Whether you are based in an office, or you are setting up a workstation at home due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic – the single most important consideration should be creating an ergonomic office space that helps you work comfortably and safely.
There are many different aspects to an ergonomic workstation. The height and angle of your monitor should be carefully calibrated to avoid eye strain, and your keyboard position and wrist support are important to help avoid repetitive strain injury. However, one of the most important aspects is setting up an ergonomic office task chair to provide appropriate support for your back.
This guide will discuss the best ergonomic products for back support, including how to choose the best office task chair to support your back.
Click on a link to jump to that section:
Find out how a non-ergonomic working environment can cause or worsen back issues.
Our guide to the best ergonomic products for back support and why they are effective.
Read about the features of an effective ergonomic task chair for lumbar support.
Find out whether kneeling chairs are effective for treating lower back pain.
Find out whether working in a gaming chair while working will support your back.
We answer frequently asked questions on finding ergonomic products for back support.
What is the relationship between back issues and a non-ergonomic working environment?
Proper back support is critical if you regularly sit down to work. You may not notice it at first, but sitting for long periods with improper back support can lead to long-term back pain. Poor posture whilst sitting at a desk might be triggered by sitting too far from your monitor, or at the wrong height, meaning that you are looking down too much. It is very common for office workers sat at computers to start to slouch, which over time can cause muscle strain, aching joints, and might even constrict nerves (radiculopathy), leading to long-term pain. A study conducted in November 2019 investigated the relationship between back pain and occupational sitting habits in 64 call centre employees. Seventy-five percent of the participants reported some level of either chronic or acute back pain.
Routinely straining to reach cables, or leaning forwards to reach other implements on your desk can also trigger or exacerbate pain. Failure to take regular breaks can also make back strain worse over time.
What are some back conditions that are more likely to be affected by a lack of back support?
Having good back support is particularly pertinent for anyone already suffering from ongoing back issues such as sciatica, spinal arthritis or disc disorders such as lumbar disc disease, or a cervical disc rupture. Proper lumbar and spinal support can help minimise the impact of these conditions on your ability to work at a desk. Sitting for long periods of time can actually make these conditions worse, so regular breaks are an important part of your working day, to complement your ergonomic setup. Taking ‘micro breaks’ can also be helpful, which are shorter breaks taken more frequently, as opposed to a single lunch hour (source).
The best ergonomic products for back support
The lower portion of your spine naturally curves inwards – this is called the lordotic curve. Lumbar support helps your posture because it fills the gap between the back of your chair, and this part of your spine. It supports the natural inward curve and means that the muscles in that area don’t have to strain to keep your back in its natural position. Ergonomic task chairs come with built-in lumbar support, in the form of a mesh or foam structure directly moulded into the frame of the chair.
Other chairs require separate back support to be attached – a lumbar support pillow. Although this may feel like a less convenient solution, there are advantages to detachable back supports – particularly if you share a desk or work in an environment where hot desking is common. Your armrests should allow you to rest your arms in an L shape, with your wrists in a comfortable position, aligned to any wrist support you are using on your desk.
Of course, there is an additional option, which supports your back in an entirely different way – the standing desk. The standing position places less stress on the lumbar region of your back and is generally considered to help overall fitness. We have a range of solutions to help convert any workspace into a sit-sand desk.
There is also a range of monitor and laptop stands, CPU support and space-saving products like document holders available in the market that can adjust the layout of your desk. This ensures that you don’t have to lean or reach too far, and risk straining muscles.
Recommended products from CMD
Vision H Ergonomic Workstation
This new ergonomic workstation, with the option of integrated power and charging module, has been designed to offer ergonomic support for home workers.
- Available in white
- Optional 3x power and 1x USB Type A&C charger sockets
- Includes cable management clips to secure cables to the arm and pole sections
- Supports monitors and laptops up to 5kgs (2x 5kgs when used with a dual monitor support or a single monitor and laptop support)
Are you currently working from home? Visit our homeworking page for useful guides and product recommendations. We also offer useful bundles to help you work from home ergonomically.
Homeworker Product Bundle 1
- Reach monitor arm with 10 year warranty.
- Capsule on desk power module with 2x power and type A&C charger.
- Elite under desk power module.
- 2m starter lead.
You can view our full range of homeworking bundles here.
Active Electric Sit Stand Workstation
- Instantly converts any desk into a sit-stand workstation
- 700mm x 400mm solid working surface
- Comes complete with a single and double supports
- Power assisted height adjustment
- Single option supports monitor weights up to 7kg and the double option supports monitor weights up to 14kg
- VESA Complaint 75mm & 100mm
Reach Spring Assisted Monitor Arm
- Awarded Ergonomics Excellence by FIRA
- 10 Year Warranty
- Spring assistance for fingertip movement
- Folds flat into 80mm of space
- Integral cable management
What is the best ergonomic office task chair for lumbar support?
Your desk chair should be able to recline, with easily reachable controls. For optimum back support, you should recline the chair to between 100 and 110 degrees (source). A fully adjustable ergonomic design will also allow you to adjust the tilt angle of the seat.
The seat height should also be adjustable – particularly if you are working at a fixed height desk. Your feet should be able to rest flat on the floor, and your knees should be at a 90-degree angle, in line with your hips. A footrest may be a helpful addition to your desk environment, keeping your feet and legs stable.
Are kneeling chairs good for lower back pain?
You may choose to use a kneeling chair, particularly if you have short term tasks that require you to reach forward on your desk. This position creates an open hip angle, engaging your core as you work. They use two supportive pads, one for your knees and shins and the other for your thighs. This can be extremely useful for those suffering from lower back pain.
Will a gaming chair support my back whilst working from home?
Many gaming chairs are designed with significant levels of ergonomic support built-in. However, its suitability for working depends on how adjustable the chair is, whether you can pull it close enough to your desk and whether the armrests are supportive and adjustable. Your chair should also support your spine’s natural “S” curve. If your gaming chair doesn’t provide adequate back support, you could try using a pillow to provide lower back support.
Frequently asked questions
Is an ergonomic task chair worth it?
There are lots of ways you can make a healthy, ergonomic working environment. Investing in a good ergonomic task chair, or alternative adjustable lumbar support such as lumbar pillows is a wise choice for your long-term spinal health.
Are lumbar pillows good for you?
Lumbar pillows support the natural S shape of your spine, reducing muscle strain. They can also be moved between chairs, if necessary.
Does a chair offer good support while reclined?
A good office task chair will be able to recline, for optimum back support you should recline the chair to between 100 and 110 degrees.
Is sitting on a stool good for your back?
If you are sitting down for an extended period, an option with better back support is preferable. It’s also important to remember that regular breaks, standing and walking around, will help reduce the risk of back strain.
Is it better to sit or stand with lower back pain?
Standing desks can be extremely beneficial for those suffering from lower back pain. The ability to convert a desk from sitting to standing can be an ideal solution for an ergonomic working environment.
How can you make your chair more comfortable?
Make sure that your chair is positioned close enough to your desk to avoid unnecessary stretching. Ensure that the height and incline are adequate and that you have appropriate lumbar support – try a lumbar roll or pillow if you don’t have built-in lumbar support.
Why should you be using a laptop stand?
Laptop stands are very important to help ensure that you do not have to strain to reach your laptop and that it is positioned at the correct angle. This avoids unnecessary neck pain, and can also be beneficial in stopping eye strain.
Are you experiencing neck pain due to an incorrect working set-up? Read our guide to the best ergonomic products for neck pain.