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Can Your Office Chair Cause Hip Pain?

Updated on August 27, 2015
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Do you really think that good office chairs do not cause hip pain? If you do, the reality is going to surprise you.

Chair manufacturers may sweet talk you all they want, but the fact of the matter is that even the most comfortable office chairs can make your hip area sore after a long day of work. Sounds a bit scary, doesn’t it!

Well, office chairs cause hip pain mainly due to two reasons: the presence of a contoured seat, and the use of a wrong hip-joint angle.

Let us understand what these two are all about.

1. The presence of a contoured seat

Contoured or sculpted seats, like the ones that have the sides slightly raised than the middle, are not at all good for hip health. In most cases, office chairs that feature contoured seats have the ability to impart hip pain.

This fact is not known too widely. And that is the reason why so many people make the mistake of purchasing a chair with a contoured seat in the first place, only to change it later again with another similar model. These people, without knowing what they are getting into, keep making the same mistake again and again.

The good news is, even if you own a contoured chair, you can adjust it to make it less severe for your hips. You can carefully fold a towel or take a pillow, and put it in the contoured region to make the sitting area flat or level. If money is not a problem, you can even go a step further and replace your contoured chair with one that has a flat seat. However, the latter option may not be too practical for many, since most good office chairs that have flat seats cost a lot of money.

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2. The use of a wrong hip-joint angle

Hip pain can occur if you rely on a bad hip-joint angle, too. Hip-joint angle is the angle your hip makes with your trunk when you sit on a chair. A bad hip-joint angle can not only cause hip pain, but can also lead to several other health issues.

So what is a good hip-joint angle? One study found that the ideal hip joint angle is 135 degrees. Does that seem like a surprise? If yes, you are not alone. Most people expect the answer to be 90 degrees!

Anyway, if you want to achieve the ideal angle of 135 degrees when sitting on your chair, the best thing you can do is notice the position of your knees relative to your hips. If you find that your knees stay at a higher level compared to your hips when sitting, then you need to lower your chair a bit.

It is truly fascinating that most people do not even consider something as important as hip-joint angle when sitting on a chair. Let alone that, many even do not bother to look at the various adjustments available in a chair before buying it. They just look at the price and style of the chair, and base their decision on that.

If you want to have a healthy hip that does not annoy you with any kind of pain, you need to take your time to adjust your hip-joint angle.

Remember that wrong hip-joint angle is not just associated with hip pain. A bad angle can harm your spinal discs, as well.

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Your office chair can certainly make your hips painful if you are not careful. But, as long as you maintain a good hip-joint angle during your sitting sessions and use a chair that contains a flat seat, hip pain should not be an issue.

We would love to hear your opinion

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    • Crainbow1 profile image

      Chris Rainbow 2 years ago from London

      I'm most guilty of some of the points raised here! thank you for the great advice, I'll know to be more careful with the hip-joint angle when sitting on my office chair for long periods of time!

    • Glenn Co profile image

      Glenn 2 years ago from Greater Burlington, Vt

      It's about time someone put this information into print.

      A very good chair, and the proper chair are critical for office and computer people who are in them several hrs. per day.

      I've been told by a chiropractor and also by an orthopedic surgeon, that sitting, in general is a very unnatural position for the body, whereas standing is the ideal position for the human body. (Their point was that if you need to sit at a desk for prolonged periods, pick the best chair that you can, and one that gives you the proper support.)