Best Office Chair for Back Pain

Updated: Nov 11, 2023 9:06 AM
best office chair back pain featured image that shows the top three best office chair models

Sitting in an office chair for 8+ hours a day can cause some serious back pain and possibly long term back problems. So, to help you relieve your pain from sitting for long hours, we researched 40 different ergonomic chairs to find the best office chair for lower back pain and good posture. You may also want to read about the best office chair under 500. All in all, you need to get the best office chair.

As a part of our research, we sat and worked in each of these chairs for hours on end, measuring their pain-relieving functionality, overall ergonomics, and adjustability. After our extensive research, we narrowed down our list of the Best Office Chairs for Lower Back Pain to the top 10 products and discovered that the Herman Miller Embody Chair is the best for back pain relief.

This chair is extremely comfortable no matter how long you sit on it, and it promotes blood flow throughout your entire body. The Embody automatically adjusts to your body to alleviate the strain on your lower back when sitting for extended periods of time, making it an easy choice for our #1 spot. It also happens to be our top pick for 2019, but it’s so effective (for avoiding nagging back pain), that we had to list it here too.

Top 5 Best Office Chairs for Back Pain Compared

 #1  Herman Miller Embody Office Chair

Award: Best Office Chair for Lower Back Pain

WHY WE LIKE IT:  The Herman Miller Embody is our top office chair. It has a super unique design that offers a lot in the way of customization and adjustability. If you suffer from back pain, you should definitely give this chair some serious thought, even with the high price tag. This chair will have you saying goodbye to that old seat cushion you used to use.

  • Unique, health-positive design
  • The backrest can be fine-tuned to your spine
  • Fully adjustable
  • Durable
  • Expensive
  • No back-and-forth arm movement
  • No headrest option

This office seat for low back pain is almost completely adjustable, from seat position to armrests. The best part? The backrest automatically adjusts to your spine every time you sit in the chair using what Herman Miller calls a “dynamic matrix of pixels” that constantly adjust when you move or reposition. It is similar to the Humanscale Freedom ergonomic chair that uses a self-adjusting recline.

This encourages proper posture. Tall people will appreciate this design for its customization as it fits their body type. This chair by Herman Miller also includes a fine-tuning knob for the backrest that helps you get the angles just right and the tilt tension is nice. This chair comes in different colors alongside its ergonomic design so you can sit comfortably plus with style and personality.

Unfortunately, the Herman Miller doesn’t include an adjustable headrest or even the option to add a headrest, and the arms can only adjust up and down or side-to-side. If you sit close to your desk, you might get annoyed with the lack of back-and-forth adjustability.

The hefty price tag may be intimidating at first, but once you sit down, you’ll be grateful you made the leap. It’s hard to find executive chairs this good. I wish that all office furniture was made like this. But if you can’t afford a new chair, your next best option is the best office chair cushions.

 #2  Flash Furniture Mid-Back Mesh Office Chair

Award: Best Value Office Chair For Lower Back Pain

WHY WE LIKE IT:  The Flash Furniture Mid-Back Mesh chair offers great back support for a small price. It’s got a simple design with built-in lumbar support that makes it a good choice for anyone looking to buy an office chair on a budget. The lumbar support isn’t adjustable, but it works well enough that you’ll likely still benefit from it being there.

  • Built-in lumbar support
  • Comfortable mesh backrest
  • Easy assembly
  • Lacks adjustability options
  • No headrest
  • Not great for taller or larger people
  • No adjustable seat

This budget choice features a mesh back that almost everyone will find comfortable, especially during extended periods of use as, because it conforms to the way you’re sitting at any given moment and keeps your back cool and comfortable. Its ergonomic features provide proper support at various sitting positions.

You can adjust this breathable mesh chair in the standard ways, like height adjustment and tilt, but it’s decidedly lacking overall in the adjustment department. While you can flip the armrests up, you can’t adjust their height, and the seat isn’t adjustable, either. Taller or larger people may find the lack of adjustability uncomfortable, so this might be more suitable for shorter folks looking for office chairs for short people. Despite these downsides, you still get a comfortable mesh seating chair for under $100, which can be hard to do. But you can also check out other options with more adjustability, lumbar support, and comfort, by reading about some of the most comfortable office chairs on the market today.

 #3  Ergohuman High Back Swivel Office Chair

Award: Best Ergonomic Office Chair for Lower Back Pain

WHY WE LIKE IT:  The Ergohuman High Back Swivel chair is similar to the popular Amazonbasics Midback Mesh, or the Herman Miller Aeron chair, but better. It has a unique design with one purpose in mind: ergonomics. This is one of the high-back office chairs that lets you customize almost every single component so you can create the most comfortable mesh seating experience tailored specifically to your preferences. You can adjust the backrest, the headrest, the seat depth, and the armrests, and it has adjustable height.

  • Fully adjustable
  • Comfortable mesh backrest
  • Sturdy construction
  • Difficult assembly
  • Armrests don’t lock
  • The mesh sticks a little

The ergonomic chair features a comfortable mesh fabric that can be a little sticky at times, for lack of a better word. You may experience the mesh hanging onto your pants as you stand up or adjust in the chair, which can get annoying. The Ergohuman chair lacks adjustable armrests, but each armrest does swivel, which is nice, but they don’t lock in place and tend to move too easily.

Aside from the adjustable arms, the overall construction on the Ergohuman is sturdy and attractive. You can use the tension control adjustment to control the amount of force to recline or sit up straight as well. Chairs with tension adjustment are very good at improving posture. It also has a pneumatic cylinder to adjust the height. Put the best paper shredders close by so that you remain comfortable while working. For people with different levels of scoliosis, you should check our guide on the best office chair scoliosis.

 #4  Steelcase Amia Office Chair

Award: Best Steelcase Office Chair for Lower Back Pain

WHY WE LIKE IT:  The Steelcase Amia is sleek, simple, and highly adjustable. If you have both back pain and hip pain or even neck pain, you’ll want to find a chair that offers a lot of adjustability in the seat to reduce back pain. The Steelcase Amia fits the bill, which is why it’s the best at addressing “lower back and hip pain”.

  • Lumbar support moves with your back
  • Lots of seat ergonomic adjustments
  • Sleek design
  • No headrest
  • Heavy

It allows you to adjust seat depth and height with the height adjuster, and it features a flexible seat edge that relieves pressure when you recline or lean forward in an upright position, further alleviating any pain you might experience in your hips so that you can have some pain management. Sitting vs leaning back can make a big difference when it comes to finding the right chair for you.

This chair for lower back and hip pain also features a unique feature that Steelcase calls “LiveLumbar.” The back of the chair adjusts with your back as you move, and you can slide the lumbar support to the position that gives you the most pain relief. These tilt mechanisms are important in an ergonomic chair.

Unfortunately, you don’t get a headrest and the chair itself is a little heavy, but it offers a wonderful option for anyone looking to relieve both lower back and hip pain during their working hours. It has a tilt locking feature that locks in the upright position. Ergonomic office chairs are not easy to come by on a budget but this is one of the sleekest desk chairs out there at an affordable price. Steelcase also makes the popular Leap chair, so they know its quality. The Steelcase Leap is a favorite of many workers. If you want to add a chair to your home too, check out this list to find the best reclining office chair.

 #5  SmugDesk Ergonomic Adjustable Headrest Mesh Office Chair

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Award: Best Home Office Chair Lower Back Pain

WHY WE LIKE IT: These office chairs may look simple and affordable, but don’t let those two things fool you. The SmugDesk office chairs offer an adjustable back and are built with ergonomics in mind.

  • Breathable mesh material keeps you cool
  • Lumbar and headrest support
  • Adjustable back and arm rests
  • Plastic components are somewhat flimsy
  • Aesthetics aren’t up to snuff with high end brands

To that end, its back is made of mesh, which means breathability. So if you run hot this chair will be a fit for you. Included is a headrest, which is great for added support during long working sessions. The lumbar support will also help with lower back support as will the adjustable armrests. If not, have a look at the best memory foam seat cushions that feature ergonomic designs, lumbar support, pain relief, durability, and breathability too.

Office Chair Lower Back Pain Buying Guide

When looking for good task chairs for low back pain, there are a few things you should consider. And while sitting in the chair is the best way to know if it’s comfortable, there’s still a lot of research you can do beforehand to ensure a good level of success. To hop onto the research immediately, check out our reviews of the greatest mesh office chairs and the leading RESPAWN gaming chairs.

The top chairs for lower or mid-back pain not only alleviate this pain point, but they can also help you start on the path of curing it completely. You can choose a low back, midback office chair, or high back. There is a lot of science that goes into office chairs for back pain that focuses on increasing blood flow and preventing important ligaments from shrinking.

Some popular models that didn’t make our ranking include the Serta Midback office chair, the Herman Miller Sayl chair, Amazonbasics midback, Viva Office, the Leap Fabric chair, and the Steelcase Gesture chair, which are runners-up.

However, remember that buying a chair for back pain is only the beginning. Consider getting up, moving around, and stretching every so often while working at your desk to promote even better blood flow. If you’re interested in or own a desk chair without wheels, remember to stand up often so you can get some exercise in your legs.

You may also want to consider purchasing a standing desk that you can use along with your office chair for alleviating your discomfort and to create a comprehensive solution. If coverage from warranties is important to you, make sure you’re considering options that provide a warranty.

Features to Consider When Shopping for a Lower Back Pain Chair

Consider the following features as you do your research. Office chairs with these features are the best choices when it comes to relieving pain in your lumbar and hip areas.

  • Lumbar Support
    If you’re looking to relieve chronic pain in your lower back throughout the day, you absolutely need to buy an office chair that features some kind of lumbar support. Most office chairs are curved in the lumbar area to provide this support, but the best chair for back pain will do more than that. If you have poor posture these chairs will help fix the bad posture. Consider finding a chair that offers adjustable lumbar support or lumbar support that contours to the shape of your body automatically. For some extra cushion, lumbar support pillows can help you feel more comfortable and sit for longer hours while trying to practice healthy posture. In fact, there are many top lift recliners with these features, so you can always find the perfect chair for your needs. These chairs will relieve your pain the best.
  • Comfort and Blood Flow
    It may go without saying, but you’ll want to buy an office chair that’s comfortable. Increased comfort typically leads to increased blood flow and circulation (and vice versa), which will help you stay healthy while sitting for extended periods of time. For this reason, a padded seat is recommended. Again, you may not be able to gauge specific comfort without sitting in the seat itself, but you can form a pretty good idea of overall comfort based on the materials used in the chair’s construction. The most comfortable office chairs encourage blood flow and increase breathability using a mesh-fabric hybrid that is both durable and well-ventilated, since a mesh seat can keep your bottom half cozy and cool. Be aware of your body weight and size as well, since you want a chair that can accommodate your body.
  • Adjustability
    Most people suffer from back pain because they sit too stiffly in their office chairs. The best ones let you lean back and adjust a wide range of comfort settings to prevent ligaments and hip flexors from shrinking and pulling on your back. As such, adjustability is an important component to consider in an ergonomic desk chair. Chairs that offer more adjustments also make good standing desk chairs due to their flexibility. It should have the proper height and width to seat you comfortably. The top chairs for back pain will allow you to adjust almost every single component of the chair,  including the lumbar support to help correct poor posture. Consider chairs with plenty of adjustable features that also allow you to adjust the seat depth, and seat height, and have adjustable armrests. Seat height adjustments will make sure your legs are perpendicular to the ground which is essential for good ergonomics. For extra comfort during a break or when you just want to rest and relax, consider an adjustable office chair with a reclined position. When you buy a fully adjustable chair, you can customize your sitting experience to target your comfort needs and wants. An additional heating pad on the seat can bring your muscles some extra comfort versus a regular chair with no pad. Some people may prefer a kneeling chair, treadmill desk, or an electric standing desk to stay upright and exercise, but most of us have to sit in a seated position. Cheaper chairs are obviously more affordable, but if you want a chair with these extra features that will help you sit in it for longer periods of time, a quality chair at a higher cost might be worth it. Investing in a supportive office chair with a comfortable seat can do wonders for your health and energy level outside of working at your desk. Speaking of standing desks, a standing desk mat is great for keeping feet flat while using any type of office chair at desk jobs or with a gaming chair as it encourages your feet to be in the proper position.
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