If you sit at a desk for a good portion of your workday, you’ve likely become unfortunate friends with back pain. Sitting keeps your back at a static, upright posture for hours at time, putting pressure and stress on muscles, tendons, and discs.
So what can you do to improve your desk environment for better back health and overall productivity?
Below you’ll find our top five picks for the best office chairs for back pain, followed by a short guide to help you choose the ideal chair for you!
The Best Office Chairs For Back Pain
Below you’ll find our five favorite office chairs that best meet the above criteria, made especially to relieve back pain. No pain means greater productivity, happiness, and health!
1. AmazonBasics High-Back Executive Chair
This is a number one best seller on Amazon because it is the ultimate in design and comfort. The AmazonBasics High-Back Executive Chair is upholstered in bonded black leather and PVC, giving off a powerful and commanding appearance. It has platinum matte applications, further adding to the executive look of this chair. It comes in both black and brown leathers, so it is sure to match most desk spaces or boardrooms.
Along with the sophisticated and professional style comes smooth, padded cushions that contour to your back. You’ll feel like you’re sitting in a comfortable, leather recliner with enhanced back, side, and arm support. It has a butterfly seat plate and curved contours designed specifically to outline proper, natural posture.
Few can compare with this executive chair’s movement. The pneumatic seat-height adjustment allows for personalized comfort by allowing you to adjust the position to your exact specifications.
You simply stand up and use the control handle to rise, or you stay seated on it and use the control handle to lower it. You can adjust it from 41.34 to 45.08 inches, so it’s great for all sizes of desks and users.
Not only does it go up and down, but it also tilts as well. The knob has settings that allow it to go from a loose rocking back and forth to a stable and upright position. This is a great option if you like to fidget or want to get some movement in your torso!
We also love the wheels. With 360-degree swivel and nylon casters, you can move the AmazonBasics Executive Chair from your desk to the boardroom to the break room with ease. You never have to be without your favorite ergonomic chair!
Note that the maximum weight capacity is 250 pounds, and assembly is required.
A similar alternative with many of the same features is the Serta Back in Motion Health and Wellness Mid-Back Office Chair.
2. AmazonBasics Mid-Back Mesh Chair
The AmazonBasics Mid-Back Mesh Chair is made for breathability and flexibility. The contoured mesh back promotes airflow, which keeps your back and body cool, improving productivity and decreasing stress levels.
This helps you feel like you are not “locked” into the chair, but it still maintains strong lower back support and a curved backing to emulate natural posture. The padded seat and nylon, T-shaped armrests keep your pressure points supported for added comfort.
This mesh chair also has a pneumatic seat-height adjustment that enables you to move up and down as necessary. It is easy to adjust, so you can quickly change it throughout the day as you move between different desktop and surface heights.
The dual-wheel casters are simple and smooth, so you can move with ease. The chair also offers a tilting feature. This is great for longer days where you need a more reclined position!
We love the modern look of the AmazonBasics Mid-Back Mesh Chair. A simple appearance with sophisticated comfort! The max weight is 225 pounds.
A similar alternative is the Mid-Back Black Mesh Swivel Task Chair with mesh Padded Seat and Flip-Up Arms.
3. BestOffice Mid Back Mesh Ergonomic Computer Desk Office Chair
Another breathable and supple mesh chair is the BestOffice Mid Back Mesh Ergonomic chair. In black, red, or white, this professional and eye-catching chair is ideal for people who have been struggling to find the perfect desk chair.
It has an adjustable height from 19” to 23” that makes it great for smaller and medium sized desks that are often hard to find a matching chair for.
Don’t let this ergonomic office chair’s simple and clean design fool you. The seat’s double padding is covered in mesh material that promotes airflow to the legs and spine, perfect for those workers who are stuck in their chairs all day.
The mesh backing has a built-in support that curves to the contours of the lower spine to promote great posture.
Plus, this BestOffice Mesh Chair is one of the most economical ones you’ll find on the market! It has a low price, and many customers rave about how it’s even better than pricier, executive chairs they’ve tried in the past.
It’s a great option for home offices or students, because it is padded, sleek, and inexpensive.
4. Serta Air Health and Wellness Executive Office Chair
This Serta Air Health and Wellness Executive Office Chair is so comfortable, you’ll need extra coffee so you won’t fall asleep in it! Made by the Serta mattress company, this office chair has layered body pillows that hug every part of you.
The pillows are covered in eco-friendly bonded gray leather, which gives it a unique and high-class appearance.
The Air kinetic lumbar adapts to your movement, so you always have back support—even as you twist, move, and turn. The arm pads are soft and stylish, ideal for preventing carpal tunnel and other work-related hand injuries.
This Serta chair has easily-accessible seat-side cable levers for height and tilt adjustments. There are even tension and lock out features, so you can always find the absolute perfect posture and position for you. It is fortified for durability, so you will have this chair for years to come.
This chair has the look and feel of a massage chair, and you’ll find a tranquil and serene work experience. You’ll never want to leave work with this Serta Air Executive Office Chair!
5. Gaiam Balance Ball Chair
Exercise balls are becoming a huge desk chair trend because of their ability to tone the core, improve posture, relieve pain, and improve overall wellbeing. Traditional exercise balls, though, can be unstable for beginners, and it can cause added tiredness at the beginning of use.
We recommend a Gaiam Balance Ball Chair. These gives you all the benefits of an exercise ball, with the stability and lower back support of a traditional ergonomic chair! The 52-centimeter balance ball is designed for a more aligned spine and relaxed back muscles.
The ball is designed for users 5ft to 5’11” with a 300lb weight capacity; it is lower to the ground than traditional chairs. Because of its height, it alleviates aching limbs and muscle that come from traditional desk sitting.
We love that this stability ball chair has a small lower backing. If you’re having a rough day, you can lean back slightly and still have support. This will keep you from slouching and not wasting your productive energy on stability.
This chair is comfort perfectly blended with health! Plus, the wheels make it is easy to roll through the office to show off your balance ball chair (and get work done). The two back wheels lock, so you won’t be rolling around like on traditional balance balls.
There are a variety of colors for this Gaiam Balance Ball Chair to match your office and your style: black, purple, blue, green, gray, forest, fuchsia, ocean, and wasabi. These brighter colors are common in startup companies for their ability to brighten up the office space!
It’s important to note that you will occasionally need to re-inflate the ball to ensure it continues to strengthen your core. This ball will also not work for taller desks.
Measure your space and take into account the dimensions of the chair (and your height) to ensure that your arms and hands sit at the correct height.
Understanding and Solving Chair-Related Back Pain
One-half of working Americans have back pain every year. The most common reason for extended periods of missed work is back pain.
In fact, back pain is the second most common cause of doctor’s visits overall. Back pain is not only common, but it’s debilitating.
It forces workers to take days off, be less productive, and diminish quality of life in and out of the office.
Most back pain has two major causes: incorrect lifting of heavy items and poor posture while sitting. Many jobs today involve sitting behind a desk for hours at a time, and this causes slouching and curves that can misalign the spine, move discs, strain muscles, and stretch tendons. Much of this is caused by not having the proper chair support.
To avoid back pain, you want an ergonomically designed chair. Ergonomics are those types of devices that help lessen work-related musculoskeletal disorders in the workplace.
This means using a chair that scientifically promotes both health and efficiency. These chairs are comfortable, supportive, and adjustable depending on your workstation.
So what should you be looking for when purchasing an ergonomic chair for your office or home?
1. Lumbar support
You want a chair that keeps your spine and torso upright and aligned. It should have comfortable cushions or rests that maximize back support, and the backing should curve with the spine. The armrests should also be supportive and cushioned for comfort and wrist support.
If you’re looking for a way to spice up your seat, try an exercise ball chair. It tones your muscles and promotes great posture. Many people use a typical exercise ball as their chair, but these can easily get tiring after 8 hours.
Instead, opt for an exercise ball with proper backing and lumbar support. This will give you the great toning benefits of the ball with all the backing of an ergonomic chair. Check out our review below of the Gaiam Balance Ball Chair.
2. Proper workstation height
You will ideally want a chair that is adjustable, so you can position it to the correct height no matter where you bring it. If your chair is too high or too low in comparison to the desk or table, it will create added pressure on your spine, neck, wrists, and hands.
To determine the best chair-to-table height:
- Your elbow should be at a 90-degree angle when your hands rest on the desk.
- You should be able to fit at least one fist between your thigh and the desk’s underside.
- You should be able to fit at least one fist between your calf and the front of the chair. If not, you will need a support cushion.
- Your lower back should be resting against the chair or cushion for support.
- Your eyes should look directly in the middle at your screen when at rest
Although not crucial to your purchase decision, most office chairs have wheels with 360-degree turning that allow you to move your chair from your desk to the boardroom to the break room. Wheels mean mobility—so you can always get the support and comfort you need.
Along with an adjustable height, you should look to see whether your chair tilts and locks in place. Tilting can help blood circulate and change posture position, so you don’t feel stagnant and stuck in the same seat all day. How far back can it tilt, and will it still have the same support?
Look at all of the features of the office chair as a whole. Will this chair both support your posture and your work lifestyle? Will it be comfortable, mobile, and attractive? Will it make you excited to sit at your desk?
The Bottom Line: The Best Office Chairs For Back Pain
We have chosen the above five products for their functionality, mobility, support, coziness, and appearance. If you spend hours sitting in your chair, you want it to be your comfortable companion.
Your chair should entice you, excite you to come to work, make you happy to sit at your desk. The right ergonomic office chair can reduce back pain and muscle soreness, while increasing productivity and engagement.
Sit down, and find the chair that will work best for your health.