Dr. Jeffrey I. Kennis,  D.C.
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November 12, 2019
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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.

See Identifying Incorrect Posture

If you’re looking for an office chair alternative, here are 5 options to consider:

See 10 Best Laptop Setups

1. Standing desk

Illustration of a man using a standing desk converter in his office

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.

See Posture to Straighten Your Back

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.

See Ten Tips for Improving Posture and Ergonomics

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.

Watch Video: 6 Tips to Improve Posture While Sitting

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.

See Types of Lumbar Support and Ergonomic Office Chairs

2. 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.

See Office Chair: How to Reduce Back Pain?

3. Exercise ball

Illustration of a woman using an exercise ball with a base at a desk

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.

See Exercise Ball Uses

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.

See Beginning Exercise Program on an Exercise Ball

4. Ergonomic stool

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.

See Good Posture Helps Reduce Back Pain

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.

5. Kneeling chair

illustration of a man using a kneeling chair at a desk

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.

See Choosing the Right Ergonomic Office Chair

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.

Watch Video: 2 Walking Tips to Avoid Sciatica Pain

Learn more:

Ergonomics of the Office and Workplace: An Overview

Ergonomic Chair Alternatives to Traditional Office Chairs