Sitting down for prolonged periods is becoming increasingly common, both at home and in the workplace. Call centers and administrative jobs are demanding longer and longer hours in a prone position, and with the rise of computer gaming, people are spending more of their lives in a cramped seating position.
Needless to say, an ill-equipped chair can worsen certain pre-existing medical conditions, resulting in hours and hours of intense debilitating pain that can make your daily life feel like a living hell.
Sciatica is one such condition. Affecting the lower back and traveling down the legs, sciatica results in decreased mobility and pain that can last for days on end, causing a significant drop in mood and productivity in the workplace.
But how will you know which office chairs help and which ones hinder sciatica? What are you looking for when it comes to chairs that will enable you to get on with your work and home life pain-free?
We understand that it may not be practical to stand up throughout your workday, so we’re going to provide you with the top 4 chairs that should go some way to alleviating sciatic pain, along with some helpful information on sciatica and sitting techniques.
So, grab a lumbar pillow, sit firmly back in your seat, and first read our top 4 chairs for sciatic pain.
Best Chair For Sciatica Pain
OUR TOP PICK
OUR TOP PICK
For a top-notch ergonomic office chair that offers premium lumbar support for those suffering from sciatic pain, this is the chair for you.
These unique, minimalist Ergohuman mesh chairs from Eurotech can fully claim to offer long-lasting support for those back-breaking sit-down sessions.
With pneumatic control for raising and lowering quickly, it offers an assortment of functions such as back height adjustment, headrest adjustment, lumbar support adjustment, and seat cushion adjustment to fit the needs of individual users.
With its pivoting armrests and one-of-a-kind Synchro-tilt controls, this classy and stylish chair will offer you the desired support no matter what the posture.
It also has a breathable mesh backrest and seat, promoting air circulation, even if it does sacrifice chair quality to do so.
But while this chair does have 3 different positions with its tilt-locking system, it does feel a tad limited compared with more upmarket chairs and might deter someone willing to spend a little more to get that extra maneuverability and relieve compression on the sciatic nerve.
Read more about the Ergohuman high-back office chair.
- The breathable wire mesh frame does reduce excess sweating and stickiness on a hot day.
- Full opposable base and backrest does provide the user with a basic level of back support.
- Some users have complained that the bar of the seat rubs their lower back.
- The reclining angle does feel a little limited.
- The look of this chair might not appeal to gamers looking for something a little more ostentatious.
Our second chair comes in at the slightly cheaper end of the mid-range chair spectrum (around $200), it’s the Argomax Ergonomic Mesh Chair.
With its industrial-strength nylon and breathable mesh glass fiber, it promotes natural airflow and airy sitting experience. The materials are easy to clean and resistant to mold, with a design that is futuristic, classy and emanates success and sophistication.
The Argomax also contains an auto-adaptive base that adjusts itself to your weight! It can support up to 330lbs, which makes it long-lasting and an excellent bang for your buck.
With multiple adjustable features - including a rotatable headrest, tilt tension adjustment, 2D padded armrests and seat height adjustments, this will promote healthy blood circulation to the areas that are prone to strain when sitting, mainly the lower back and piriformis muscle.
It has a single level for lumbar adjustment, however, some people find this two-in-one lever a tad confusing to use.
- The price - Those looking to alleviate their sciatica and save a few dollars will almost certainly want to opt for the Argomax.
- Its dense foam seat and headrest provide maximum support and comfort.
- Incredibly durable, this seat will last for years, possibly decades if it’s taken care of well.
- Armrests are only adjustable in the 2D position.
- The shallow seat depth will restrict the movement and the user who might want to stretch their limbs during breaks.
Now we on to the chair for the executive lounge lizards - the very stylish and very sleek Commodore II chair, with its super-cool leather exterior, it is guaranteed to get high-rollers foaming at the gills.
This heavy-duty behemoth has a chrome metal base, which can bear up to 350lbs in weight. It has a broad backrest, swaddled in leather, that provides sturdy back support and promotes a proper posture - key ingredients for sciatica sufferers.
This chair is built for the wider worker, with a 6.5inch foam-padded seat that is adjustable from 19.5 inches to 23.5 inches, this is ideal for long sit-down sessions.
With an adjustable headrest, tilt lock and a 360-degree swivel seat, this chair offers you full control of your surroundings, allowing you to alter it to your specific height and body shape.
- A sturdy and durable chair, this is more than suitable for those not looking to fork out on replacements every few years.
- With a thick-foam cushion, this one is optimized for lumbar support, relieving the pressure placed on your sciatic nerve.
- As with all mammoth-sized leather chairs, these come with a hefty price tag.
- It might be too big. You don’t want to aggravate your sciatica before you’ve even got it into the office!
The Modway is both ergonomic and economic and is the ideal choice for those who want all the health benefits of a decent office chair without the extortionate price tag.
With a high backrest and comfortable, breathable cushioned seat, this chair is both stylish and practical - it also comes in a range of bold, aesthetically-pleasing colors.
As with all our other chairs, adjustability is critical for optimal posture and prevention of sciatic pain, and this chair delivers on all fronts. It has an adjustable height and seat tilt, the backrest also has a tilt lock mechanism, so you can lean your chair forward or backward to correct any postural anomalies you may have.
The armrests are also adjustable, giving you that much-needed stability over your spine, hips and thighs. In short, you won’t find your body overcompensating for a poorly-designed chair!
- This chair is the cheapest option available on our list, and is a must for anyone looking to avoid strain on their wallets as well as their lumbar regions!
- A top-range adjustable chair, this will give you the lift and support you need to decompress the spine.
- With no neck rest, anyone suffering scoliosis in the middle of the spine might want to skip this chair.
- The mesh backrest gives minimal flexibility.
Best Chair For Sciatica Pain Buying Guide
Ergonomic chairs are shaped specifically to support the spine and alleviate spinal pressure, adapted as they are to fit its natural S-shaped curve.
Many things need to be considered when purchasing an ergonomic chair, including seat height, backrest height, sufficient lumbar support, the ratio of the backrest to the armrest, seat width and how it swivels your body, as a chair must turn your whole person rather than just your spine.
Seat height is very important for supporting the entire length of your back. A shorter backrest will result in short-term discomfort and long-term injury, so it is worth measuring your seat first before purchasing.
Lumbar support is a must for office or home gaming chairs, as sitting for long periods in a hunched or cramped angle will result in muscle strain and ultimately tiredness as your body struggles to maintain a poor posture.
Your seat width is just as important as your seat height, as a chair that doesn’t allow you adequate sitting space is going to cause you significant discomfort in the short-term, especially if you’re gaming. Ideally, your lower back should be pressed comfortably against the bottom of the backrest.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Is Sciatica?
The sciatic nerve branches through the vertebrae in your lower back and buttocks, traveling down into your legs. The nerves themselves are intertwined with the discs in the lower back and are very susceptible to overstimulation.
Sciatica sufferers experience sharp, almost ‘stabbing’ pains in the lower back and into the legs. Where they experience the pain is all dependent on where the sciatic nerve is being pinched or inflamed.
Sciatica is extremely uncomfortable, and the symptoms can range between a mild tingling, a burning sensation in the lower back and thighs or an excruciating pain that leaves the sufferer prone on their back for hours, possibly days on end.
There are a few different things that exacerbate sciatica, coughing, sneezing or other such jolts to the skeleton can trigger an episode. But one of the more common causes of sciatica is prolonged sitting.
How Can Sitting Affect Sciatica?
The discs that separate the vertebrae - the bones of your spine - are a bit of a misclassification, they’re more like spongy, liquid-filled balls.
These balls are ‘viscoelastic’ cushions between the vertebrae.
This means that your discs are filled with water, which gives them their flexibility and solidity. However, sitting all day compresses the spine and squeezes the water out of the vertebrae.
As a result, the discs flatten and lose their ability to separate the vertebrae, causing them to bulge out and pinch the nerves, leading to sciatic pain.
As you get older, the amount of water retained in your discs lessens, which is why more people experience back pain as they get older. Also, your body is depleted of water at the start of the day, which might explain why some people feel stiffer during the morning!
How Do I Sit Comfortably With Sciatica?
Sitting for hours at a time is not generally recommended for overall physical health, as it can lead to cramping, muscle atrophy and in some cases, circulation problems such as deep vein thrombosis. However, we understand that it is not always possible to stand up and stretch those limbs!
If you have to sit for an extended period and have sciatic issues, here are a few things to remember about your sitting posture.
In addition to your chair, certain sitting positions are more beneficial to your spine than others. The posture requires mindfulness of how your body sits, so below are a few things to be aware of when you’re at rest.
- Sit up straight with your back completely flush to the backrest of the chair. Avoid perching on the front edge of your chair - let it do most of the work for you!
- Sit with both of your feet flat to the floor, roughly shoulder-width apart. Do not just use your toes to touch the floor.
- If you sit back in your chair, then your back and buttocks will be fully supported, keeping pressure off the spine.
- Try not to cross your legs or lean to one side. However, some people find crossing their legs alleviates pain. Try both to see which one suits you.
- Keep your knees in line with your hips.
- You might want to elevate your knees if they hang too close to the floor or your chair isn’t high enough. However, some posture guides suggest having your knees lower to the floor. Every body shape is different, so experiment and see what works for you.
- A general rule is that if it decreases the sciatic pain, then maintain that position for 20 - 30 minutes.
- If you are unable to afford proper lumbar support for your chair, get a towel, roll it into a cylinder shape and place it in the small of your back or wherever the pain is located.
- If you find that leaning back alleviates sciatic pain, then use a chair that has a reclining option.
- Find a chair with an adjustable height. Taller people might find their chair comes too close to the ground, resulting in them being in a cramped position for most of the day.
What Are Other Ways Of Alleviating Sciatica?
Take A Short Walk
Short walks have been shown to help reduce sciatic pain, as the disc between the back absorbs water through repetitive pressure - so basically the disc reuptakes more water than it lets out.
When experiencing sciatic pain, your first instinct might be to rest - don’t! As mentioned above, a repetitive motion such as walking helps the disc ingest water. It also loosens up the vertebrae and can help dislodge that trapped sciatic nerve.
Remember To Focus And Relax
Hard as it might be to believe, emotions can play a significant part in back pain. Research has shown that stress can increase blood flow into the affected areas and exacerbate the inflamed areas. So taking a minute to breathe and focus on your pain can help ease tension and reduce blood flow.
Yoga also yields fantastic benefits for sciatica, helping to stretch out those vertebrae, activating the muscles in your back that will help with spinal support and also increase water absorption in the discs. However, if the sciatica is very severe, it might be worth starting with a gentler form of yoga - again, you want to decrease the feelings of pain as much as possible. It is not a case of it getting better before it gets worse!
A full-bodied massage increases circulation relaxes knotty muscles and elevates happiness-inducing hormones such as dopamine, serotonin and other pain-reducing endorphins.
Seeking chiropractic help can alleviate the symptoms of sciatica, as they can correct various postural problems that you may have developed over the years. Chiropractors also provide postural exercises and lifestyle changes that will, over time, significantly reduce the amount of pain in your back and legs.
Our Final Say
Sciatica and sitting go together like a horse and carriage, so you must get the right chair that suits your body height and shape to avoid further injury.
Combining the right chair with a few simple changes to your seating habits mentioned above, you don’t have to wait until you require medical attention. By keeping your mind and body in alignment and always being aware of your posture, you can dramatically reduce the amount of pain you’re experiencing and, as a result, dramatically improve your quality of life.