Wooden chairs are widely used in homes and office spaces, but not many people know if they are good for the human back. Generally speaking, wooden chairs are neither completely healthy nor absolutely harmful to your back. On one hand, they provide stability and strength to your back area and their breathable nature keeps your back dry and cool.
While on the other hand, the lack of customization and insufficient padding makes wooden chairs quite uncomfortable for long hours of sitting. Having said that, by adding lumbar support, seat cushion, footrest, and other accessories to your wooden chair, you can considerably address these downsides and make your chair much more supportive and comfortable for your back.
This article will answer the most pertinent question “Are wooden chairs better for your back?”. We will discuss all the pros and cons of wooden chairs and help you out in making your wooden chairs comfortable and supportive to sit on.
Are Wooden Chairs Better for Your Back?
Wooden chairs have been in human use for centuries and their origin can be traced back to ancient Egyptian civilization. These chairs underwent significant improvements in terms of design, comfort, and overall functionality over the years.
Today wooden chairs are available in markets in a variety of designs, sizes, and constructions, catering to the needs of different types of users. As far as the health benefits of wooden chairs are concerned, the prickliest question is regarding their effectiveness for the back and spine.
We all know that a healthy back has the utmost importance for overall physical and mental well-being. In this regard, wooden chairs are helpful for humans back in the following ways:
Provides Better Support and Stability
Wooden chairs are known for their stability and sturdiness. The fixed and stable design of wooden chairs helps in avoiding the risks of falls or accidents that may cause back injuries. Its solid frame helps in supporting the spine and in turn, reduces the aches and strains on the lower back.
Lightweight and Portability
In contrast to other types of office chairs, wooden chairs are lightweight and can be easily moved around. The portability of wooden chairs helps in moving them from one spot to another in the home or office workspace.
Wood is a porous and breathable material and therefore chairs made from wood easily allow air to pass through them. Tiny air pockets in a cellular wooden structure help in preventing the build-up of moisture, heat, and sweat in it. In this way, it helps your back to remain dry and cool in hot environments.
As we all know that wood is a renewable material which makes it ideal for eco-conscious design practices. While this factor might not be directly beneficial for your back health but it’s vital for the health of your planet which in turn impacts your physical and mental well-being. So, if you are looking for an environmentally friendly office chair, rest assured that a wooden chair is the most suitable chair in this regard.
Durability and Lastingness
A well-made wooden chair can last for decades or even centuries. You must have seen the wooden furniture in your house that belonged to your grandparents or even great-grandparents. If you have been unlucky to see it in your home, then you have seen such old wooden furniture in museums or old furniture shops and you must have praised their strength. Wood is undoubtedly one of the most durable materials for making chairs and a good quality wooden chair can provide life-long support and comfort to your back.
Wooden chairs have a warm and appealing look which adds a touch of sophistication to your workspace. It has a timeless appeal that easily blends into both modern and traditional interior styles. Especially, if you are an admirer of vintage and classic furniture, a wooden chair is a treat for you.
Potential Drawbacks of Wooden Chairs
As you have explored the benefits of wooden chairs for your back, let’s shed light on some of the drawbacks of wooden chairs for your back and overall body:
Limited Adjustability Options
A wooden chair lacks the flexibility and adjustability that a high-end modern office chair can provide. It generally lacks adjustable backrests, lumbar support, seat height, armrests, and other adjustability options which make it difficult to customize according to individual body needs.
A wooden chair typically lacks cushioning, making it uncomfortable to sit for long hours. Insufficient cushioning also leads to discomfort and pain in back muscles.
Lack of Ergonomics
Wooden chairs generally lack advanced ergonomic features such as reclining mechanisms, lumbar support, 3-D adjustable armrests, 360-degree swivel, and other cool ergonomic features. For your information, an ergonomic office is a type of chair specifically designed to provide comfort and support to users through its highly adjustable and supportive features.
Its contoured lumbar support helps in maintaining the natural curvature of your spine and in turn, eliminates the risks of developing back pain. Your wooden chair might not contain most of these features but it doesn’t mean that you should throw it away.
How to Make a Wooden Chair More Comfortable?
While a wooden chair might not be the most comfortable and supportive option for your back, its elegance and sophistication make it difficult to throw it away from your workspace. Luckily, there is a middle ground that would allow you to enjoy the best of both worlds. Yes, you got it right. We are providing you with some cool tricks to make your good lucking and elegant wooden chair also a comfortable and supportive piece of furniture.
Add a Lumbar Support Cushion
Since wooden chairs don’t have lumbar support, you can attach removable lumbar support to them to get additional support for your back. A lumbar support cushion would evenly distribute the weight down your spine and reduce the risk of developing back pain. You can also use a small pillow to make the space between the backrest of the chair and your lower back. Additionally, a rolled-up towel can also be used as a substitute for lumbar support for your wooden office chair.
Attach a Seat Cushion
Attach foam or gel cushions on the seat of your wooden chair to make it comfortable for sitting. A seat cushion helps in reducing pressure on your lower back and achieving a good sitting posture. These cushions are easily available in both in-house and online furniture stores. Additionally, you can use a soft pillow or cushion from your couch on the seat of a wooden chair to reduce pressure on your hips, backs, or thighs.
Get a Footrest
Since the seat height of wooden chairs cannot be adjusted, consider using a footrest to get the desired height. A footrest not only helps in increasing the height of the chair but it has a range of other benefits as well. It improves blood circulation in your feet which in turn decreases the risks of swelling, stiffness, and blood clots. The use of a footrest would also help in preventing your legs from dangling uncomfortably and keep your body in an upright position.
Improve Your Sitting Posture
Always remember that how you sit is more important than what you sit on. Even a high-end ergonomic office chair is of no use if you don’t know how to sit in a good posture. Therefore, it’s crucial to practice a good sitting posture to prevent any pain or discomfort in the back, no matter what chair you are using.
A good sitting posture is one in which your back is straight, your shoulders are relaxed and your feet are flat on the floor or footrest. To adopt a good sitting posture, keep the following points in mind while sitting:
- Your computer screen should be at the same level or slightly below the level of your eyes.
- Don’t cross your legs as it can hinder the circulation of blood in your body.
- Keep your back upright and try to distribute the weight evenly across your legs. Make sure that your back is properly aligned with the backrest of your office chair.
- Keep your shoulders in a relaxed position and avoid hunching them forward or backward. Instead, try to keep them in a neutral position.
Take Regular Breaks from Work
Regardless of all the modifications made, it is important to take regular breaks from your work and move around. Take a small walk or perform simple stretches to avoid the stiffness in your feet and back muscles caused due to prolonged sitting. Try benefiting from active sitting, a type of sitting that involves making small movements while sitting rather than pursuing a static posture. Acting sitting promotes increased body movement and physical activity throughout the day.
In a nutshell, wooden chairs are helpful for your back health in many ways. Their breathability, durability, and natural aesthetics make them an inviting option for different home or office workspaces. However, it has a few limitations as well such as limited cushioning and lack of ergonomics and adjustability options. Still, you can tailor them to suit your body requirements by adding certain accessories such as a footrest, lumbar support cushion, seat cushion, and others. So, go and alter your wooden chair to make it comfortable for your back while retaining its aesthetics for your workspace.
Are wooden chairs healthy to sit on?
Wooden chairs are neither completely healthy nor harmful to your back. Certain features of wooden chairs such as breathability, portability, and stability make them helpful in preventing back strain. However, its limited cushioning, adjustability, and ergonomics may trigger pain in your back if you sit on it for long hours.
What types of chairs are best for your back?
A good-quality ergonomic office chair is best for your back as it helps in supporting the natural curvature of your spine. However, it is important to adopt a good sitting posture to harness the full benefits of the ergonomic chair.
What are the advantages of wooden chairs?
Wooden chairs have a lot of advantages ranging from their classic vintage look to their sturdiness and strength to their durability. The presence of wooden chairs in an office or home workspace brings a natural warmth and ambiance.
What kind of chair won’t hurt your back?
A good equally ergonomic office chair won’t hurt your back. The most popular models of ergonomic office chairs include Herman Miller Aeron, Herman Miller Mirra 2, Ergochair Plus office chair, and Steelcase Gesture.