The best office chair for back pain is a very worthwhile investment. Whether it's at home or at the office, we spend so much of our day sitting down at a desk that it makes sense to think about what we're sitting on and what it's doing to our back.
The best ergonomic office chairs can help with back pain, or can help prevent you from developing back pain to start with by improving how you sit.
Bad posture can cause serious and unnecessary health issues in the long term. The best ergonomic office chairs help counteract that by providing lower back support that allows your lumbar spine to remain in a neutral position. By supporting its natural curve, they can alleviate stress on the spine. They're also highly adjustable, ensuring that you can put the chair at the right height for you so that your feet are on the ground and your knees are not strained.
Below, we round up our pick of the best office chairs for back pain and highlight the models we believe are the best choices for long sessions at the desk. We've considered ergonomics, build quality and style, but we've also been sure to include options at different price points because the best office chairs for back pain do tend to be expensive. If you need some pointers on what you should be looking for, scroll down to the questions section at the bottom of our guide. And if you want to help your poor back even more, see our guide to the best standing desks, which can also be good for your posture. We also have a guide to the best office chairs (not specifically for helping posture).
The best office chair for back pain
If you work long hours at a desk every day, it’s worth investing in an ergonomic chair for back pain that will support your body properly. And our top recommendation is the Herman Miller Mirra 2.
Yes, it’s expensive. But as you’d expect from a Herman Miller chair, it’s fantastically comfortable. And it provides the best back support for office chair users we know of. The butterfly-shaped backrest responds effortlessly to your movements, making your spine feel cradled and supported, and preventing you from slumping or slouching.
The mesh is lovely and breathable, so you can stay cool on warm days. The chair offers excellent lumbar support, which can be adjusted for height, and the arms are fully adjustable too. The seat cushion distributes your weight beautifully, and it takes the largest maximum load (159kg / 350kg) of all the chairs on this list.
In short, this is the best ergonomic office chair that money can buy, bar none. For more Herman Miller options, see our dedicated guide to the best Herman Miller chairs and our Herman Miller Mirra 2 vs Aeron showdown.
Concerned about your back but don’t have enough funds for the first two chairs on our list? Here’s the best office chair for back pain at a budget price.
This stylish chair has loads of aesthetic appeal. And it compares favourably with many pricier models in terms of functionality as well as looks. The highlights here are the mesh back, which is very breathable, and the good level of lumbar support.
It’s also very adjustable: you can tweak the back support, headrest, armrests, height and tilt of the chair until you get your posture just right. It all adds up to excellent lower back support for office chair users.
On close examination, the level of finish is not up to the standard of more expensive designer chairs, which is to be expected. But in general, it looks the part, and provides an excellent level of comfort and protection given the reasonable price.
Whether you’re talking about style, craftsmanship or functionality, Herman Miller chairs are pretty difficult to beat. But if you can’t afford the first recommendation on our list, the Mirra 2, then check out the Herman Miller Sayl. While it’s significantly cheaper, it’s still a fantastic ergonomic office chair.
Made up of fewer parts than its sibling, its unique design – inspired by the Golden Gate bridge – may divide opinion. But we absolutely love this chic and offbeat take on the classic Herman Miller chair. And in terms of spinal support, it can’t be faulted.
The vented elastomer backrest, made with strands that vary in thickness and tension, provides an excellent balance between support and comfort, not to mention great air circulation. You can adjust the armrests, seat height and seat depth. And the four-setting tilt limiter lets you adjust the tension to your liking.
You may have noticed that the HÅG Capisco looks a little different from the other chairs on this list. That’s because it’s a saddle chair, which allows you to sit as if you are saddling a horse. This is widely believed to be the best kind of chair for countering and preventing back pain, based on reports like this Cardiff University study.
Saddle chairs are most popular amongst medical professionals, but their use has recently spread to other types of workplace. They're especially good for use with standing desks. The HÅG Capisco has a wider saddle. The HÅGCapisco Puls has a firmer, narrower saddle that allows you to sit with your legs closer together. Popular podcaster Joe Rogan is among the advocates of the HÅG Capisco Puls 8010, and we can understand why.
Providing good lumbar and lower back support, it’s very comfortable in use and it’s very adjustable too. The seat tilts, with a tilt lock, and you can tweak its height and depth too, from a low sitting position to a sit-stand position. Plus, from an aesthetic point of view, this radical and minimalist Scandinavian design will certainly put your home office setup on the cutting edge of cool.
Are you going to be using your chair primarily for gaming? Then we’d suggest the Secretlab Titan. This award-winning chair benefits from a premium feel, great attention to detail, and a proactive approach to preventing back pain.
Most significantly, there’s a fully adjustable lumbar support system, which you control via a knob on the right side of the backrest. The seat has the same bucket-style design used on racing chairs, so it keeps your buttocks well supported over hours of gameplay. And the cold-cure foam used as padding throughout makes this chair super-comfortable.
The Titan is actually one of three similar chairs produced by Secretlab, and is suitable for anyone under 290 lbs. If you’re under 240 lbs, however, we’d recommend the Omega, while for those over 390 lbs there’s the Titan XL.
If you suffer from back problems, you may often spend hours fiddling with your chair, in a vain attempt to hit that perfect sweet spot. If that sounds like you, we recommend the Humanscale Freedom. That’s because automatically adjusts to the shape of your body, in a way that other chairs just can’t match.
The clever thing about this design is that the flexible backrest tilts as you move; so if you lean back, it moves with your spine rather than pressing against it. That way, the chair supports your spine naturally, without you having to make any manual adjustments.
On the whole, this is an expensive chair, but it's one of the best office chairs for back pain around, with superb attention to detail and high-quality materials, so you are getting value for money. And that backrest pivoting function; well, that’s quite unique and something you just won’t find elsewhere.
Are you very short of cash? Don’t worry: for quite a small amount you can still get a chair that’s going to be kind to your spine. The Conhoma Office Desk Chair is a fairly basic chair, lacking the advanced features of the pricier models on our list. The only adjustments you can make are to seat height and tilt, as well as being able to position the armrests up or down.
However, the mesh back and thick padded seat cushion will keep you comfortable throughout the working day, and both offer great breathability too. Plus the overall design is ergonomic and provides good support for your spine. That’s pretty much it, but for such a low price, that’s still pretty impressive.
Another 'budget' model available in the UK, FlexiSpot's BS9 does a good job of meeting the basic needs of an office chair at an affordable price. This chair might look and feel basic, but given its generous padding, it is instantly comfortable.
One of its highlighted features is “3D lumbar support”, which basically means the shape of the mesh curves in a way that supports the gap between the lumbar spine and the seat. Don’t get too excited, though. This support is not in any way adjustable; it’s just how it’s shaped. That said, in practice it gives good support throughout day-long use – in the word of our reviewer, it “just works” (see our full Flexispot BS9 office chair review for more details).
You can adjust the seat height (between 44.5cm and 53.5cm), using the gas lift operated by a lever, and the back tilt (between 90 degrees and 120 degrees) by pressing your back against it. We also like the W-shaped seat, which uses foam rubber to stop you sliding and slouching. On the downside, the armrests are static and can’t be moved, and there’s no headrest.
This is quite a basic office chair that's not very adjustable, but if you’re looking for something cheap and comfortable, what this lacks in features, it makes up for in overall ergonomics and value. The Flexiport BS9 is only available in the UK, but Flexiport's US website has other reasonably priced ergonomic office chairs.
The Raynor Ergohuman ME7ERG Chair combines strong ergonomic features with a high back and headrest and a contemporary office look. The mesh back and leather seat are comfortable and keep you cool. Adjustability includes: tilt tension control, tilt lock, back angle, back height, synchro tilt, seat height, seat depth, and arm height. Build quality is excellent, but this is a fairly pricy option, and if you're looking at this sort of price, we'd really go for one of the Herman Miller options, but this is worth considering if you want a classic high-back office chair style.
Can office chairs help back pain?
"In the age of technology, we spend so much time sitting at our computers, and our bodies cannot maintain good posture for hours without fatiguing," explains Dr Amy Hoover, a physiotherapist at workouts company P.volve.
"A chair that allows your lower back to maintain a good neutral position, supporting the natural curve in the lower back, can alleviate stress on the spine and improve the alignment of your spine all the way up to your head."
Lyndsay Hirst, a physiotherapist specialising in back pain and a specialist in Pilates, agrees. "The right chair set up is essential, not only to support the natural curves of the spine but also the shoulders," she notes. "Arm rests are really useful for someone who suffers neck and mid spine pain. Lumbar support is also very useful. An adjustable seat plate, back rest and arms will allow the user to adapt the chair to their specific posture."
It's especially important to replace an ageing chair, says James Crow, owner of Posture Stars, a website promoting good posture. "If your chair has been around for more than a decade it's probably time to upgrade," he explains. "The materials wear down over time, with seat padding especially taking a beating.
"The best office chair for back pain is one that's highly adjustable, so you can get the back to support you in a meaningful way. Invest wisely: we wouldn't buy the cheapest mattress or car, but many of us are spending eight to 10 hours a day perched on a 'value' chair."
Note that the chairs above give you a great chance of avoiding back problems in the future. If you're experiencing pain already, make sure you visit your doctor or chiropractor, as there may be underlying issues besides your chair.
What's the best office chair for back pain?
Looking for a short answer? It's hard to single out one product as the best office chair for back pain because there are so many options, but, as we say above, for our money the best office chair for back pain is the Herman Miller Mirra 2. However, we recognise that with a price of around $1,500 / £1,300 it's not going to fit in everyone's budget, but if you do want the very best support for your back, and you're able and willing to invest in your back's health, the Herman Miller Mirra 2 does a sublime job of supporting you. Super comfortable, and looks beautiful too.
Need a more affordable option? We've taken that into account and included some more economical chairs for back pain in our guide too. We'd also suggest reading below for a few pointers on what features to look for when you're searching for the best office chair for back pain.
What chair features are good for back pain?
There are several ergonomic features that can make an office chair good for back pain. Adjustability is one of the key things so that you can ensure the chair has the right form for your own body shape. See our guide to what makes an office chair ergonomic for full details on what to look for, but in summary, you should look for chairs with:
- Lumbar support (see below)
- Adjustable armrests
- Seat-depth adjustability
- Recline and tilt
What is lumbar support?
When you're shopping for an ergonomic chair for back pain, you'll often see references to lumbar support. But what does that mean, exactly? The word 'Lumbar' refers to your lower back, which should curve inward, and as Chongsu Lee, a physiotherapist and creator of the robotic BackHug device, explains, "lumbar support can be an attachment, or a built-in part of an office chair that aligns with your lower back to maintain its natural inward curve."
Why does this matter? Well, when sitting, your lumbar becomes sandwiched between the torso, above, and buttocks, below. When you sit, lumbar stress is one-and-a-half times higher than when you stand, and double compared to when you walk.
"Left unsupported over time, the strain causes stiffness, making the lower back prone to injuries like slipped discs," Chongsu says. "Just like support beams in a building, lumbar support absorbs that strain and props your lumbar up, protecting it against stress and injury."
How do you sit properly in a chair?
According to the NHS website, your knees should be slightly lower than your hips and your feet should be flat on the floor or a good footrest. Do not cross your legs as this is a recipe for posture-related aches and pains. An adjustable chair (tilt, height and recline) will make sure your lower back is properly supported, and if you're using a keyboard then make sure your chair is positioned so you can use it with straight wrists and hands (level with the floor).
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