Common Issues with Ergonomic Chairs and Practical Solutions for a Pain-Free Workday

Even with the best intentions, ergonomic chairs can sometimes fall short of expectations

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In today's world where most of us spend many hours sitting at a desk, the importance of ergonomic chairs cannot be overstated. These chairs are designed to provide support and promote proper posture, ultimately aiming to reduce the risk of discomfort and injury associated with prolonged sitting. However, even with the best intentions, ergonomic chairs can sometimes fall short of expectations, leaving users frustrated and uncomfortable. In this blog, we'll explore some of the common issues with ergonomic chairs and provide practical solutions to help you optimise your seating experience for a pain-free workday. How to choose the right ergonomic desk chair

In recent study by the European Heart Journal, they found that on average, people sit for 10.4 hours every day.
Harvard Health - March 2024. 

1. Lack of Adjustability

One of the primary issues users face with office chairs is the lack of adjustability. Everybody has a unique body shape. Some people are short, others tall, some have long legs, and so the list goes on. What works for one person may not necessarily work for another. A chair that cannot be adjusted to accommodate individual preferences and body shape, can lead to discomfort and even pain over time. Why a fully adjustable office chair is important


Look for a chair with multiple adjustable features such as, seat height and width, armrest height and width, lumbar support, and tilt angle and tension. Take the time to customise your chair according to your specific needs and preferences to achieve optimal comfort and support throughout the day. Video Guide: How to Set Up your Office Chair and Workstation

good adjustability is important to avoid the common issues with ergonomic chairs
Adjustability requirements for ergonomic chairs

2. Inadequate lumbar support is one of the most common issues users have with ergonomic chairs

Inadequate lumbar support is a common complaint among ergonomic chair users. Without proper support for the lower back, individuals may experience back pain and discomfort, especially during extended periods of sitting. Back support for an office chair – why it’s important


Choose a chair fitted with an adjustable lumbar support that can be positioned to fit the natural curve of your spine. Maintaining proper alignment of the spine is crucial for reducing the risk of back pain and promoting overall comfort. Achieving a Healthy Sitting Position at the Office: Your Guide to Ergonomic Comfort

how ergonomic chairs transformed my work life
How Ergonomic Chairs Transformed My Work Life – My Journey with Nerve Pain in My Lower Back

3. Poor seat cushioning and insufficient seat depth

Some office chairs may have insufficient or overly firm seat cushioning, which can contribute to discomfort, particularly in the buttocks and thighs. Furthermore, if the seat depth is too shallow, it can result in undue pressure under the thighs which becomes uncomfortable.


Select a chair with ample moulded foam seat padding that provide adequate cushioning without being too soft or too firm....just like a typical car seat. Additionally, consider a chair with contoured or waterfall-edge seat designs, which can help alleviate pressure on the thighs and promote better blood circulation. If you are taller or shorter than normal, a chair with seat depth adjustment is essential.

good adjustability is important to avoid the common issues with ergonomic chairs
The ErgoCurve has a well proportioned moulded foam seat and is fitted with seat depth adjustment

4. Limited chair mobility is a common issue with ergonomic chairs

While ergonomic chairs are designed to provide support, they should also allow for ease of movement. Chairs that restrict movement or have cumbersome mechanisms can impede productivity and contribute to discomfort.


Choose chairs with smooth swivel and casters that allow you to move freely within your workspace without straining or exerting unnecessary effort. If you are using the chair on a hard surface like tiles, wood or concrete, it should be fitted with rubber castors to prevent the wheels from 'skidding' over the surface. For a carpet floor, standard nylon castors will surfice. Ensure that the chair's adjustments are intuitive and easy to use, allowing you to seamlessly transition between different seated positions throughout the day.


Engineers continually work on designing office chairs that will provide support to your back and improve your posture. Today, there are many ergonomic chair options available that will ensure a healthier, more comfortable seating experience, and so avoid the common issues some users experience. If you are unsure about purchasing a particular chair, consider reaching out to a Professional Ergonomic Risk Facilitator to provide assistance. Alternatively, visit our Johannesburg showroom where one of our team will be happy to assist you. Investing in an ergonomic chair is crucial step towards promoting comfort, productivity and overall wellbeing in the workplace. However, it’s essential to recognise and address the common issues that may arise to fully reap the benefits that an ergonomic chair can provide.

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