Are Kneeling Chairs Good for Your Back – Can it help alleviate pain?

Are Kneeling Chairs Good for Your Back – Can it help alleviate pain?

Does your back/neck hurt? Has someone mentioned kneeling office chairs and said that they heard from someone who told someone that they were great for back pain? Before you rush out and buy one, I’ve been using one for about 3 months to see what the hype was all about. I think I’m now ready to answer the burning question, are kneeling chairs good for your back? Without further ado, let’s jump in!

What exactly is a kneeling chair?

A kneeling chair is fairly self-explanatory but if you’ve never seen one you might be hard-pressed to pull up an image of one in your head. Take a look below.

Your butt goes on the upper pad and your knees on the lower one

That’s a kneeling chair.

What’s the point?

That’s an excellent question. The point is that when we sit down in a standard chair, all of our weight is on our butt and lower back. We tend to lose the natural S-curve in our back. It starts looking a lot more like a ‘C’ and this places even more of your upper body weight squarely on your lower back. This is where a lot of back and neck problems stem from.


That S-curve you have when your standing allows your body to support itself adequately. Your neck, hips, and knees should all be in a perfectly straight line if you have proper posture. This is pretty rare these days as most Americans sit for over 13 hours per day. If you add that to the 8 hours of sleeping, we’re averaging a life where we’re sedentary for 21 hours a day. Yet, we’re confused why the obesity rate is rising and why there are so many illnesses?

Anyways, the point of a kneeling chair is for you to engage your core muscles and to keep the natural curve in your back even when you’re sitting down. The forward angle of the seat is pushing your weight forward, so you have to use your muscles to not fall on your face.

The idea is, if you’re continually working those muscles then you won’t slouch and over time, you’ll strengthen your core.

Does it work?

The short answer, yes it does (for some people and for specific problems). As we all know, life and our bodies are much more complicated than a simple yes or no answer.

If you’re having LOWER back problems, this could be a great solution as the design takes the weight off your lower back and divides it between your butt and shins. Taking this load off the lower back will allow it to heal and then strengthen.

The theory behind it all

Some common ailments a kneeling chair might help:

  • slipped disc
  • muscle pain in the lower back
  • poor circulation
  • weak core muscles
  • tight hip flexors

The cons

Kneeling chairs, in the context above, seem like a good idea but they’re obviously not all they’re made out to be since most offices in America are still using a normal chair despite kneeling chairs only going for about $100.

Knee pain

Do people read like this?

Having weight on your shins and knees after about 20 minutes becomes really uncomfortable. After a while most people tend to lessen some of the weight, they’re placing there, and so they then sit back and create that nasty C-curve all over again. Working for 8 hours sitting in a kneeling chair is out of the question. Could you stand up every 20 minutes and take a break to relieve the weight on your knees? As a freelancer, of course, you could. No one is looking over your shoulder, but you might not get much done unless you have a lot of self-discipline to come back to work after a few minutes.


Most kneeling chairs are very stationary. You don’t have your legs to push your around and so if you work isn’t directly in front of you, you’ll be turning and twisting which could be even worse for you then sitting down all day.

Hard to get in and out

If you’re having back issues and mobility is a problem, getting your legs into that position could be a problem. If you need to stand up and do things fairly often, this could become a nuisance very quickly. Also, when you finally do get in, you can’t go anywhere. You can’t move your legs or bounce your knee or really move around at all.

Tight hamstrings

I’ve been using a kneeling chair for a while now, and something that I’ve


noticed is that my hamstrings (the back of my legs) are actually tighter. One of the main problems with sitting is that your body adapts to that posture and it will stay there because you’re teaching your body that a seated position is more important than a standing one.

With a kneeling chair, your knees are bent more than 90 degrees. That means that over time they will become even tighter than if you used a standard chair. Tight hamstrings can cause a whole slew of back and hip problems as well.

Improper use

With most things, people think more is better. However, even with the good things in life (exercise, sun, the beach), they reach a peak of goodness and then start a steep slide into being negative. Buying one of these chairs and using it for 8 hours a day, every day would be a bad idea. I don’t even think you’d get through a full 8 hours in a chair like this. Your body just isn’t ready for it. This is one of the main reasons people stop using these chairs, but that’s not the chair’s fault, it’s user error.

Half hour of this an I look like a tomato

Should you buy a kneeling chair?

If you’re suffering from one of the ailments above and have tried stretching, exercising and being more active, but they haven’t helped, then you might want to think about getting one. Unfortunately for freelancers many of us have to work at a computer, and that means being seated for the majority of the day. A kneeling chair might not be a bad idea.

Remember! I’ve mentioned in a couple of my articles: How to Use a Standing Desk Properly and How to Help Lower Back Pain that you should stand at least as much as you sit. If you do this and you are only using your kneeling chair for a maximum of 30 minutes at a time, then I say go for it. I’ve found that if I sit for only 25-30 minutes, then my knees don’t start to hurt and I don’t get overly tired. However, any longer than that and I begin to suffer.

        +   = 

A kneeling chair isn’t an easy fix-all for back pain. If used in short bursts between periods of standing I believe it could maximize the benefits while minimizing the negatives. I’ve recently purchased an adjustable height standing desk and have found that this 30min seated/30min standing solution really works.

There’s no fix-all for a sedentary life

Research shows that even going to the gym a couple of times a week can’t reverse the effects of sitting all day. The only thing that can do that is standing more. A kneeling chair won’t fix your back. It just puts you in a position where you’re unconsciously exercising it. However, you’re still sitting down whether your weight is on your knees or your back. You can’t fake standing up. Our bodies were made to be standing up and moving.

A kneeling chair might help with your back pain but in no way will it fix your sedentary life, and that’s most likely the root of the problem.

If you’re just getting into the freelance game and are setting up your office I’ve got you covered. Take a quick peek at How to Organize a Home Office – Function and Comfort over Form to get you pointed in the right direction.

Have you tried out a kneeling chair? What do you think so far?

8 Replies to “Are Kneeling Chairs Good for Your Back – Can it help alleviate pain?”

  1. Hey! A kneeling chair that’s a niche, I didn’t know that we have this kind of chair.
    Everything is said on the subject, just that can’t be found in the market next door
    Could the teachers use it in classroom sometimes?
    The fact you have to break every 20 minutes is in my point of view a positive “problem” as we spent more time without really knowing we are hurting our back staying seated for hours.
    I just wonder and try to imagine typing these lines in the kneeling position how that can work
    Useful to know for working people who spent a lot of money to visit the doctor

    1. Hey!

      Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment. I don’t see why teacher’s wouldn’t be able to use one. I’m actually sitting on one right now and typing this out. Once you get used to it, like anything, it becomes pretty natural. It could definitely help your if your back is giving you problems. The point I was trying to make with the 20 minutes is that if you don’t have an alternative (standing desk) where you can continue working, then you might not get much done throughout the day. Especially if your breaks are long.

      Thanks again for stopping by and let me know if you every have any questions. Happy Freelancing!

  2. I’ve never heard of kneeling chairs before but I don’t think it would be a good fit for me. I can’t imagine staying in that position for an extended period of time. I think that would cause some knee pain. However, I like what you suggested at the end of this review, the 30min seated/30min standing, I think this would be ideal.

    1. Hey!

      I appreciate you stopping by and leaving a comment. A kneeling chair can be really rough on your knees and back if you use it as a regular chair for 8 hours/day. I’m currently using the combo of 30 min kneeling chair and 30 min standing desk and it’s worked out great so far. Having the ability to stand up and move around every half hour keeps your from getting stiff and it actually keeps your energy up as well. Thanks again and if you have any questions please let me know!

  3. Hey! It’s the first time I hear about this kind of chair.
    I don’t think we can find this product on the local market, I .have’t seem one yet/
    Do you think it will be a revolutionary product which will be massively used in the future? Like being used in schools and classrooms?
    Do you think it’s a better solution compared to the traditional chair?.
    Is there a limited list of activities which you can do using this chair?
    I think is a good alternative for people who for for long hours.

    1. Hey!
      You may not find it in your local stores depending on where you live but looking up ‘kneeling chair’ on Amazon and it will give you a couple dozen options. I don’t think it will be revolutionary of massively used because unfortunately, sitting in it for more than 30 minutes straight is quite uncomfortable. I used one for a couple months and you really have no mobility when your feet are tucked up under you. If you need to move or turn or really do anything that isn’t typing on your computer it will be a bit uncomfortable.
      Thank you again for stopping by and Happy Freelancing!

  4. In your post, I can introduce to the kneeling chair. In the past, I have no idea about it. You found out advantage and disadvantaged of using the kneeling chair. It would be very helpful for all office man.
    Your image arrangement is awesome. This post I got a lot of medical advice. Thanks a lot.

    1. Hey Suhana,

      I’m glad you were able to find some useful tips from my article. Kneeling chairs can be great but only for a short period! Thank you for stopping by and let me know if you ever have any questions.

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