In this case, physical therapy and retail therapy are aligned like a healthy spine. Shop smart with this pain relieving advice.
Once upon a time, backs were special. “Ergonomic” was probably just something overheard on whatever Star Trek series was playing on basic cable. The almighty couch and trusty floor were the only places gaming happened. Oh, to be young of back agayn, impervious to the rigors of time.
At least we thought we were impervious. Gravity had other ideas.
The painful truth is that our spinal columns, after oh so many hours of slouching, have turned on us. Literally. Pretty soon, tying shoes comes with groans. If we drop anything less than a $10 bill, we’re might just leave it. The simple act of sitting up straight feels like a pilates maneuver.
Still and yet, the game goes on. As it must. As it SHOULD. Just because we’ve decided not to destroy our bodies doesn’t mean we have to stop destroying our opponents. We can make allies of our spine and lumbars. We can heal and adapt, become healthier, better, stronger...uprighter.
This post will provide all the true facts you need to choose the best gaming chair for back pain. Read on with your bad self.
Let’s start with what is probably the most important feature of the best gaming chair for back pain: size. Pillows, armrests, and recline only work if your chair fits your body. A too-short backrest, too-narrow seat, and misaligned armrests will likely make your back pain worse, which is the opposite of what we’re after. Ergonomics is all about proper positioning, and you can’t properly position yourself when you’re contorted to fit into your chair. Your backrest height should match the length of your upper body, and you should be able to position the neck pillow—wait for it—at the back of your neck. Most chairs are designed with average height in mind (between 5’3” - 6’3”), so finding the right size won’t be hard for you if you fall right in the middle of those averages. For those with a taller frame, though, you’ll need something that reaches high enough to support your shoulders. One side note: it requires stronger materials and better engineering to keep taller backrests firm and supportive. So when you find that chair with the tall-enough backrest—*cough cough* Luxe Master *cough cough*—you’ll want to make sure it’s made of good metal and high-quality molded foam—*cough* all Luxe Master models do.
We covered recline extensively in another blog, but just to make sure you understand how lean-back-ability factors into finding the best gaming chair for back pain: researchers at the University of Alberta Hospital found that a backrest angle of 135 degrees puts less strain on the back than any other position. As with all things human and ergonomic, that number could vary depending on your body type, but the important point is that you need a gaming chair that reclines reliably and holds its position. All of our chairs feature generous recline ranges, and our top-tier Ultra and Ultra Max models feature a patented, infinitely adjustable recline mechanism that lets you dial in the perfect angle for your back.
Neck pillows are pretty much standard fare for gaming chairs. Wait, did that rhyme? Anyways: a good neck pillow works in concert with your gaming chair (see the first section about sizing) to cushion the curve of your spine directly betwixt your shoulders. This lets you relax said shoulders, which cuts your back some slack (another rhyme?!)
One other thing, be wary of built-in neck pillows. You’ll want to be able to make fine adjustments depending on your recline or if you change positions. Built-in neck pillows are like: “This is where I’m going to stay FOREVER and to heck with your spinal health.”
I believe it was George Washington who said “Where one finds neck pillows, one should expect lumbar pillows nearby. Now where are my wooden teeth.” What did he mean? Historians will continue to debate. But what we know is that lumbar support is just as important as neck support, and they all live under the big tent of proper back alignment. The tips here are pretty much the same as for neck pillows: you want something detachable, made of good material, and hopefully cool looking.
The arm bone’s connected to the...backbone? Surprisingly, yes. Your hands and arms make up about 10% of your body weight, putting persistent pressure on your shoulders, in turn tugging at your spine via muscles in your back and core. Good armrests means your chair does your shoulders a solid by taking on the weight of your arms. While any armrest is better than none, adjustable armrests are even better. Adjustable height is most important, width next, then forward and backward, and then rotation.
You’ve already taken the most important first step in choosing the best gaming chair for back pain by understanding that back pain sucks, and it sucks the fun out of your gaming. Fortunately, we live in an age where you can educate yourself on proper ergonomics and spinal health, and choose a gaming chair that mitigates or eliminates back pain for as long as you want to click and/or mash buttons.
If you heed the advice above, you’ll almost certainly decrease your chances of developing the dreaded Aching Gamer Back condition, and avoid an unwelcome visit to the chiropractor. We recommend you save the money you’ll eventually spend on heating pads and ibuprofen and instead acquire, IMHO, the very best gaming chair for back pain. Invest in a proper piece of ergonomic gaming equipment and your back will thank you.
Happy, pain-free gaming, peeps.