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The 8 Best Office Chairs For Back Pain Of 2022 To Stay Healthy Through Hours Of Sitting

Shannon Ullman
Author: Medical reviewer:
December 7, 2022
Shannon Ullman
Writer
By Shannon Ullman
Writer
Shannon Ullman is a writer and editor whose work has appeared in Healthline, Medical News Today, Insider, and more.
Scott Nass, M.D., MPA, FAAFP, AAHIVS
Medical review by
Scott Nass, M.D., MPA, FAAFP, AAHIVS
Board-certified Family Physician
Scott Nass, M.D., MPA, FAAFP, AAHIVS is a family physician and HIV specialist in California. He takes a holistic approach to healthcare, incorporating principles of functional medicine and using food as medicine when working with patients.
Image by mbg creative
December 7, 2022
Our editors have independently chosen the products listed on this page. If you purchase something mentioned in this article, we may earn a small commission.

To be blunt: Humans were not built to sit down all day. Our ancestors were constantly in motion—a far cry from the singular seat many of us spend eight or more hours in each day. While standing desks and foldable treadmills can minimize sedentary time, if you're going to sit, the best office chairs for back pain will help keep your body healthy.

Even if you live an active lifestyle outside of work, meeting your fitness goals and moving your body often, sitting for prolonged periods can have significant effects on your physical and mental well-being. Research shows that too much sitting can compromise your metabolic health and increase your risk of premature mortality1. And if you're sitting in the wrong chair, it can lead to acute or chronic back pain.

To better understand what to look for in a comfortable and supportive office chair, we spoke with physical therapists and evaluated a ton of options. Keep reading to learn more about how to find the right one for you and to see our pick for the best office chairs for back pain of 2022.

How the best office chairs can help with back pain.

Sitting is such a simple activity, and yet it can cause us so much discomfort and even pain. Why? Well, according to Lalitha McSorley, lead physical therapist at Brentwood Physio, many of the chairs we use are not designed with our spines in mind.

"When you're not sitting up straight, your muscles have to work harder to keep you in that position, which can lead to fatigue and pain," McSorley says. "Sitting puts your spine in a C-shape, which is not ideal. Your head weighs as much as a bowling ball, and sitting with your neck at a 45-degree angle exerts around 55 pounds of force on shoulders and back muscles."

That's why when patients come to McSorley complaining about lower-back pain, one of the first things she recommends is that they experiment with the settings on their office chair, to find a position that feels better. While she doesn't consider ergonomic chairs to be a cure-all, McSorley says they can improve posture and alleviate back pain.

"Office chairs designed with ergonomics in mind distribute pressure more evenly," she explains. "And adjustable features such as height and lumbar support can help to create a more comfortable seating position."

How to choose.

The internet is flooded with fancy office gear that promises to make your work setup more comfortable than you could ever imagine—so how do you separate the best from the rest?

As physical therapist Dave Candy puts it, "The more adjustments the chair has, the better." That way, you can find the best angle for your body and make micro-adjustments as needed.

"At minimum, their chair should have adjustable height, adjustable recline, and adjustable armrests," Candy advises. "The amount of 'lumbar support' needed varies among individuals, but in general, it should fill the gap behind the lower back without pushing the lower back into more of an arch than it would be naturally."

How we picked:

Expert input

We considered expert advice on what to look for in an office chair and prioritize those with multiple adjustment settings.

Lumbar support

Lumbar support is critical when it comes to a chair you spend prolonged periods of time in. Each of these picks is supportive and helps keep your body aligned.

Reviews

Customer feedback is important, so we considered the good and bad reviews for each option, prioritizing those with the most positive feedback.

Price

Again, you spend a lot of time in your office chair—so this is an investment in your health. That said, we included options for a variety of budgets, without sacrificing quality.

Our picks for the best office chairs for back pain:

Best for lower-back pain: NOVELLAND Ergonomic Office Chair

Pros:

  • Adjustable lumbar support
  • Breathable mesh material

Cons:

  • Difficult assembly
  • Some complained about the stiff seat
Colors available: Black
Max weight supported: 300 lbs
How it arrives: Arrives in a box, but expert assembly is available
Material: MeshMetal
Adjustable: Lumbar supportArmrestHeadrestBack tilt

Constantly feeling pressure on your lumbar? This ergonomic office chair is an ideal choice for relieving lower-back pain, thanks to its adjustable lumbar support. With just a turn of its dial, you can shift your support 1.9 inches up or down and 1.2 inches forward or back. Plus, the W-type cushion evenly distributes your hip pressure—another bonus for your lower back.

While the reviews are primarily positive (highlighting the adjustable features and durability), many people do suggest that the chair could be a bit softer, with some suggesting that you use a pillow for additional comfort.

Best for upper-back pain: NOUHAUS Ergo3D Ergonomic Office Chair

Pros:

  • Multiple adjustment settings
  • Up to 135 degrees of tilt
  • Lumbar support that conforms to your body

Cons:

  • Expensive
  • Difficult assembly
Colors available: BlackBlueBurgundyGrey
Max weight supported: 275 lbs
How it arrives: Arrives in a box, but expert assembly is available
Material: MeshIron base
Adjustable: ArmrestHeadrestBack tiltHeight

Being able to adjust (and readjust) your seat to best align with your posture is critical for maintaining support for your upper back. This chair allows for just that, offering an adjustable headrest and armrests, with customizable height and tilt tension. Plus, the 3D lumbar support responds to the precise amount of pressure you exert, providing just the right level of cushioning for your back.

This chair has nearly 4,000 five-star ratings on Amazon, plus over 1,000 extremely positive reviews. People say it's "insanely easy to put together," high-quality, sturdy, and a "total game-changer for anyone who spends a lot of time sitting at a computer."

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Best lumbar support: Homall Office Chair

Pros:

  • Lumbar support pillow included
  • Multiple color options
  • Affordably priced

Cons:

  • Difficult assembly
  • Armrests not adjustable
Colors available: BlueGreyCyanDark BlackGreenPinkPurpleRedWhite
Max weight supported: 300 lbs
How it arrives: Arrives in a box, with no expert assembly available
Material: SteelCarbon fiber style leather
Adjustable: HeightTilt360-degree swivel

Beloved by many gamers for its sturdy yet comfortable lumbar cushion and headrest pillow, this Amazon bestselling chair was made with all-day comfort in mind. You can even tilt it as far back as 150 degrees for a nice, quick stretch (extremely beneficial during a long workday). The wheels make it easy to move throughout your office space or home, but it's built with a sturdy, high-quality steel that's meant to hold up over time.

It has nearly 50,000 perfect five-star ratings, with thousands of reviews to boot. While flimsy packaging was an issue for other models we considered, reviewers say the chair arrives in pristine condition and is easy to set up within 20 to 30 minutes. Even people who spend 10+ hours sitting say they would "10/10 highly recommend" this chair.

Best affordable: BestOffice Store Home Office Chair

Pros:

  • Great lumbar support
  • Comfortable padded seat cushion

Cons:

  • Limited adjustments
  • Seat height may not work for taller people
Colors available: BlackBlueGreyGreenPinkRedWhiteOrange
Max weight supported: 250 lbs
How it arrives: Arrives in a box, with no expert assembly available
Material: MeshMetal
Adjustable: HeightTension

This budget-friendly option streamlines your seating needs with a thick seating cushion, solid lumbar support, and some simple adjustments. It even has a curved backrest to best fit the contours of your spine. You won't get all the bells and whistles of a more expensive chair, but you will get a comfortable and supportive seat that costs less than $50.

Just note, this chair is not designed for heavier people. It supports up to 250 pounds, but reviews suggest that it's best for petite adults or children. There are 30,000 five-star ratings and a ton of positive reviews, with multiple people mentioning that their back felt great after long hours in this chair.

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Best for home office: RESPAWN 110 Ergonomic Gaming Chair with Footrest Recliner

Pros:

  • Extendable footrest
  • Lumbar support pillows

Cons:

  • Not the most durable
Colors available: BlueGreyGreenPurpleRedCamo
Max weight supported: 275 lbs
How it arrives: Arrives in a box, with no expert assembly available
Material: LeatherPolycarbonate
Adjustable: HeadrestHeightRecline

Yes, technically this is a gaming chair. But it has features that work great for an office chair, too. The chair is fully loaded with an adjustable headrest, lumbar support pillows, and even an extendable footrest—talk about comfort. It has a 130-degree tilt recline, with fixed, padded armrests and a padded leather seat. You can choose from several colorways, along with a few different models.

While you can pay an additional $60 for assembly, reviewers say this chair is extremely easy to set up on your own. 20,000 five-star ratings and thousands of reviews speak to how well-loved the chair is by gamers and home-office workers alike.

Best armless: Serta Essential Mesh Low-Back Computer Chair

Pros:

  • Armless design
  • Breathable mesh material

Cons:

  • Limited adjustments
  • May need more lumbar support for lower-back pain
Colors available: BlackGreyPinkCream
Max weight supported: 250 lbs
How it arrives: Arrives in a box, with no expert assembly available
Material: MeshMetal
Adjustable: Height

If you tend to feel confined by armrests, this chair is a great choice. The best news? You don't have to sacrifice lumbar support to get a breathable, armless design. This chair has a contoured mesh back to align and support your spine, plus adjustable seat height and an extra thick, nontoxic foam seat cushion. You'll have plenty of room to stretch while staying supported and comfortable throughout each day. Even better, it costs less than $100.

There is a lot of positive feedback for this chair on Amazon, which can primarily be summed up by this one review: "Comfortable, supportive and so easy to assemble! I have lower back issues that now cause pain in my leg and this chair has really helped eliminate some of the pain. I also LOVE that it's armless."

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Best for small space: IPKIG Foldable Office Chair

Pros:

  • Foldable design
  • Flip-up armrests

Cons:

  • Limited adjustments
  • Not ideal for taller people
Colors available: BlackGreyWhite
Max weight supported: 300 lbs
How it arrives: Arrives in a box, with no expert assembly available
Material: Mesh
Adjustable: HeightTilt tension

Short on space? This chair comes with all the spine-supporting features we love, plus it folds up for easy storage. It swivels, has a secure seat lock, adjustable height, and flip-up armrests. The ergonomic backrest supports the natural curve of your lower back, which helps alleviate tension and pain. You can also tilt the chair with a simple push of its lever.

Customers love how easy it is to assemble and store, with plenty of rave reviews about comfort and durability.

Best ergonomic: Branch Ergonomic Chair

Pros:

  • Eight points of adjustment
  • Designed for 8+ hours of work

Cons:

  • Some reviews mention wiggly arms
Colors available: BlackBlueGrey
Max weight supported: 300 lbs
How it arrives: Arrives in a box, but white glove installation only available for teams of 10 or more
Material: MeshAnodized aluminum
Adjustable: Lumbar supportBack tiltHeightArmrests widthArmrest positioningSeat depthTilt tensionHeadrest (which is an add-on)

Our editor has (and loves) the Branch standing desk and has been eyeing this ergonomic chair for some time. Its simplistic design comes in three colorways for the seat and two for the frame. You can customize a whopping eight points of adjustment (including unheard-of features like armrest width, lumbar support, and seat depth) to best fit your body. This innovative piece is great for keeping your spine aligned, reducing pressure points, and maintaining good posture.

The chair has a 4.6 overall rating on the brand's website, with over 3,000 reviews. One reviewer who says she and her husband fight over this chair writes, "We'll definitely be purchasing another Branch chair soon so we no longer have to duke it out. We both have bad backs (my husband has had 3 lumbar surgeries and he's barely 30 years old) and this chair relieves so much tension; my own posture is better and I love how customizable it can get."

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FAQ

What type of office chair is best for back pain?

Ergonomic office chairs are best for back pain. Experts suggest looking for a model with adjustable height, recline, armrests, and lumbar support.

Is a hard or soft chair better for your back?

Soft chairs with too much cushioning can encourage you to slouch, which can lead to back pain. Hard chairs offer more support and can help keep your spine aligned.

Is it better to have your office chair lower or higher?

It depends on your height, but ideally, you want to be able to sit with your feet flat, without elevating your knees too high.

The takeaway.

If you're experiencing constant aches and pains at the end of the workday, it may be time to invest in an ergonomic office chair. The best office chairs for back pain offer adjustable features, such as height and lumbar support, that make it easier to find a comfortable position. Taking a few minutes to customize your chair can pay off in the long run, with less pain and improved posture. And if your back has been bothering you, stretches, exercises, and the right mattress will make a big difference, too.

Meet The Experts

Shannon Ullman is a writer and editor whose work has appeared in Healthline, Medical News Today, Insider, and more.
Scott Nass, M.D., MPA, FAAFP, AAHIVS is a family physician and HIV specialist in California. He takes a holistic approach to healthcare, incorporating principles of functional medicine and using food as medicine when working with patients.