Seeking the best office chair for back pain is time well spent. If you're a digital creative you probably spend a large portion of the day sitting at a desk. That's fine, but experts on health warn against long periods of time sitting, especially considering what we sit on can sometimes exacerbate the negative effects of a sedentary lifestyle. In this way, the best ergonomic office chairs can help ensure you are sitting properly, giving your back the best possible chance to be healthy.
To make our selection of the best ergonomic office chairs below, we've evaluated each chair according to adjustability, build quality and either having reviewed them after several hours of testing the chair, or having read extensively other customer reviews based on confirmed purchases. We also consider style as well, and since the best ergonomic chairs overall are beyond many budgets, we've been sure to include some more affordable options that still provide basic ergonomic adjustability and support.
If you need more pointers on what you should be looking for in an office chair to avoid back pain, scroll down to the questions section at the bottom of our guide. And if you want more ideas for how to help your back and posture, see our guide to the best standing desks. We do also have a guide to the best office chairs in general, 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 looks stunning too. And it provides the best back support we've experienced.
The butterfly-shaped backrest responds effortlessly to your movements, making your spine feel cradled and supported, and preventing you from slumping or slouching. We also found that this chair comfortably holds you with knees slightly lower that hips, while your feet are flat on the ground – a key requirement ot sit properly on a chair straight from the UK's National Health Service (for more on that, scroll to the bottom of this page).
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 (many of the cheaper chairs in our list include lumbar support but that isn't adjustable) and the arms are fully adjustable too. The seat cushion distributes your weight beautifully, and it also takes the largest maximum load (159kg / 350lbs) 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.
If you want a quality ergonomic office chair for back pain, but you're not interested in paying for the 'executive' models out there (see above and below), then the Sihoo range of office chairs is well worth investigating. We actually reviewed the Sihoo M90D chair, which is the more mid-range of their chairs, and loved its adjustable lumbar support. However, if you'd rather go for the cheaper Sihoo ergonomic chair options, you'll still get (non-adjustable) lumbar support and plenty of support for your money.
After using it for a few weeks, we think the highlights here are the mesh back, which is breathable, and the good level of lumbar support that comes with it. It’s also super adjustable: you can tweak the back support, headrest, armrests, height and tilt of the chair. You can't adjust the seat depth, but the features that are adjustable do at least let you make most of the adjustments that health experts recommend, for example allowing you to adjust chair height so your knees are slightly lower than your hips. This adds up to excellent lower back support for office chair users and at a price point much lower than its features would suggest.
The level of finish is quite evidently not up to the standard of more expensive designer chairs, which is unavoidable at the price. But in general, it not only looks the part but provides an excellent level of comfort and protection given the reasonable price.
X-Chair's X4 Executive leather chair is one of the most comfortable ergonomic chairs that we've ever reviewed. There are no surprising notes to make on the look of the X4 (though you can jazz things up with one of the eight different colours that are on offer) the X4 really shines when you sit in it for any length of time. Built from hard plastic, chrome aluminium, mesh and leather, the X4 gives you all the solid support you'd want from a premium ergonomic chair, while also providing real comfort too.
It's the heaviest of the chairs that we features on this list, clocking in at a whopping 31kg (that's twice the weight of some of the others). But that solidity goes into providing supreme back support, and a soft, solid comfort that feels great. There are loads of feature options as well, including headrest, 360 degree armrests, and massage and heating pads. For more information, check out our X-Chair X4 Executive chair review.
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 has been found to be very beneficial for countering and preventing back pain in research such as this study from Cardiff University (opens in new tab). In our HÅG Capisco 8106 chair review we found we had to keep adjusting how we sat, which in turn helps with posture and eases back pain.
Saddle chairs are most popular amongst medical professionals, but their use has spread to other types of workplace. They're especially good for use with standing desks. The HÅG Capisco has a wider saddle while the HÅGCapisco Puls has a firmer, narrower saddle that allows you to sit with your legs closer together.
Providing good lumbar and lower back support, it’s very comfortable and 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.
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 when we tested it, we found that its generous padding made it instantly comfortable.
One of its highlighted features is its “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, when we sat in it, we found it gives good support throughout a day's 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.
So this is by no means the best ergonomic office chair you can buy. It's a fairly basic model and not all that adjustable, but if you’re on a limited budget and looking for something cheap and comfortable that at least offers lumbar support, this is great value. Note that the Flexiport BS9 is only available in the UK, but Flexiport's US website (opens in new tab) has other reasonably priced ergonomic office chairs.
Whether you’re talking about style, craftsmanship or functionality, Herman Miller chairs are pretty difficult to beat. We've already featured one at the top of our list of the best ergonomic office chairs, but if the Mirra 2 is a little too expensive, or perhaps you prefer a more compact style, then the Herman Miller Sayl could be a very attractive option. It’s a bit cheaper, but it still has a sharp design and great ergonomic features.
The first thing that we noticed when we took it out of the box was that it has fewer parts than its sibling, but the vented elastomer backrest, made with strands that vary in thickness and tension, provide an excellent balance between support and comfort, not to mention great air circulation. You can adjust the armrests, seat height and seat depth – an essential attribute according to James Crow, owner of Posture Stars, a website promoting good posture (see more on what the pros think at the bottom of this page). And the four-setting tilt limiter lets you adjust the tension to your liking. The unique design inspired by the Golden Gate bridge may divide opinion, but we love this chic, offbeat take on the classic Herman Miller chair. And in terms of spinal support, it can’t be faulted.
The Flexispot OC13 ergonomic chair is a bit of a unique proposal on this guide to the best office chair for back pain. That's because it is designed in GameBoy grey, beige and chrome only, has a super cool 80s retro look, and yet has put the effort in to making it a solid ergonomic office chair. That's thanks to a variety of adjustability, including a moving lumbar support, and a comfy heat rest.
The reason we gave this chair three and a half stars when we reviewed it is because of the chair's look. Don't get us wrong – we love the look of the OC13, and yet we know that it may be divisive for many, so we couldn't give it a higher grade (though this writer would have liked to!)
But if you're reading this guide, you'll be most concerned with the chair's ergonomic features, and we're happy to say that it's solid in that respect. Sitting in the chair over six weeks, we really felt supported and comfortable at all times, and really the only thing that let it down in this respect was the slightly high arm rests that couldn't be lowered. However, if that's not a deal-breaker, and you love the look as much as we do, we can highly recommend this unique ergonomic office chair.
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 130kg. If you’re heavier, we’d recommend the Omega (opens in new tab) – and if you're a lot heavier, there's the Titan XL (opens in new tab).
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 several satisfied customers claim that it's changed their life for the better. The attention to detail and high-quality materials mean it should be good value in the long term. And that backrest pivoting function; well, that’s quite unique and something you just won’t find elsewhere.
Short on 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. We'll emphasise again, this is a basic option, but if you don't have much to spend on ergonomic office chair, it's a good choice for at least the most essential recommended features.
This is another of the best ergonomic chairs in the mid-price range. It's not ultra-budget, but it is very reasonably priced and feels more expensive than it is, with a good quality build and finish, although the design is a bit "blocky". Like many of the chairs we've compared, it has a mesh back, which experts recommend for air circulation to avoid getting sweaty in high temperatures. It also has what it calls a "waterfall" shaped seat edge, which means that even if the edge comes quite close to your knees, it tapers down reducing pressure on your thighs, which is something the NHS recommends.
Height and seat depth are adjustable, and this chair has quite a unique weight-guided tilt tension control, which you can set according to your own weight, is that as a one-size fits all chair t don't quite fit me. As for the all-important lumbar support, there are three settings with a lever to lock the selection. The headrest also has an arc design that we've not seen in other models, allowing it to support your neck, keeping your head in a more natural position.
This is all ticking the boxes in terms of advice on ergonomics – if you're of average size that is. But since the Admiral takes a one-size-fits-all approach and doesn't have the same level of adjustment as some of the chairs above, it's not going to be ideal for everyone, and we've seen customer reviews from people who say it's either too small or too big for their frame. If you're particularly tall, you mind find that the lumbar support sits too low even with the seat back raised to full height.
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, although the adjustability includes tilt tension control, tilt lock, back angle, back height, synchro tilt, seat height, seat depth, and arm height. The armrests are very flexible but have no locking mechanism for horizontal or upward movement and can be accidentally moved out of place a little easily.
Other than that, build quality is certainly very good, but we feel that this is quite pricy and that 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?
Yes, the best ergonomic office chairs can help prevent back pain in the first place and can also help to alleviate it if you're already suffering. That said, if you do already suffer from back pain, we recommend visiting a doctor as well as considering a new chair because there may be other underlying causes.
Health experts provide a lot of advice on the importance of using a good chair. "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 (opens in new tab).
"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 (opens in new tab), 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. "Armrests are really useful for someone who suffers neck and mid-spine pain. Lumbar support is also very useful. An adjustable seat plate, backrest and arms will allow the user to adapt the chair to their specific posture."
What's the best office chair for back pain?
It's hard to single out one product as the best office chair for back pain overall because there are so many options, but, as we say above, for our money the best ergonomic office chair is the Herman Miller Mirra 2. It's highly adjustable, including lumbar support, uses quality materials and it also looks fantastic. If you're able to invest in the very best support for your back, we'd certainly recommend it.
That said, we recognise that with a price of around $1,500 / £1,300, the Mirra 2 is simply beyond many people's budgets. We've taken that into account and included some more economical chairs for back pain in our guide too. Some of the cheaper options offer great ergonomic features for their prices, but they don't have the same level of adjustability or support as the likes of the Herman Miller and HÅG Capisco chairs. We'd 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
James Crow, owner of Posture Stars, a website promoting good posture, says: "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."
It's also important to replace an ageing chair, he says. "If your chair has been around for more than a decade it's probably time to upgrade. The materials wear down over time, with seat padding especially taking a beating."
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? Well, the word 'lumbar' refers to your lower back, which should curve inward, and as Chongsu Lee, a physiotherapist and creator of the robotic BackHug (opens in new tab) 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 an office chair?
According to the NHS website (opens in new tab), 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).