The 8 Best Office Chairs for Back Pain of 2022
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Although it is a common activity, sitting in chairs all day does us no good. ‘Sitting puts more pressure on your discs’ and adds stress to discs, says physical therapist Susan Eb, Physiotherapist, MSfounder of Eby Physical Therapy, PLLC in New York, “and the more upright the position, the greater the pressure.” Fortunately, there are office chairs specifically designed to combat back pain.
When looking for an office chair for back pain, consider whether it has lumbar support and adjustable features, such as an armrest or headrest. We researched dozens of chairs for chronic back pain and rated them for their adjustable features, support, comfort, and price.
Here are the best office chairs for back pain on the market.
the Gabrylly Ergonomic Mesh Office Chair is a complete option with almost all the features you would want in an office chair: comfort and stability, lumbar support, adjustable height and flexible headrest. It also comes at an affordable price, making it the best choice for office workers looking for extra support.
If you are particularly concerned about lumbar support, we recommend the HOMEFUN Ergonomic Office Chair as it comes with a separate lumbar pillow that can be adjusted along the length of the chair back for custom support.
How We Picked the Best Office Chairs for Back Pain
When selecting an office chair for back pain, we spoke with physical therapists and other experts and spent hours scouring the web to find the best and most effective products. After considering all of our options, we determined which one to use based on a few key dermatologist-recommended criteria: cushion and frame materials, design, fit, and additional features.
Once we narrowed down our options, we compared each chair’s benefits to its price. Although some choices on our list may be more expensive, we wanted to offer a wide range of options that would meet all needs and budgets. Based on all these factors, we have compiled this list of the best office chairs for back pain.
What to Look for in Office Chairs for Back Pain
Make sure there is padding – enough so that there is no gap when you sit on the chair. Your lower back needs a little curvature to prevent lower back pain. Your shoulders should be against the back of the chair, and the back of your head should also touch the back of the chair.
Of all the features to consider, adjustable height might be the most important when it comes to long-term ergonomics; if your chair is too high or too low for your desk, your spine will end up bowing or arching into an awkward position (and your neck and shoulders will also be affected).
“Height adjustment is essential, both for individual comfort and for compatibility with the desk or workspace,” says Eby. “When using a computer keyboard, your arms should rest at your sides and your forearms should be parallel to the floor to avoid tension in your shoulders and neck.”
Eby adds that your feet should also rest flat on the floor, but this can be tricky for shorter people, especially once they’ve properly adjusted the height of the chair to the height of the desk. In that case, she suggests, you might want to get a footstool or stool so your feet can sit flat.
There are three ways a chair’s back can provide support, says Eby: with the location of the lumbar support, the tilt of the back, and the depth of the seat. You may not be able to find a chair that is adjustable for all three of these features, but you definitely need to make sure your chair is adjustable for the one that affects you the most. In other words, people with lower back pain should prioritize adjustable lumbar support, while shorter people may want to focus on adjustable seat depth. People with more generalized needs may want a chair with a flexible tilt to accommodate movement.
“The adjustable backrest tilt allows for a change of position when you’re in the chair,” says Eby, “for example, a more upright position when using a computer and a more reclined position when you’re on the phone or read.”
Should you get a chair with armrests to support you all day, or will they just interfere with your comfort? It’s a tricky one, and even Eby admits that the armrests can be the most challenging feature of an office chair.
“The armrests provide support for the upper body, shoulders and neck, [but they] should be positioned so that the chair can be pulled entirely under the desk,” she explains.
To get armrest support without any interference regarding the height of your chair or desk, Eby recommends finding a chair with adjustable armrests, so they can be raised or lowered to provide support when needed (without spoil the rest of your ergonomics).
Even if your office chair isn’t made for Netflix binges, it still needs to be comfortable, says Bless Abraham, DCof the Brunswick Health & Physical Therapy Center in New Jersey: “The first thing you need to find is a good comfortable chair [that] supports the lower back, buttocks, thighs, upper back and shoulders.
Speaking of support, you’ll also want to find a chair that offers a lot, either in the way it hugs the contours of your body or in the density of its padding.
“I always recommend people get a chair that’s a bit firmer rather than softer, because you’re going to be sitting on it for a long time and usually the padding will wear out the softer it gets,” says Dr. Abraham.
Frequently Asked Questions
What other ways can I prevent back pain throughout the workday?
The best way to prevent back pain is to move throughout the day. “The human body is designed to move,” says Eby, “[so] no matter how good the chair you’re sitting in, it’s important to get up and move occasionally.
Dr. Abraham supports this suggestion, saying the best way to prevent back pain throughout the day is to simply take a break, get up from your chair occasionally, walk around, and stretch.
He also recommends having a designated space just for work (if you’re working from home) and dedicating your office desk only for work, not your lunch break. It not only forces you to take breaks throughout the day, it allows your body to be positioned in other ways – like at the kitchen table rather than the office for eight hours – and gives you the space your body needs to stretch out ergonomically. friendly manners.
What types of office chair materials provide the most support?
Eby says the ideal material for an office chair is firm enough to support your body, but with enough flexibility or padding to be comfortable at the same time. It also helps if the material is breathable, so your body temperature stays comfortable as well. The most popular materials that meet these criteria are mesh, leather and fabric, she explains.
Why is it important to have a chair that supports your back?
If your spine isn’t well supported when you’re sitting, you’ll tend to fall into positions that put more strain on the discs and stretch your tissues,” says Eby. “Long term, these positions can lead to muscle imbalances and postural changes, with muscle shortening in the front of the hips, chest, pectoral region and back of the neck, and weakness. [developing] in the glutes, mid back and neck flexors.
In other words, poor sitting posture doesn’t just hurt your back, it literally changes your body, and not for the better. To combat this, anyone who regularly sits at a desk should invest in an ergonomic chair, especially if you suffer from back pain.
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Additional reporting by Kayla Hui
Graduating with her Masters in Public Health in 2020, Kayla Hui is a seasoned public health practitioner and health journalist. She has interviewed dozens of experts, reviewed numerous research studies, and tested a plethora of products to provide well-researched product reviews and summaries. Its goal is to help readers make more informed decisions about their health and well-being.