This story really confirms my own personal experience — I have a pretty bad back (especially for a 22-year-old), and when I sit up straight for long periods of time, it hurts more than when I slouch and let the chair support me. Researchers have found my soreness was telling me something.
Some of the information is interesting but not practical. The best angle to sit at is 135 degrees — a 45-degree angle up from flat on one’s back, sort of a supported half-situp position. You can’t drive, type or take notes that way. Also, I would guess that leaning back period can be bad, not on your back but on the neck you then have to lean forward to look straight ahead (my neck is terrible as well).
The other question I have is, even at a 135 degree angle, how much difference does the chair make? I would think a full-supporting chair (fairly rare in offices) would be best — when the top part of my back rests but the lower part just kind of hangs, I get lower back pain.
According to the article, back pain is a huge economic burden in the way of medical bills, sick leave, etc. As a sufferer myself, I have to applaud any development that can alleviate it.
Robert VerBruggen blogs at http://robertsrationale.blogspot.com.