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How Bad Office Chairs Cause Hip Pain

   This post has been quality checked in line with our Editorial and Research Policy.

Can a Bad Office Chair Cause Hip Pain?

If you spend most of your workday sitting in a chair, it’s essential to take care of your health. One way to do so is by getting an ergonomic office chair that will help keep the back and neck aligned with proper support. Unfortunately, many people don’t know how to tell if they have a good or bad office chair because they’re not sure what features are needed for one.

As a general rule,  sitting on an office chair with poor ergonomics will place undue force on your hips, causing hip pain. Sitting 45 to 60 hours a week over 5 to 6 months can decrease the hip strength range of motion. This tightness in your hip flexors and leads to hip pain. 

I have spent many hours treating patients with hip pain and designing office chairs to make sure they can sit pain-free. As a doctor who has tried out different office chairs, I will share my experience about how some chairs can cause lasting discomfort for people and what you can do to avoid pain.

How To Sit To Reduce Hip Pain

young woman with hip pain

Sitting for long periods can be detrimental to your health. According to the Mayo Clinic, Research has linked sitting for prolonged periods with an increased risk of obesity and chronic disease.

The question is, how do you sit to reduce hip pain? There are a few ways that you can improve your posture to relieve hip pain while seated:

    • Sit on a chair with a backrest – this should help support your spine 

    • Have seat in a forward-tilt position to take pressure off of your hips

    • If you don’t have a forward-tilt feature on your office chair, try a seat wedge

    • Set seat pan depth for a space of 2-3 fingers between the back of the knee and the edge of your seat

    • Place both feet on the floor and keep them there as much as possible throughout the day 

    • If you’re sitting on a chair and your feet don’t reach the floor, place an office footrest in front of you

    • Keep your shoulders relaxed and rolled down away from your ears 

Can Sitting on an Office Chair Cause Hip Pain?

how to sit after hip replacement sugery

One of the most common questions we get here at Axial Chairs is, “can sitting on an office chair cause hip pain?”. It turns out that the answer is yes. The first thing to know is that there are two types of hip pain: trochanteric bursitis and femoral acetabular impingement (FAI).

    • Trochanteric bursitis, also called “trochanteric bursa,” occurs when fluid builds up in the space between your trochanter bone and muscles around it. This type of injury can happen for many reasons, including overuse or repetitive motions like running.

    • Femoral Acetabular Impingement (FAI), meanwhile, is a condition where the cartilage that covers and protects your hip joint at the upper end of your thigh bone becomes damaged. It can be caused by several factors, including overuse or repetitive motions like running.

In both cases, sitting in a poor posture may be the culprit. Here’s what you need to consider if you have pain from sitting in a chair.

    • A poorly fitted chair can cause injuries like trochanteric bursitis and femoral acetabular impingement (FAI).

    • The pain may be caused by overuse or repetitive motions, such as running.

If you have one of these conditions, it is always a good idea to sit with a neutral spine, feet resting comfortably on the floor.

Sitting Too Long Causes Hip Pain

woman sitting low back pain

Sitting at a desk can be detrimental to your health. You might not realise it, but sitting for too long is the number one risk factor in developing severe health problems like heart disease and diabetes.

The problem with sitting is that it reduces circulation and puts pressure on your hip flexors responsible for rotating your thighs outwards from the hips. When this happens, blood flow decreases to these muscles and other vital areas such as your spine and pelvis, causing pain or numbness in those regions of the body.

It’s easy to see why this would happen when you consider that most people spend more than eight hours per day seated! This time spent sitting creates an increased chance of developing painful conditions like sciatica and pelvic floor dysfunction.

Fortunately, there are many ways you can take a stand against the dangers of sitting, including:

    • Taking breaks from work to stretch or walk around 

    • Using a standing desk when at your computer all-day

    • Consider investing in an ergonomic chair that supports healthy posture as well as provides back support.

Best Chair for Hip Pain

axialchairs.com

There are so many things to consider when buying a new office or home chair. It should be comfortable, durable and have the right height for your desk or table, but there is one factor often forgotten about: hip pain.

The hips carry more weight than any other joint in the body and they need proper support from an ergonomic chair that has been designed with these factors in mind. In addition to this, you want a chair that will help you maintain good posture while sitting at your desk.

10 items office chair must have:

    1. adjustable height

    2. seat pan depth adjustment

    3. forward tilt

    4. adjustable lumbar support

    5. proper backrest

    6. 3 to 4D contoured foam and/or fabric

    7. backrest tilt

    8. soft gas shock cylinder

    9. adjustable armrests (3D to 4D)

    10. soft casters

Can A Standing Desk Help My Hip Pain?

A lot of people think that a standing desk can help with hip pain. But is it true?  People have been convinced to switch from sitting in a chair all day to using a standing desk. But is it worth the effort? The average person spends about 90% of their time sitting down at work, leading to some pretty severe health problems like chronic back pain and even anxiety or depression.

What do the studies say? The short answer is maybe! A recent review looked at all qualitative studies on sitting-stand workstations and their effects on the shoulder, neck, back pain; pelvic floor disorders (constipation); chronic musculoskeletal conditions (low-back/neck/shoulder pain) 

and metabolic health (obesity/high blood pressure) and found that these devices were not beneficial in any study outcomes.

The studies also looked at hip pain, but some showed a slight decrease while others did not change.  In short, standing desks might be worth it if you have chronic back or neck pain caused by sitting all day long. They are most likely useless when helping with other types of discomfort like pelvic floor disorders or obesity. If your goal is simply to improve your posture, standing during work time could help!

However, before deciding on whether or not this change will be best for your physical health, it’s essential to know what exactly happens when you stand as opposed to sitting during periods of extended use.

One thing that happens is that the circulation in our feet and legs gets better, which can help with your blood pressure. If you’re sitting most of the day, it’s common for one foot to stay stationary while the other swings back and forth. When standing, both feet are constantly engaged, which helps keep them healthy.

The downside to standing desks is that you too can become sedentary, just like sitting. I’ve seen countless new cases of neck and shoulder problems with people who use standing desks. Another point is that standing desk users become more robust, but they’re not necessarily stronger than someone who sits for most of the day.

I’ve seen some incredible inventions that can help with this problem, like a standing desk attachment or an anti-fatigue mat that has been proven to reduce foot pain and leg swelling and increase energy levels and productivity in your workspace.

Takeaway

If you’re in the market for an office chair or are just looking to get more information on how to find a good one, don’t hesitate to visit our blog. We’ve compiled all of the best ergonomic advice from experts and will continue posting new content about health and wellness throughout the year. Don’t forget that we also offer expert consultations if your company is struggling with setting up healthy work environments.

Sources

  1. Wilson, J.J. and Furukawa, M., 2014. Evaluation of the patient with hip pain. American family physician, 89(1), pp.27-34.
  2. Crockarell Jr, J., Trousdale, R.T., Cabanela, M.E. and Berry, D.J., 1999. Early experience and results with the periacetabular osteotomy. The Mayo Clinic experience. Clinical orthopaedics and related research, (363), pp.45-53. 
  3. Martin, R.L., Irrgang, J.J. and Sekiya, J.K., 2008. The diagnostic accuracy of a clinical examination in determining intra-articular hip pain for potential hip arthroscopy candidates. Arthroscopy: the journal of arthroscopic & related surgery, 24(9), pp.1013-1018.  
  4. Mok, N.W., Brauer, S.G. and Hodges, P.W., 2004. Hip strategy for balance control in quiet standing is reduced in people with low back pain. Spine, 29(6), pp.E107-E112.
Dr Lawrence Woods DC

Dr Lawrence Woods DC

Founder

My goal is to create the highest quality ergonomic office chairs and accessories for unmatched comfort.

With 30 years of spinal healthcare experience in Ireland as a chiropractor, I learned the value of high-quality sitting for living a happy and healthy life.

I have a Chiropractic Degree from Life Chiropractic College West and I am NBCE Physiotherapy certified.

 

Dr Lawrence Woods

My goal is to create the highest quality ergonomic office chairs and accessories for unmatched comfort.With 30 years of spinal healthcare experience as a chiropractor, I learned the value of high-quality sleep for living a happy and healthy life.I have a Chiropractic Degree from Life Chiropractic College West and am NBCE Physiotherapy certified.

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