July 15, 2024

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12 Best Office Chairs for Back Pain

17 min read

Sitting at a desk for hours at a time can wear on your joints, especially if you don’t have things set up correctly. By designing your office setup correctly, you can ensure your body gets the support it needs — in practical terms, what this means is getting a quality chair that will help you find the right position to stay comfortable throughout the workday. This list of the best office chairs for back pain will guide you to the ideal option for your workspace.

Table of Contents

What to consider when buying an office chair for back pain

Comfort

When you’re seated for long periods, comfort is essential, but Sonoran University medical director Dr. Klee Bethel, MD SCNM PRC, points out that a chair with plenty of cushioning has other benefits, too. “A seat with appropriate cushioning and breathable material can help distribute pressure evenly across your hips and legs, reducing strain on the lower back,” says Bethel.

Flexibility

Sitting for long stretches can be tough on the back. When you can’t get up and move around, a chair that lets you switch positions can ease the strain. “Select a chair that allows you to tension the backrest such that you can change positions effortlessly, without thought or the need for adjustment,” says Jonathan Puleio, M.Sc. CPE, a board-certified professional ergonomist and global vice president at Humanscale. “Even better, select a chair that automatically adjusts the backrest tension based on your body weight.”

Body positioning

Consider your positioning when you’re choosing an office chair. The right chair will help promote better posture, but you’ll also need to take a look at where your keyboard, mouse and computer monitor sit. “I prefer a person’s elbows to fall directly below their shoulders when typing, with an open upper body/shoulder posture,” says Lisa Orr, CPE, senior human factors consultant at Sedgwick.

Seat depth

Most chairs have dimensions listed. If you’re buying a chair online, measure your current desk chair and note where your body falls when using it. This will help you determine how much you need to adjust for the new chair to be comfortable. “Make sure the seat is deep enough to support your thighs without putting pressure on the back of your knees,” says Bethel.

Stability

It can be easy to focus on the seat cushion and back, but the base is important as well. Does it have wheels? Will those wheels move easily on your office floor? The base is also essential to stability. “A stable chair with a sturdy base is less likely to tip over or cause accidents,” advises Bethel.

Swivel base

Bethel has one more area that can easily be overlooked: As you’re researching desk chairs, pay close attention to how the chair moves with you as you navigate around your office. “A chair with a swivel base makes it easy to reach different areas of your workspace without twisting or straining your back,” he adds.

Our picks for best office chairs for back pain

Best office chair for lower back pain: Staples Sorina Ergonomic Bonded Leather Swivel Executive Chair

Best for lower back pain

Staples Sorina Ergonomic Bonded Leather Swivel Executive Chair

One of the biggest factors in back comfort is positioning. The Staples Sorina ergonomic swivel chair features an adjustable seat height that lets you easily control your leg positioning. “You should be able to sit with your feet firmly supported by the floor, and your knees and hips at about the same level,” says Orr. The chair also features padded, adjustable armrests and has tilt and tension locking to help achieve optimal comfort and position. Bonded leather and a quilted fabric cover the supportive seat cushions and backrest.

Specifications:

  • Material: Bonded leather back and quilted fabric.
  • Overall dimensions: 42.8-46.6 inches high x 28.7 inches wide x 29.8 inches deep.
  • Seat dimensions: 16.8-20.5 inches high x 20.7 inches wide x 17.6 inches deep.
  • Back dimensions: 28.9 inches high x 20.7 inches deep.
  • Color: Gray.
  • Recline: Yes.
  • Warranty: 7-year limited warranty.
  • Maximum capacity: 275 pounds.
  • Price on publish: $199.99.

What we like:

  • Quilting for extra cushioning.
  • Flip-up arms make exiting the chair easy.

What we don’t like:

  • Assembly can be complicated.

The AP Buyline takeaway:

A sturdy chair that provides comfort while also supporting your back, for up to 10 hours of recommended use per day.

Get it here: Staples Sorina Ergonomic Bonded Leather Swivel Executive Chair


Best affordable office chair for back pain: Boss Office Products High Back Black Leather Executive Desk Chair with Built-In Lumbar Support

Best affordable

High Back Black Leather Executive Desk Chair with Built-In Lumber Support

This high back leather desk chair from Boss Office Products is a great option for buyers on a budget, featuring Italian leather and plenty of cushioning. One of the highlights is its soft, padded armrests. As Orr points out, the armrest is an essential feature of an ergonomic desk chair. “Adjustable armrests are good,” says Orr. “But at a minimum, the armrests should support your arms as they are naturally relaxed at your sides and should not interfere with moving closer to your workstation.”

Specifications:

  • Material: Italian leather.
  • Overall dimensions: 47 inches high x 27 inches wide x 28.5 inches deep.
  • Seat dimensions: 20-23.5 inches high x 21 inches wide x 19 inches deep.
  • Back dimensions: 30 inches high.
  • Color: Black.
  • Recline: No.
  • Warranty: 6-year limited warranty.
  • Maximum capacity: 275 pounds.
  • Price on publish: $166.86.

What we like:

What we don’t like:

The AP Buyline takeaway:

A simple, affordable option for buyers on a budget.

Get it here:


Best office chair for upper back pain: Serta Claremont Ergonomic Faux Leather Swivel Executive Chair with Back in Motion Technology

Best for upper back pain

Serta Claremont Ergonomic Faux Leather Swivel Executive Chair with Back in Motion Technology, Chestnut (44186B)

If your back issues involve the upper back, adjustable armrests can help. “Proper armrest positioning can help alleviate pressure on the neck and shoulders, reducing strain on the upper back,” says Bethel. “Adjustable armrests allow you to find the most comfortable position for your arms while working.” The Serta Claremont ergonomic faux leather swivel chair with Back in Motion Technology lets you move the armrests with the push of a button. The same adjustability applies to the chair height and seat positioning, making this a truly customizable chair.

Specifications:

  • Material: Bonded leather.
  • Overall dimensions: 40.75 inches high x 27 inches wide x 30 inches deep.
  • Seat dimensions: 18.5-20.25 inches high x 19.75 inches wide.
  • Color: Chestnut.
  • Recline: Yes.
  • Warranty: 1-year manufacturer limited warranty on cushions and components.
  • Maximum capacity: 250 pounds.
  • Price on publish: $359.99.

What we like:

What we don’t like:

  • Inadequate lumbar support.

The AP Buyline takeaway:

Find the perfect fit with this chair that features a variety of adjustment options.

Get it here: Serta Claremont Ergonomic Faux Leather Swivel Executive Chair with Back in Motion Technology


Best office chair for back pain and heavy weight: Marciann 500LBS Big and Tall Ergonomic Leather Executive Chair with Adjustable Lumbar Support

Best for heavy weight

Marciann 500LBS Big and Tall Ergonomic Leather Executive Chair with Adjustable Lumbar Support

Desk chairs aren’t a one-size-fits-all situation — many have a limited weight capacity and are less than ideal if you’re taller than average. The Marciann big and tall ergonomic chair can hold up to 500 pounds and features overall height and width measurements that exceed what you get with other options. You can adjust the seat height, which Bethel finds essential for keeping your posture in check while you’re working. With the right adjustable chair, he emphasizes, you can “set the chair height so that your feet can rest flat on the floor, with your knees bent at a 90-degree angle — this helps maintain proper posture and minimize stress on the back.” This option lets you change both the height and the tilt with the twist of a knob.

Specifications:

  • Material: Leather.
  • Overall dimensions: 47.63 inches high x 28.8 inches wide x 33.56 inches deep.
  • Seat dimensions: 20.47-22.83 inches high x 23.21 inches wide x 22.11 inches deep.
  • Color: Black, beige.
  • Recline: Yes.
  • Warranty: 90-day warranty.
  • Maximum capacity: 500 pounds.
  • Price on publish: $289.99.

What we like:

  • Breathable material.
  • Customizable.

What we don’t like:

The AP Buyline takeaway:

A highly customizable chair with plenty of cushioning to keep you comfortable all day.

Get it here: Marciann 500LBS Big and Tall Ergonomic Leather Executive Chair with Adjustable Lumbar Support


Best office chair for a short person with back pain: Alara Kësson Series Polyester Blend Task Chair

Best for short people

Alara Kësson Series Polyester Blend Task Chair

Yes, it’s important to make sure your feet are in the correct position, but what if you’re on the shorter side? Puleio recommends setting your seat height so that “your thighs are about parallel to the floor, with your feet flat on the floor or supported by a footrest.” While a footrest is one option, a petite chair like the Alara Kësson Series polyester blend task chair can give you the smaller distance to the ground you need.

Specifications:

  • Material: Polyester blend.
  • Overall dimensions: 50.4 inches high x 29.3 inches wide x 30.7 inches deep.
  • Seat dimensions: 21.5-25.4 inches high x 24.8 inches wide x 20.7 inches deep.
  • Back dimensions: 29.3 inches high x 24.01 inches wide.
  • Color: Black.
  • Recline: Seat tilt only.
  • Warranty: 5-year limited warranty.
  • Maximum capacity: 450 pounds.
  • Price on publish: $342.19.

What we like:

  • Comfortable.
  • Customizable.

What we don’t like:

The AP Buyline takeaway:

An upholstered chair with customizable features, ideal for people of a shorter stature.

Get it here: Alara Kësson Series Polyester Blend Task Chair


Best office chair for neck pain: Aircelli 24/7 -2700 Series – Mesh Back Chair

Best for neck pain

Aircelli 24/7 -2700 Series – Mesh Back Chair

If neck pain is your issue, good posture is essential, so look for a chair that discourages slumping and provides your neck and head with support while you work. Ergonomist Julie Landis, DPT, CEES, CEAS and LP and vice president of business development at Briotix Health, uses the BodyBilt Aircelli chair. “An office chair should be easily adjustable and provide a supportive fit to key body areas, including hips and thighs in the seat pan, lumbar spine from the seat back and shoulders and arms on adjustable armrests.” The Aircelli 24/7 -2700 series comes in multiple seat sizes and fabrics and includes a body-contouring back and individualized lumbar support.

Specifications:

  • Material: Plastic.
  • Overall dimensions: 46.75-50 inches high x 27-32 inches wide x 27 inches deep.
  • Seat dimensions: 18.75-22 inches high x 21 inches wide x 19.5-22 inches deep.
  • Back dimensions: 19.5 inches at shoulders, 16 inches at lumbar.
  • Color: Multiple colors available.
  • Recline: Seat tilt.
  • Warranty: 3-year limited warranty.
  • Maximum capacity: 300 pounds.
  • Price on publish: $1,622-$2,469.

What we like:

  • Breathable design.
  • Customizable fabric.

What we don’t like:

The AP Buyline takeaway:

The Aircelli 24/7 -2700 series features a simple design that promotes good posture.

Get it here: Aircelli 24/7 -2700 Series – Mesh Back Chair


Best ergonomic office chair for back pain: HIGH BACK ULTIMATE EXECUTIVE OFFICE CHAIR

Best ergonomic

HIGH BACK ULTIMATE EXECUTIVE OFFICE CHAIR

Ergonomics goes beyond simply having a comfortable chair: You’ll want support for a variety of tasks. As Eric Short-Miller, PT, DPT, Cert MDT and owner of FYZICAL Therapy and Balance Centers Bellingham in Washington, says, “Having the ability for the chair to tilt forward and back allows us to lean forward for more important tasks, but also to lean back to read or analyze, keeping the spine and the body moving in small increments.” The High Back Ultimate Executive Office Chair has a tilt and tension feature that lets you move the chair and lock it in various positions. Additionally, you’ll get adjustable lumbar support and memory foam-padded armrests.

Specifications:

  • Material: Premium Leather and Other (includes Mesh).
  • Overall dimensions: 48.5″ x 53.5″ high x 25.5″ x 29.5″ wide x 23.75″ x 25.75″ deep.
  • Seat dimensions: 19″ x 21.5″ high x 21″ wide x 20″ deep.
  • Back dimensions: 30.5″ x 33.25″ high x 21″ wide.
  • Color: Multiple colors available.
  • Recline: Yes.
  • Warranty: 15-year limited warranty.
  • Maximum capacity: 350 pounds.
  • Price on publish: $2,595.

What we like:

  • Variety of fabric options.
  • Adjustable lumbar support.

What we don’t like:

The AP Buyline takeaway:

A great high-end chair for everyday use.

Get it here: HIGH BACK ULTIMATE EXECUTIVE OFFICE CHAIR


Best office chair for lower back and hip pain: Mimoglad Home Office Chair with Adjustable Lumbar Support

Best for lower back and hip pain

Mimoglad Home Office Chair with Adjustable Lumbar Support

The lumbar curve is essential to relieving pressure on your hips, so when it comes to advising patients on office furniture, Short-Miller says, “I like to adjust the height so that the hips are slightly higher than the knees, increasing the ability of our pelvis to tilt and maintain that lumbar curve.” The Mimoglad home office chair has a seat cushion filled with high-resilience foam designed to conform to your hips, relieving some of the pressure on your tailbone.

Specifications:

  • Material: Metal, nylon.
  • Overall dimensions: 16.53 inches deep x 19.68 inches wide x 50.78 inches high.
  • Seat dimensions: 22.83 inches high x 16.53 inches deep.
  • Color: Beige.
  • Recline: Yes.
  • Warranty: Must contact seller to request.
  • Maximum capacity: 300 pounds.
  • Price on publish: $272.99.

What we like:

  • Versatile.
  • Adjustable lumbar support.

What we don’t like:

  • Not as stable as other options.

The AP Buyline takeaway:

A comfortable and supportive chair that will work well with a variety of decor styles.

Get it here: Mimoglad Home Office Chair with Adjustable Lumbar Support


Best office chair for a tall person with back pain: Hoffree Executive Big and Tall Office Chair

Best for a tall person

Hoffree Executive Big and Tall Office Chair

If you’re taller than average, finding an ergonomic chair that aligns with your body can be challenging. The Hoffree executive big and tall office chair has a taller back and adjustable seat to help you find the perfect fit. We also like this chair for its base: As Orr advises, “Be sure the chair has a five-pronged base for stability. Also, ensure the casters are specific for either hard or carpeted floors, as appropriate.”

Specifications:

  • Material: Faux leather.
  • Overall dimensions: 50.4 inches high x 20.5 inches wide.
  • Seat dimensions: 23.6 inches deep x 22.8 inches wide.
  • Color: Black.
  • Recline: Seat tilt only.
  • Warranty: Must contact seller to request.
  • Maximum capacity: 550 pounds.
  • Price on publish: $194.99.

What we like:

  • Wide seat.
  • Cushioned back.

What we don’t like:

  • Chair tends to lean forward.

The AP Buyline takeaway:

A chair that offers plenty of comfort for taller-than-average consumers.

Get it here: Hoffree Executive Big and Tall Office Chair


Best office chair for long hours: Corsair TC200 Leatherette Gaming Chair

Best for long hours

Corsair TC200 Leatherette Gaming Chair

While it’s ideal to get up and move around occasionally, some jobs have us seated at a desk for hours at a time. For that, a gaming chair could be the best option. The Corsair TC200 Leatherette gaming chair has perforated sections to promote airflow and cushioning to keep you comfortable. It reclines 90-180° to let you change your position. When choosing a reclining desk chair, though, Orr has a tip: “If you like to recline in your chair, select one that will allow you to recline with your lower back still supported and allows you to tighten or loosen the recline tension as needed,” she advises.

Specifications:

  • Material: Leatherette.
  • Overall dimensions: 17.91 inches deep x 15.55 inches wide x 23.23 inches high.
  • Seat dimensions: 17.9 inches deep x 15.6 inches wide X 18.5 inches high.
  • Color: Black.
  • Recline: Yes.
  • Warranty: 2-year limited warranty.
  • Maximum capacity: 266.8 pounds.
  • Price on publish: $399.99.

What we like:

  • Reclines.
  • Extra cushioning.

What we don’t like:

  • Limited colors available.

The AP Buyline takeaway:

Although a gaming chair, this is also a great option for those who spend hours working at a desk.

Get it here: Corsair TC200 Leatherette Gaming Chair


Best leather office chair for back pain: Shaquille O’Neal™ Zethus Ergonomic Bonded Leather High-Back Executive Chair

Best for comfort

Shaquille O’Neal™ Zethus Ergonomic Bonded Leather High-Back Executive Chair

Leather is a comfortable, durable material that makes a great desk chair. The Shaquille O’Neal™ Zethus ergonomic high-back executive chair is not only made from leather, but it’s packed with plenty of cushioning to keep you comfortable all day. The chair comes with a headrest and the ability to adjust the height, tilt and armrests.

Specifications:

  • Material: Bonded leather.
  • Overall dimensions: 33 inches deep x 30 inches wide x 48 inches high.
  • Seat dimensions: 21.25 inches deep x 18.75 inches wide x 20.5-23.5 inches high.
  • Color: Black.
  • Recline: Yes.
  • Warranty: 10-year limited warranty.
  • Maximum capacity: 400 pounds.
  • Price on publish: $499.99.

What we like:

  • Sporty design.
  • Extra cushioning.

What we don’t like:

  • Reported durability issues.

The AP Buyline takeaway:

An attractive and well-cushioned addition to any office space.

Get it here: Shaquille O’Neal™ Zethus Ergonomic Bonded Leather High-Back Executive Chair


Best office chair for back and shoulder pain: X4 Leather Executive Chair

Best for back and shoulder

X4 Leather Executive Chair

When pain extends to your shoulder, a narrower build may be best. “If the backrest is wide enough and the side bolsters come too far forward, people may be encouraged to round their shoulders inward or reach forward when typing,” Orr says. The X4 leather executive chair narrows in the lower back area, giving you a wider upper area to help support your shoulders and arms.

Specifications:

  • Material: Leather.
  • Overall dimensions: 21.5 inches deep x 26.5 inches wide x 46.5 inches high.
  • Color: Multiple colors available.
  • Recline: Yes.
  • Warranty: 15-year limited warranty.
  • Maximum capacity: 275 pounds.
  • Price on publish: $1,024.

What we like:

  • Slim design.
  • Supportive build.

What we don’t like:

The AP Buyline takeaway:

Comfortable and supportive while also being a great fit with any office decor.

Get it here: X4 Leather Executive Chair


Setting up and optimizing your office chair

Once you have your chair, you’ll need to put it together. Unless you buy the chair in person and transport it in a truck or van, you’ll likely be constructing it using the provided instructions. But once it’s in place, you’ll still have some work to do. Spend some time adjusting the chair height, armrests and lumbar support to make sure it’s optimized for your body. Once your chair is assembled, pay close attention to whether the positioning is working for you.

“If you sit in your chair for a period of time of 45 to 90 minutes, and you start to develop stiffness or pain in your back, your chair may be the cause of your discomfort,” says Short-Miller. “If you stand up, walk around and come back to the same chair for five to 10 minutes and the scenario repeats itself, your chair and your sitting position are the likely cause of your strain.”

How do office chairs help alleviate back pain?

The right furniture is not a cure for back issues. However, it can help by encouraging good posture and relieving pressure in certain areas. A chair is one part of an overall ergonomic workspace setup that reduces strain on your body and helps keep you comfortable throughout the day.

“If you’ve purchased a comfortable chair but find you are still having discomfort, you might want to check other aspects of your workstation,” Orr advises. “Are your feet resting firmly on the floor or a footrest? Are your keyboard and mouse approximately the same level as your elbows (with your shoulders relaxed)? Is your chair adjusted too low, encouraging your knees to be higher than your hips? This can flatten out the lumbar curve and stretch the ligaments.”

How we chose the best office chairs for back pain

There’s no shortage of choices when it comes to office chairs. Whether you go with a gaming chair or furniture that’s designed specifically for offices, the chair must be the right size for your unique body structure. To curate our list of the best office chairs for back pain, we looked at lumbar support and cushioning, as well as the stability of the base. Since finding the right fit can be challenging, we also prioritized adjustability. We looked primarily at chairs that allow you to easily shift the seat height and incline, but we also included a combination of chairs for petite and tall consumers to ensure you can find the right option.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

Can office chairs prevent back pain?

While an office chair can support your back while encouraging good posture, it can’t correct existing issues. It can, however, help you achieve the right ergonomics for your workplace setup. It may help to work with a professional who can recommend the right seat and back height for your specific issues.

“By selecting a chair that promotes proper posture, supports the natural curves of your spine and encourages movement, you can help prevent and alleviate back strain associated with prolonged sitting,” says Bethel.

What is the best sitting position for back pain relief?

It’s easy to pay close attention to the seat and back positioning when you’re looking at a desk chair. But the positioning of your legs also plays into the strain on your back and hips. “It’s generally recommended that you have just an inch or two of space between the edge of your seat and the back of your leg,” advises Orr. “Too much space and your thighs won’t be adequately supported, and not enough space will mean the chair could press into the back of your legs.”

What office chair is best for lower back pain?

There is no one-size-fits-all answer for the best chair for any type of back pain. Generally speaking, though, with lower back pain, a chair should work with your body rather than against it. “The backrest of the chair should fit the natural curvature of your spine, especially at your lower back, or the lumbar region of your spine,” says Puleio.

Which type of chair is best for long sitting?

Sitting for long stretches can lead to health problems beyond back pain. If possible, you should get up every half hour or so and walk around. Even with breaks, though, prolonged sitting can be a problem. Bethel recommends a chair that promotes shifting positions and movement. “A chair should support your back by providing adequate lumbar support, maintaining the natural curves of the spine and promoting an upright posture,” he says. “The chair should also encourage movement and allow for changes in posture throughout the day.”

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