If your office chair is giving you backaches because it is so uncomfortable, your best option really is to replace it. However, if this is not an option due to lack of funds or for some other reason, there are some ways to make your old, uncomfortable office chair a bit more tolerable. Here's a look.
Put a pillow behind your lower back.
One of the biggest flaws in older office chairs is their lack of lumbar support. In other words, they do not have any padding in the lower back area. This lack of lumbar support not only leads to lower back pain, but it can also make your mid and upper back sore because it causes these portions of the spine to sink downward. The easiest solution in this case is to place a small pillow between your lower back and the office chair. A rolled-up towel also works and is the proper shape.
Adjust the height -- using towels if needed.
If your office chair's height is not perfect, this could be contributing to your pain. You should not have to look up or down to see your computer screen -- your chair should be a height that lets you see it perfectly when you look straight ahead. Increasing your comfort may be as simple as adjusting the height of your office chair, but sadly, some older office chairs do not adjust in height. In this case, your best bet is to fold up a towel or two to raise the seat.
If your office chair is actually too high and won't adjust, you can instead raise your computer screen to make things more comfortable. Set it on a stack of books or a box, bringing it up to the perfect height.
Spend less time in the chair.
When you have a truly uncomfortable office chair, one of the best things you can do for your overall health is to spend less time in that chair. Try doing some of your tasks, such as making phone calls or filling out paperwork, from a standing position. Get up and walk down the hall to ask a coworker questions instead of sending an email from your desk chair. If you can finagle your day to spend only four out of eight work hours in the uncomfortable chair, your side effects will be less pronounced.
Even with the tips above, it's important to work towards purchasing a newer, more suitable chair. If your employer won't spring for a new chair, this may be a case in which it's worth putting in some of your own money. After all -- a comfortable chair is essential for ongoing health. Check out retailers like D&R Office Works Inc. to browse your options.