Best Office Chair for Lower Back Pain: Why Ergonomics Matter

Sitting in an office chair for 8+ hours a day can cause some serious back pain. So, to help you relieve your pain from sitting, we purchased and tested 40 different ergonomic chairs to find the best office chair for lower back pain.

As a part of our tests, we sat and worked in each of these chairs for hours on end, measuring their pain-relieving functionality, overall ergonomics and adjustability. After our hands-on testing, we narrowed down our list 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), we had to list it here, too

Top 5 Best Office Chair for Lower Back Pain Compared

 #1  Herman Miller Embody Chair – 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.

Pros
  • Unique, health-positive design
  • The backrest can be fine-tuned to your spine
  • Fully adjustable
  • Durable
Cons
  • 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.

This encourages proper posture. Tall people will appreciate this design for its customization. This chair by Herman Miller also includes a fine-tuning knob for the backrest that helps you get it just right and the tilt tension is nice.

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.

 #2  Flash Furniture Mid-Back Mesh Chair – 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.

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

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.

You can adjust this breathable mesh chair in the standard ways, like height 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. Despite these downsides, you still get a comfortable mesh seating chair for under $100, which can be hard to do.

 #3  Ergohuman High Back Swivel Chair – 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 chair 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, the armrests, and it has adjustable height.

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

The 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 arm rest 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.

 #4  Steelcase Amia – Best Office Chair Lower Back and Hip 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”.

Pros
  • Lumbar support moves with your back
  • Lots of seat ergonomic adjustments
  • Sleek design
Cons
  • 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.

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 in the upright position. This is one of the sleekest desk chairs out there at an affordable price and Steelcase also makes the popular Leap chair, so they know quality. The Steelcase Leap is a favorite of many workers.

 #5  SmugDesk Ergonomic Adjustable Headrest Mesh Office Chair – Best Home Office Chair Lower Back Pain

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

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

To that end it’s 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 great for added support during long working sessions. The lumbar support will also help with lower back support as will the adjustable arm rests.

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.

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 a 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.

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.

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 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. Consider finding a chair that offers adjustable lumbar support or lumbar support that contours to the shape of your body automatically. 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 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.
  • Adjustability
    Most people suffer from back pain because they sit too stiff 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. 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 that also allow you to adjust seat depth, seat height, and have adjustable armrests.

    When you buy a fully adjustable chair, you can customize your sitting experience to target your comfort needs and wants. 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. Speaking of standing desks, a standing desk mat is great for your feet while using any chair as it encourages your feet to be in the proper position.

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Ryan Hansen

When he’s not exploring everything Oregon has to offer with his family, Ryan Hansen is probably writing. He loves writing about anything he can get his hands on, and is always anxious for the next adventure.

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