Back pain can be really frustrating, it prevents you from doing your work properly and it makes getting a good night of sleep very difficult. I think that everyone can agree that back pain is something you want to prevent or, if you’re already a sufferer, get rid of.
One of the leading causes for back pain is a bad office chair, mainly because you’re sitting with a wrong posture and/or it’s not giving you enough back support. The wrong chair will literally destroy your spine over time.
Too many people don’t realize the significance of a good office chair. Not all office chairs have the same characteristics, you might need a different chair than me. People have different postures and body types.
You have to make sure that you use a chair that suits you, that is “made” for you (even though it won’t be custom built).
Best Office Chair for Back Pain: Quick overview
|Herman Miller – Embody||Herman Miller – Aeron||H&L – Office Mid-Back|
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These are some of the things you must consider
You have to make sure that you have an office chair that supports your entire body: back, neck and legs.
It should provide support for all areas mentioned above while keeping your spine aligned.
The next important feature to look for is adjustability. The chair should offer you the opportunity to make adjustments as per your requirement. Find an office chair whose height, tilt, and recline can be adjusted with ease.
Being able to adjust the height is one of the most important features that an office chair for back pain needs to have. I am not just talking about the floor-to-seat height, but also the armrests for example.
If a chair is adjustable you can make the right choices for your body, you can make sure that your body posture is correct. With good body posture and back support you will prevent back pain, and you will feel a lot better if you already suffer from back pain.
You also want to be able to adjust the tilt tension (with locking mechanism). This will ensure a comfortable seating position.
Apart from being able to adjust the chair to your body type, you should also consider the depth and width of the seat.
Design & Materials
You should make sure that the seat is designed to provide optimal comfort. It should have enough depth so that you can sit all the way against the back of the chair without feeling uncomfortable.
You need to pay attention to the materials used in the chair. It needs to be equipped with materials that provide sufficient padding while still being breathable.
To armrest or not to armrest
There are “two types” of office chairs are available on the market: with and without armrests.
It’s a pretty simple choice, if you sit for long periods of time (writers, webdevelopers, any office job really), then you need armrests.
If you have a chair with armrests, then you should make sure that these are adjustable too. Having the armrests in a wrong position will destroy your posture and you back.
Lumbar support is also super important, this is what provides support to the natural curve of your spine.
This gives relief from fatigue while reducing the strain on your back from prolonged sitting.
I already have back pain, what should I do?
If you’re already suffering from back pain, then it is even more important that you are sitting on a good chair.
You want a chair that will provide some relief from the constant ache and that will not make the problem even worse.
Some manufacturers advertise with fancy terms, others simply have a high back so they’re supposedly good for you. Please don’t fall for this, do your research (which is what you’re doing right now by reading this 🙂 )
Office chairs for severe back pain
If your back pain is severe, then a traditional office chair might not be enough for you.
There is still hope however, there are special chairs made for severe back pain, like:
- exercise ball chairs
- ergonomic knee chairs
- saddle chairs
These chairs provide a great deal of relief, but they’re really only for people that can’t even sit in a normal chair any more.
Whatever chair you use, or however long you sit during a day, it’s always a smart idea to:
- Stand up every hour or so to stretch your legs
- Switch sitting position every 30 minutes, this could be as simple as crossing your legs
By changing things up you allow for a better blood flow.
So what is the best office chair for back pain?
Now that I have discussed why, how and what causes back pain I will give you some recommendations.
I have tested all of these chairs, I suffer from back problems myself, so I know exactly what was and wasn’t comfortable for my back.
I ended up with a top 3 best office chairs for back pain, here they are:
1. Herman Miller – Embody
This is my first choice when it comes to office chairs that provide back pain relief.
It forms to the natural curve of your spine, so your body posture will always perfect.
It can recline as much as you want it to, it is fully adjustable.
This chair was designed with the intention of stimulation blood and oxygen flow, this keeps your sharp and focused throughout the day.
The chair also comes with tilt technology. It is capable of providing support to all three major areas of your body: the thighs, sacrum and thorax.
The flexible frame that ensures no uncomfortable pressure is exerted on your arms and legs while making it certain that the pelvis remains stable.
The chair is constructed using breathable materials which remains cool despite prolonged hours of use.
All in all, this is the kind of chair that is capable of providing you with optimal comfort and relief from back pain.
|Lowest price for: Herman Miller - Embody|
2. Herman Miller – Aeron
Another great chair made by Herman Miller (you’ve probably heard of them before 🙂 )
Just like my number 1 pick, this chair comes with all the features you would want if you’re suffering from back pain.
This chair is made for people of all sizes, which is great if you’re a + sized model like I am (I’m not really a model, but you get the point).
The materials used form to your shape, just like the chair mentioned above. This distributes your weight evenly.
The chair creates a neutral surface for your body to sit on, there is literally no design flaw anywhere.
It is designed with a contoured back that alleviates the pressure from the lower back. At the same time, the waterfall front reduces the pressure off your thighs.
It comes with adjustable padded arms, you won’t believe how comfortable they are.
It also has the feature of forward tilt along with a tilt limiter that allows you to adjust the chair to exactly what you feel is comfortable.
The Aeron is made to last, you won’t need to buy a replacement anytime soon. It will probably even last you a lifetime if you’re not doing anything stupid with it.
Even if you somehow do manage to break something, there are replacement parts for nearly everything. The chair is easy to maintain.
It’s a big investment, but over time it will pay for itself, especially with all the extra work you will be getting done because of it.
|Lowest price for: Herman Miller - Aeron|
3. H&L – Office Mid-Back Silver Mesh Executive
Like the other 2 chairs, this one is also designed so you will have a proper body posture when you’re sitting down in it. Which is exactly what you need if you suffer or want to prevent back pain.
This chair is also fully adjustable and suited for every body type.
In addition to having all the features that the other 2 chairs have, it also has flip-up armrests an adjustable headrest.
Of course this chair is also fully ergonomic for an optimal body posture and comfort. You also get the back, neck and leg support that you need.
There is 1 problem with this chair though, it doesn’t have a high back. I would not recommend buying this chair if you’re over 6″ tall.
The H&L Office Mid-Back Silver Mesh Executive is way cheaper than the chairs mentioned above while still being an excellent choice. Definitely worth the money.
|Lowest price for: H&L - Office Mid-Back Silver Mesh Executive|
Prevention is better than a cure
Once you have developed back pain, it can take quite a long time for it to heal completely.
Waiting for your body to restore itself to its former glory can be frustrating (and painful).
The best cure is to simply prevent getting it in the first place (duh…).
I understand that for some people this isn’t really an option. I hope that these people find some comfort in knowing that there are chairs available that help with the recovery process.
All the chairs mentioned above are excellent choices if you suffer from back pain, good luck!
UPDATE: I’ve written a short guide about the back stretches I do for pain relief, check it out by clicking here.