It’s easy to get caught up playing video games — hours can go by in the blink of an eye. And if you’re sitting in a chair playing games for a while, it can do some serious damage to your body. Excessive sitting while using a computer puts strain on your neck and back.
Even if you have one of our picks for the best gaming chairs and are still uncomfortable, all is not lost. And no, we promise you don’t have to get the Herman Miller Aeron chair to find some comfort here.
There are ways to customize your chair and add features to it to make it far more comfortable and adjust to your body perfectly. Let’s take a look.
What is Making You Uncomfortable?
To effectively transform your gaming chair, you’ll need to understand what parts are uncomfortable and what body pats are sore or in pain. When you locate the sources of discomfort, it becomes much easier to figure out what solutions will work best for you.
Consider which of these areas you are feeling the most discomfort in:
- Upper back
- Lower back
- Torso sides
Focus on the area that is causing you discomfort and find a solution geared towards that area.
How to Make Your Gaming Chair More Comfortable
External Lumbar Pillow
Lumbar pillows are the most common answer to gaming chair discomfort. When there is stress on your lumbar, you often can’t pinpoint where the pain is coming from. This can make it hard to determine the best solution.
If you can’t determine a direct cause of the discomfort, start by adding an external lumbar pillow to your chair and see how it feels. The pillows are inexpensive and simply slip between the chair and your lower back. Headrest pillows are also a great addition to your gaming chair.
A seat cushion can be used in conjunction with a lumbar support pillow if your back is clearly the source of the pain. Seat cushions can help improve posture by evenly distributing your weight as well as offering additional support on your spinal discs.
Seat cushions relieve back pain and sciatica symptoms, even for those that don’t sit for long periods.
Armrest pads can relieve shoulder, wrist, and elbow pain, especially in your joints. If these are the areas that are tender, gel or cushioned armrest pads will make a world of difference on your joints.
In addition, if you are straining a lot to use a trackpad, consider purchasing a cordless mouse to relieve some of that strain.
Adjust Your Display Height
A monitor that is too low or too high puts strain on your neck, shoulders and back. Stress to these body parts can lead to permanent problems. By adjusting the height of your screen, you can relieve this stress and make it more comfortable to sit in your chair.
We often don’t realize when we are slowly leaning forward or exerting our neck muscles because we do it so gradually. Before you know it, though, you’re more or less leaning out of your chair to see the screen. This is not good for your trunk and neck posture.
Adjust Your Chair Height
If your feet are dangling above the floor, your seat is too low and should be adjusted. Firmly plant your feet on the floor to maximize comfort and ergonomics. While it may seem that adjusting your chair is too simple of a solution, discomfort is often caused by the smallest misstep in our chair setup.
Difference Between a Gaming Chair and an Office Chair
Many people don’t know the difference between an office chair and a gaming chair.
While there are some distinct similarities, there are general characteristics of each kind of chair that set them apart from one another.
Here is a breakdown of the difference between office and gaming chairs by each part of the chair.
The headrest on gaming chairs is usually fixed in one position to hold your head up and look at the screen.
Office chair headrests are typically adjustable, so you have the flexibility to focus it up or down depending on the situation or desk height.
Gaming chairs almost always have a winged backrest that curves in to sort of cradle the sitter.
Office chairs hardly ever have wings on them because people in offices twist around more and reach for things, while gamers usually just face forward and focus on one area throughout their sitting.
Gaming chairs have bucket seats that raise slightly at the front and sides. They keep your body in the ideal position for comfort and ergonomics. The idea is that you don’t slide around to different areas of the seat.
Office chairs have flat seats that allow for easier sliding, leaning, and stretching to reach things. Flat seats give you more freedom to move in your seat.
The seat edge on a gaming chair is often raised for better visibility.
The seat edge on an office chair is usually a waterfall shape. This makes it easier for the individual to get up and down quickly rather than remain sitting the entire day.
The armrests on gaming chairs are usually 3D or 4D armrests which means they can maneuver in three or four different directions giving you more freedom with arm and elbow movements when leaning forward or back.
Office chairs often have 2D armrests or sometimes fixed ones that don’t move at all. Office workers don’t spend a lot of time leaning on their armrests, so there isn’t a great need for flexible ones.
Gaming chairs have a high degree of decline so that gamers can lean back to lessen pressure on their spinal discs.
Office chairs can have a wide range of backrest decline from hardly any to a great decline degree, similar to a gaming chair.
Gaming chairs typically have detachable lumbar supports, so you can decide if you need it or not. Many gaming chairs come with significant lumbar support, but not all.
Office chairs usually have medium lumbar support, and it is often adjustable because not everyone needs the same degree of lumbar support.
Risks of an Uncomfortable Chair
Too much sitting can result in muscle disorders, joint disorders, heart disease, diabetes, and depression. While you likely know you shouldn’t be sitting all day, we know sometimes you don’t exactly have a choice. In this case, the best thing to do to reduce these consequences is to make your chair as comfortable and ergonomic as possible.
In 2019, a study on the effects of uncomfortable, prolonged sitting in PC gamers was conducted to determine the negative impacts on their health and body. It showed that if gamers spend more than two consecutive hours gaming in the same chair, it can begin to impact their muscles, joints and spine, leading to negative impacts on trunk and neck posture. Ultimately, discomfort and strain on the neck and trunk considerably increase once the individual has been gaming for three hours or more, the study found.
Researchers acknowledge that the study did not research the effects on arms, shoulders, eyes, wrists, or legs. They state it would be beneficial for these to be considered in determining gamer comfort and ergonomic position, though.
There is no one perfect chair or perfect setup for all gamers. We all have different bodies and require support in various places to achieve our ideal level of comfort.
If you have a friend that swears by their neck cushion, but all your pain is in your lower back, consider this and find what is going to relieve your pain.
Don’t let the discomfort of your gaming chair get in the way of you hunting witches or crafting mines. Your games should be enjoyable and relaxing rather than straining and tense. Explore the different options to increase the comfort in your gaming chair and make your computer experience the best it can be.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I game with an office chair?
You can use an office chair in place of a gaming chair, but most gamers will tell you not to. Gaming chairs are specially designed for long stretches of being on the computer, longer than office chairs are built for. Buying an appropriate gaming chair will allow you to play for longer without feeling fatigued or sore.
How do I know if I need a new chair?
If you try all of these addiitons and tricks to make your chair better and you are still in pain, you may need to shop for a new chair. But exhaust all of your options first.