Should You Sit On A Chair Without A Backrest?

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Should You Sit On A Chair Without A Backrest

Chairs without backrests can be found in many places and unfortunately, people often buy them. For this reason in my practice or on my youtube channel, there’s always one question that comes up whenever I come across chairs without backrests: Should you sit in a chair without a backrest? 

As a general rule, it is not a good idea to sit on a chair without a backrest, as the lack of back support will disrupt your posture.  If you do not have strong core muscles, your back muscles must work more than normal to support the spine.

In this article, I will discuss the reasons why it is bad to sit without a backrest and the correct sitting positions that are beneficial to your back. From my experience as a chiropractor, ergonomic adviser, and ergonomic designer, simply sitting comfortably is one of the main obstacles to a productive day at work (and feeling great!). The following article is extremely helpful if you plan to sit on a chair without a backrest.  

Why Is It So Bad To Sit On A Chair Without A Backrest?

It’s not advisable to sit for an extended period of time on a chair. Human bodies are not meant to sit for extended periods of time. Take time for yourself and make yourself comfortable if you must sit for a long time on the job. 

A backrest will prevent your body from automatically slouching. Good posture provides many benefits that are not available if you are sitting on a chair without a backrest. 

chair without backrest

Seats without a backrest are designed for specific people who can adjust to the posture and their back.  Improper posture also leads to neck and back pains which can be very detrimental to your health. In order to avoid further complications, it would be better if you sit on a chair with a backrest.

High Chairs Can Harm Your Body

Bar stools and chairs high without backrests can be found in many homes. They are not the best type of furniture for long periods of sitting because they put pressure on your nerves, blood vessels, veins and muscles. This will lead to swelling due to improper blood flow when you sit too much in these types of seating items.

The Risks of Sitting on a Chair That Is Too Low

When we sit on a chair that is too low, it will affect our internal organs. This in turn will affect the blood circulation in our legs and cause swelling. It creates too much pressure on our backs which will cause discomfort for our entire body. 

What Can Bad Posture Do To Our Body?

Your posture is important. When you slouch or slump, your muscles and joints don’t get the support they need which leads to muscle tension, back pain, joint pain and reduced circulation. Poor posture can even lead to breathing problems as well as exhaustion!

How To Sit On A Chair Without A Backrest?

As with alcohol, I recommend treating a chair without a backrest in moderation, just like you would with it.  The backrest may not be available to us at all times. We will begin to feel discomfort within minutes of sitting. Following is a list of tips we can use to make our sitting less harmful.

Adjust The Chair Position

Ensure your chair is as high as possible while keeping your feet firmly planted on the ground.  You need your hips to be higher than your knees. Make sure you don’t leave too much space between the chair and the table when you sit as this will lead to neck and shoulder problems.

Twist And Turn Your Body

When sitting, avoid twisting your waist if the chair allows you to move. If possible, turn your entire body to avoid putting any unnecessary stress on your joints and discs. 

Stand Up and Move Your legs

Your best posture is a moving posture!  Plan to stand up from the sitting position then move every 15-20 minutes. 

How To Improve Your Sitting Position?

Here are some tips that will help you improve your sitting position: 

Distribute Body Weight Evenly

It is important to distribute your body weight evenly. Here are three essential adjustments for improving weight distribution while sitting on an office chair:

Height. Make sure your chair is at the highest level with feet firmly planted on the floor.  

Seat Width.  A seat depth adjustment is usually available on office chairs. Then here’s what you need to do: Adjust the seat pan to allow for approximately 2 inches of space between your seat and your knees (for circulation).  Remember that a larger area means a better distribution of weight.

Forward Tilt. Tilt your seat so that your hips are above your knees.  The core muscles will be engaged as a result.  A forward tilt adjustment can be found on some office chairs.  There is no need to worry if your chair does not have this feature.  An ergonomic wedge can be easily added to the seat.  Here’s an example of an orthopedic seat wedge I designed for a successful Kickstarter campaign.   

Keep Your Legs Straight & On The Floor

Keep your feet flat on the floor. Do not use cross legs. Try to bend your knees at a right angle. Spread your knees evenly. This is so far the best sitting position for your body.

Proper Lumbar Support

When we sit, we should support the lumbar region of the back. It will help you to sit as long as possible without any difficulties. Here the angle at your hips region should again be no less than 110 degrees as shown in diagram below.

pressure on body from different sitting angle chart

Use The Armrests

If you have armrests don’t forget to use them. This will allow your shoulders to relax as well. If you don’t have armrests, rest your arms on the desk. 

Here again, make sure your arms should not be less than 90 degrees at the elbow. Also, your elbow should be slightly above your desk height. 

Take Proper Rest

Even if you feel pain then you should take enough rest between regular intervals. Also, you can’t find changes right away. It will develop gradually. 

chairs without backrests

How To Sit For Hours Without Your Back Hurting?

This is largely affected by your body type and the type of chair you use. Following the recommendations I gave above will allow you to sit for hours without hurting your back.

In case you are so busy with work that you cannot take a break and stretch every fifteen minutes, it is not a bad idea to get up and move around every 15 minutes. However, this is not ideal.  The best way to avoid complacent postures is to get up and move every 15-20 minutes.  Become active with your posture!

Related Questions

Q. What to do if I cannot sit comfortably?

Doing regular exercises will help our body to get back in shape which eventually leads to comfortable sitting.

Q. How do some people sit comfortably without a backrest?

The reason is they have a proper alignment. So that they can sit for any number of hours without any discomfort.

Q. What is the correct posture to sit in when I have to work for long hours?

The best position would be to sit reclined which is between 95 degrees and 115 degrees.

Q. What should I avoid while sitting?

Slouching forward!  Your neck, shoulders, and lower back are stressed by this posture.  You want your organs and joints to be protected from the effects of gravity, so your ears should be lined up over your shoulders and hips.

Takeaway

The lack of back support can disrupt your posture and make you less comfortable. If you are looking for a chair, we recommend choosing one with a backrest that will help keep your spine aligned so you can sit comfortably while working or relaxing. 

To learn more about ergonomics in the workplace visit our blog to find out where else sitting without a backrest is not recommended.

References

  1. Thosar, S.S., Johnson, B.D., Johnston, J.D. and Wallace, J.P., 2012. Sitting and endothelial dysfunction: the role of shear stress. Medical science monitor: international medical journal of experimental and clinical research18(12), p.RA173.
  2. Bontrup, C., Taylor, W.R., Fliesser, M., Visscher, R., Green, T., Wippert, P.M. and Zemp, R., 2019. Low back pain and its relationship with sitting behaviour among sedentary office workers. Applied ergonomics81, p.102894.
  3. Areeudomwong, P., Puntumetakul, R., Kaber, D.B., Wanpen, S., Leelayuwat, N. and Chatchawan, U., 2012. Effects of handicraft sitting postures on lower trunk muscle fatigue. Ergonomics55(6), pp.693-703.
**As a service to our readers, Axial Chairs provides access to our library of archived content. Please note the date of the last review or update on all articles. No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinicians.
**As a service to our readers, Axial Chairs provides access to our library of archived content. Please note the date of the last review or update on all articles. No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinicians.
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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