergonomic chair: Look for a chair that offers a range of adjustments, including backrest height and angle, seat tilt, and armrest height and width.
  • Customize your chair settings: Take the time to adjust each feature of your chair to fit your body. Your backrest should support the natural curve of your spine, and your armrests should be at a height that allows your shoulders to relax.

Poor Chair Material and Cushioning

The material and cushioning of your chair can also play a significant role in your comfort and back health. Hard or worn-out cushioning can lead to discomfort and poor support, while non-breathable materials can cause you to sweat and shift positions frequently, leading to poor posture.

How to fix it:

  • Choose chairs with high-quality cushioning: Look for chairs with memory foam or high-density foam that provide support without being too hard.
  • Choose breathable materials: Chairs with mesh backs or breathable fabric can help keep you cool and comfortable, reducing the need to shift positions frequently.


Your desk chair is more than just a place to sit; it’s a crucial component of your overall back health. By understanding the surprising ways your chair might be causing you back pain, you can take steps to find a solution that works for you. Whether it’s investing in a new ergonomic chair or making adjustments to your current one, taking action now can help you avoid discomfort and improve your posture, leading to better long-term health.

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