best office chairs for back pain

Best Office Chairs for Back Pain

Before we dive in and look at the reviews of the best office chairs for back pain...

Do you know how long you spend seated at your desk while in the office? The Centre for Disease Control found that 1 in 4 Americans spends more than 8 hours a day seated.

If you spend 8 hours a day seated, thats 56 hours a week, 224 hours a month, 2,688 hours a year and if you work for just 20 years that's a total of 53,760 hours which is equivalent to 2,240 full days on your chair.

Thats a lot of sitting days across your working life.

Many doctors have called sitting the new “smoking”. 

The American Chiropractic Association found that 80% of the American population suffers from back pain. Low back pain comes at a healthcare cost of slightly of 50 billion, can you imagine that 50 billion dollars a year. Also due to back pain, the marketplace loses a total of 264 million work days a year.

If you suffer from back pain already, you don't have to spend so much money on chiropractors or yoga classes, maybe you just need to change your office chair.

Ok...back to our reviews of these office chairs that many other people have admitted have done wonders for their backs.

One key defining feature that makes the AmazonBasics High-Back Executive Swivel Office Desk Chair one of the best in its class is its multiple adjustment options.

You get adjustments to raise and lower the seat height, as well as shift the seat from a fixed position to rocking back and forth.

To raise the chair, you have to first rise up from the seat and pull the pneumatic control handle. When lowering it, you’ll remain seated while pulling on the handle. This adjustment gives you a range of between 41.34 and 45.08 inches.

Adjusting the rocking motion simply involves turning a tilt—tension knob beneath the seat.

More comfort features...

It has a butterfly seat plate with curved contours designed to support your back and properly align your body. If you find yourself sitting for very long hours, this chair should work for you.

This chair has such a professional look to it. It's quite presentable and can even be used at the front desk on any office. 

Although it’s not made of pure leather, the bonded leather used is quite durable.

The lining is also combined with good quality PVC, which gives it an executive look.

Pros

  • Maximum weight capacity of 275 pounds
  • Well-padded seat and back

Cons

  • The armrests can't be adjusted

The La-Z-Boy Delano Executive Leather Office Chair is comfortable, durable, stable chair with an  incredible 400 lbs. weight capacity. This is the best executive office chair for big and tall people.

The chair’s commercial grade components surpass the rigorous BIFMA (Business and Institutional Furniture Manufacturers Association) testing standards. BIFMA standards are focused on safety, sustainability, and durability of commercial furniture products.

The chair is a winner both on its internal structure and external looks.

The chair is lined with professional looking bonded leather. And it’s further layered with ComfortCore Plus. This is an advanced layering system of memory foam for comfortable cushioning and firmness. You’re not going to feel any hard surfaces when using this chair.

But wait, there is more...

You also get controls to adjust the height and tilt of your chair to the most optimal ergonomic position. While doing this, your entire back rests on the high 35.25 inch back with a padded headrest designed to minimize pressure points and avoid discomfort. 

And you don't have to  worry about leg circulation problems with prolonged seating, because the seat edge has a waterfall design.

The finishing is just as expertly done as the chair structure.

The chair has wood components made of walnut, giving a classic brown finish.

Pros

  • Strong and well done stitching on the chair lining
  • Easy assembly with helpful instructions

Cons

  • Long heavy use may lead to sunken padding on the back

This ergonomic chair by BestOffice stands out because of two valuable features: the breathable mesh back and lumbar support. It's also the best budget option on this list.

The lumbar support, in particular, is based on a middle back design that’s detached from the mesh back. It gives your back support that you wouldn’t get on a plain chair back. 

The breathable mesh back gives a mouldable surface for comfort, as well as keeping you cool throughout the day, especially on hot summer days.

The chair uses high-density sponge cushions, designed to last long without losing integrity. This makes the chair useful in office spaces where you spend the entire day at your desk. Such cushioning is also fitted on the armrests, you will be comfortable placing your elbows on the armrests as you work on your computer.

If you have a body weight of 250 lbs. or lower, you can comfortably use it and expect it to last a long time. 

Pros

  • Cushioning on armrests for extra comfort
  • Breathable mesh back to keep you cool during hot weather

Cons

  • The armrests may be too low for tall people
  • It has a narrow width for someone with a wide body

One interesting feature that many customers mention about the BERLMAN Ergonomic High Back Mesh Office Chair is the armrests that can be flipped up.

This is a big deal...

Flipping up the arm rests helps you slip the chair under your desk, especially if it’s a low desk. This means you get closer to the work platform and maintain an upright posture, instead of leaning forward to reach the table. Plus, you can easily remove the arms, since they are attached using a nut.

Besides such convenience, this chair also addresses comfort... 

The foam material on the seat is about 4 inches thick. You will not be in pain after many hours sitting on this chair.

With the breathable mesh at the back, you should be cool as you work as air will move across easily.

It has an integrated frame that’s stable. And the tilting and moving mechanisms are strong. They include the pneumatic seat height adjustment, tilt lock mechanism, and tilt tension knob.

You should expect this chair to last a considerably long time.

Best of all, the chair has two notable ergonomic features: built-in lumbar support and headrest.

The lumbar support helps keep your spine in the right posture, while the head rest relieves strains from your neck.

Pros

  • Silenced rolling PU casters that don't give off screeching sounds
  • Built-in lumbar support and headrest for good body posture

Cons

  • If you wear shorts or short dresses, the mesh can be uncomfortable on your skin

Unlike most office chairs that don’t have any footrest, the Hbada Ergonomic Office chair offers far more comfort when you recline the back and place your feet on the footrest. The recline feature offers multiple adjustment positions such as tilt, height, lift, and lock settings. This way, you can adjust it to the best possible position when you just want to catch a break.

The contemporary ergonomic back mesh enhances air flow, which keeps you cool and comfortable if you spend the whole day seated. Combined with the built-in lumbar support and rotating headrest, you’ll have a good seating experience.

The slope on the seat cushion provides that waterfall structure that reduces stress on your legs. The benefit of such a feature will be apparent if you spend long hours seated. It facilitates blood circulation and you will not suffer feet cramps.

Even with all the adjustable moving parts, this chair has a high capacity of 300 lbs. And you get a 1-year warranty in case of any defects, with a risk-free 30-day return policy.

Pros

  • Stable steel frame for strength
  • 5-star silenced wheel base with easy movement on any surface

Cons

  • The lumbar support isn't adjustable

The height adjustable armrests and seat tilt adjustment make this Modway Articulate Ergonomic Mesh Office Chair one of the best office chairs for lower back pain.

Having the ability to tilt the seat to your liking helps prevent you from sliding off when you recline the chair back. This gives you a firm posture. The adjustable armrest also helps you maintain an upright posture as you position it to exactly where your elbows are.

The manufacturer went all out on the padding...

The chair comes with a generous 6 inch thick seat cushion, which ensures comfort even after long durations of use. The sturdy and supportive structure keeps the seat from wobbling and sustains weights of up to 331 lbs. And if you want it to match your interior, you have a choice from a variety of colors.

But there’s even more.

The chair comes with an assortment of multiples functionalities, including: 360 degree swivel, tilt and lock system, and one-touch chair height adjustment. And you don’t have to worry about moving it around, since the five dual-wheel casters can easily roll over hardwood and carpeted floors.

Considering the comfort of this chair, you might find yourself spending your leisure time on it – not just using it during office work hours.

Pros

  • High weight capacity of 331 lbs
  • Seat tilt adjustment

Cons

  • Excessive force can make the back slide down
  • Depth of the seat may not work for tall people as its a bit shallow

Herman Miller as a company has been in the furniture business since 1905. They know a lot about quality furniture and are a trusted brand with their pieces in found in many homes and offices across America and even the world.

The Herman Miller Sayl Ergonomic Office Chair is an attractive piece of furniture based on a combination of creative design and smart engineering.

This unique chair has an interesting look that you can’t ignore.

The most striking feature is the unframed 3D Intelligent back which gives you unhindered freedom to stretch and move, while providing firm support. It has cleverly designed elastomer strands on the suspension back which vary in thickness and tension, providing firmer support in transition areas along your spine.

If you are looking for something stylish, look no further.

The unframed back and Y-tower support give an interesting visual appearance that can transform a dull office space and just give it life.It certainly will give your business an image of creativity and class.

This smart engineering goes even further.

Its frames are designed to provide maximum support while being super lightweight. The entire chair has a weight of only 38 pounds, which is quite light compared to many other chairs. It's easy to assemble and easy to move around too.

Of course with its compact design you will experience its space saving advantage in limited office spaces. It has a height of 34.25 – 38.75”, a width of 24.5” and a depth of 24.5”.

All in all, having such a chair will certainly give your office a sophisticated look, apart from its ergonomic benefits.

Pros

  • Stylish design of the unframed back
  • The back allows for flexibility of movement

Cons

  • The armrests are not adjustable

The variety of adjustment options on the Duramont Ergonomic office chair include: adjusting the headrest height and angle, changing the lumbar support depth and height, shifting the armrest height and distance from the seat, tilting the backrest, adjusting the seat height, and changing the tilt tension. 

Clearly, with such a variety of options, you’re sure to get the right ergonomic position suited just for you.

The mesh gives your back proper cooling so you don’t sweat and feel uncomfortable during long seating durations. It’s quite firm, ensuring your back doesn’t slouch, which would ruin your posture. Best of all, the mesh structure offers better flexibility that conforms to each person’s back.

As complex as it may seem, it’s quite easy to assemble.

Assembly involves only 8 simple steps, which can be handled by just about anybody. 

The whole chair rests on a sturdy structure, you should be able to use it for a long time (this is especially important when considering the durability of the pneumatic controls found in such chairs, which bear your weight for long periods). Fortunately, this chair can sustain weights of up to 330 lbs.

Most importantly, all parts of the chair are made of quality material, ranging from the soft cushion seats, headrests, sturdy arms, to the rollerblade caster wheels.

Pros

  • A maximum weight capacity of 330 lbs
  • Strong and durable frame

Cons

  • It has a heavy base

The Smugdesk Ergonomic Office Chair takes adjustable armrests to the next level.

Not only can you push the armrest up and down, but also tilt it backwards or forwards. No wonder it’s called an ergonomic 3D armrest. 

And that’s not the only adjustable part.

The chair also has a multi-dimensional free rotating headrest. This gives your head and neck comfort by allowing accurate alignment with your body. Combined with the high back, you’ll get full support and comfort for your entire torso.

Further down, we have the functional lumbar support.

The functional lumbar support is designed to fit different body types. It hugs your lower back, reducing spine fatigue when sitting for long periods. That has the effect of relaxing your body and easing back pain. With long-term use, it will further enhance the natural curve of your spine.

It has a breathable mesh fabric which allows airflow to cool your body. This mesh fabric is made of strong durable material that sustains continuous use without wear and tear.

When you purchase it, you don’t need any additional tools to assemble. You can conveniently set it up on your own.

Pros

  • Ergonomic #D armrests with multiple adjustment options
  • Breathable mesh fabric to keep your body cool

Cons

  • Hard to move on a carpet while sitting on it
  • Wheel casters may not be interchangeable with other chairs

You can adjust the lumbar support of the Sihoo Ergonomic chair up and down within a distance of 5 cm. You can also move it back and front within a distance of 3 cm. This two-way fine-tuning is great in getting the right fit for different body types.

This chair has an adjustable headrest, designed to protect your cervical vertebra.

All that is complemented by the soft cushioned surfaces of the chair. Both the lumbar support and headrest have comfortable pillows to protect your back and head, respectively. The cushions are made of soft cotton, a highly breathable fabric.

On either side of the chair, you’ll find adjustable armrests.

You can position the armrests to the exact height that fits you, so you don’t have to bend over to rest your elbows.

And you don’t need to worry about the wheels scraping your wooden floor. The chair has smooth and thickened PU castors meant to prevent such incidents.

Above all, you should have peace of mind knowing that these chairs have undergone strict safety quality testing, including: handrail fatigue tests, cushion impact tests, and chair foot static pressure tests.

Pros

  • Breathable mesh will keep you cool
  • Adjustable lumbar support

Cons

  • The adjustable lumbar support may be too low for a tall person

What to Look for in an Office Chair- Online Buying Guide

Lumbar Support

When you observe most people at work, you will notice that they sit in a slouched position. With their backs bent outwards. A good office chair should have good lumbar support that will allow you to sit upright supporting most importantly your lower back with a slight forward arch. This way you will more often than not be seated in the right posture as your back is properly supported.

Height Adjustability

You should get a chair with the height adjustment lever, this way you can adjust the chair to a height that you are comfortable with and is correct for you. Your feet should not be suspended in the air while you seat, they should be flat on the floor. Your thighs should be horizontal to the floor.

Adjustable Backrest

Most office chairs will have the backrest attached to the seat. Look for a chair where you can move the backrest forward or backwards. You can then set the backrest to take the shape of your spine and support your back.

Easy to Operate Adjusting Controls

The adjusting controls on an office chair should be easy to reach and turn while seated. They shouldn't require you to get up from the chair to make adjustments because that will take too long as you will have to do it a couple of times to get the right settings for you. you should be able to go higher, lower, recline and swivel all with ease.

Adjustable Armrests

Manufacturers that make fixed armrests make so many assumptions about their potential customers. Look for an office chair with adjustable armrests as they take away pressure from your shoulders and your neck too.

Proper Material

You will notice most office chairs are mesh back chairs. The mesh material allows for airflow. Even as you sit for long hours on such mesh back chairs you will not sweat as much as the chairs not made of mesh material especially on the back. The padding on the chair should also be just right. You don't want a very soft chair and you definitely don't want a hard chair because you will experience pain as you work.

Chair Width and Depth

If you are short, you should look for an office chair that is shallow. If you are big and tall, you should look for an office chair that is sufficiently wide and deep to allow you to be comfortable. Most chairs for big and tall people you will find have more padding just because taller people tend to be heavier than shorter people. So the extra padding is necessary.

Frequently Asked Questions:

You obviously have several questions regarding office chairs and lower back pain. Here are answers to the most commonly asked questions you may have.

Can my office chair cause back pain?

Yes, especially if it’s just an ordinary office chair, but also an ergonomic chair can cause you back pain.

Sitting for too long places excessive pressure on your back muscles and spinal discs. It gets worse if you slouch on your chair (as many of us do while at the office), putting extra strain on your spine.

If you tip your head down while sitting, you also add extra strain on your neck and back. That’s because your head weighs an average of 10 lbs. which can add up to significant strain throughout your entire day.

With your body in an immobile state for too long, you lack physical and neurological stimulation that’s essential to preventing degeneration of muscle, bones, and other tissue. Weaker muscles and bones expose you to back problems and back pain.

Are office chairs good for your back?

Not all chairs are good for your back. Ergonomic office chairs are the best office chairs for lower back pain.

An ergonomic office chair helps you sit in the correct posture with your body properly aligned. This results in less discomfort and lower chances of back pain. Such a chair is typically height adjustable, so you can place your feet flat on the floor with your knees forming a 90-degree angle and in line or lower than your hips.

A chair with a headrest also supports your neck and head, preventing neck and shoulder stiffness and even such serious complications as cervical spondylosis.

The chair back also offers ample cushioning and support to your back, to avoid minor or severe pain. This is achieved by having a high enough backrest that supports the entire length of your spine. Hence, the chair back provides extra support instead of relying on your own muscles to support your back.

Placing your elbows on the armrests, while maintaining an upright posture, further safeguards your back from strain.

How do you sit in an office chair to avoid back pain?

Follow these steps:

  1. Sit pushing your hips the farthest you can on the back of the chair.

  2. Then adjust the seat height to the point where your feet are positioned flat on the floor.

  3. At this position your knees should be aligned with or slightly lower than your hips.

  4. Now recline the chair back to an angle between 100o and 110o while ensuring your lower and upper back are supported.

  5. To ensure proper support of your lower back, you can adjust the chair’s lumbar support if available or add small pillows.

  6. Adjust the armrests so your shoulders are relaxed. 

  7. You should also move as close as possible to your desk. 

How to know when lower back pain is serious?

You should seek immediate medical attention if you experience lower back pain accompanied by other troubling signs like increasing weakness in your legs, severe stomach pain, loss of bowel and/ or bladder control, and high fever.

Although each case of back pain is unique, several common aspects can help you figure out how serious yours is.

For instance, you may experience intense pain from a pulled lower back muscle, which subsides after a few days following basic at-home care. On the other hand, you may experience moderate dull aches in your lower back from lumbar degenerative disc disease, which gets worse over time if you don’t seek treatment.

Visit a doctor if you experience lower back pain lasting 1 to 2 weeks.

How do you relieve lower back pain at work?

  1. Always sit upright, your shoulders relaxed and your body firmly resting against the back of your chair. 

  2. Take short breaks every so often. You can go to the restroom, visit the copy machine or get a glass of water. Such increased mobility helps strengthen your muscles to support your back and relieve pain.

  3. Inform your supervisor about any back problems you’re experiencing that interfere with your job. An understanding employer can provide special accommodations to address your physical challenges, like adjusting your duties, or perhaps provide ergonomic equipment like chairs and standing desks.

Is walking good for lower back pain?

While walking, your body releases neurotransmitters chemicals (serotonin and endorphins) which make you feel better. This helps numb back pain. Besides, you get distracted from pain during the walking session.

However, you shouldn’t walk on hilly surfaces, which forces you to lean forward, further straining your back. Instead, only start slowly, walking on flat surfaces or even on a treadmill.

If you feel shooting leg pain or numbness while walking, stop and consider visiting your doctor as soon as possible.

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