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The 5 Most Comfortable Office Chairs For Lower Back Pain Relief

Updated on September 15, 2015
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A 9 to 5 life is not easy, but I have found some ways to make it easier for me, I hope these suggestions help you out as well.

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What Makes an Office Chair Comfortable?

A comfortable office chair should be part of any office survivors arsenal. Sitting in a poor position for many hours can lead to body pains and costly surgery in the future.

Being in a poor sitting position for extended periods of time is what led me to having CTS (Carpal Tunnel Syndrome), a condition where a nerve in your hand begins to be pinched leading to wrist and arm pain and eventually surgery if left entreated.

I later found out it was because my seat was too low, causing my wrists to bend at an unnatural angle. This experience has led me to do some searching for more ergonomic and some of the most comfortable office chairs I could find based on a few criteria that should be present in the best office chairs.

Material Quality:The quality of the materials used in chair can play a big role in the breath-ability and how your skin can feel after prolonged hours of sitting

Back Support:A proper back support should support the natural contour of your back and encourage you to use a good sitting posture reducing pain and stiffness.

Seating:The padding of the seat should have a waterfall edge to allow your legs to fall to the ground naturally. A cornered edge can restrict circulation through your legs.

Arm rest and seat width:A good office chair should allow space between the arm rest and your body. Also, you should not have to "squeeze" into your chair, people with more generous proportions should look for a chair with adjustable armrests. I will review some of those here.

Height Adjustment:Chairs need to be easily adjustable up and down to reduce pressure on the neck and shoulders. In my case the chair was too low causing my wrists to bend down in an "unnatural" position.

Good Posture (Left);Poor Posture (Right)
Good Posture (Left);Poor Posture (Right) | Source

What is the Best Sitting Posture?

  • A good sitting posture is sitting fully upright with your wrists as flat on the desk as possible in a neutral position. Your armrests should be at the same level of the desk.
  • Your thighs should be parallel to the ground with your feet flat on the ground. Your knees should bend at a 90 degree angle. You should use a foot rest if your feet are not able to rest flat on the floor.
  • Your hips should be bent at a 90 degree angle as a result of sitting upright. You can adjust you chair up or down so you are not slouching forward.

The Aeron Chair by Herman Miller

The Aeron Chair by Herman Miller began as an idea in the mind of Bill Stumpf, the designer of the chair. On a collaborative project with Don Chadwick, they began thinking of what a truly comfortable and ergonomic chair should be for nursing homes.

They later took this concept and applied it to the office setting as they interviewed and surveyed a number of working professionals who spend hours in a seated position. All of this work culminated into the Aeron chair which has been referred to many as the most comfortable office chair.

Bill Stumpf was repeatedly quoted as saying, "Own the Problem",which he exhibited in the design and creation of the Aeron chair. He knew the design had to fit the contour and shape of the human body thus giving the chair its signature "Biomorphic" and "Curvilinear" design.

This chair has all the features you would expect from an ergonomic chair including adjustable armrests, height, backrest stiffness, and the woven membrane mesh-like fabric for breath-ability and weight distribution. These features combined with the aesthetic, natural looking design make this a chair you can only experience first hand to know what type of comfort it provides.

The only downside to this chair is because of the design research that was done to achieve these results, the cost of this chair can be quite high, and you would need to make sure that the cost to benefit ratio is something that is suitable for you. If not, I have reviewed a few other chairs below that have also received great feedback, but for a fraction of the price.

5 stars for My Top Choice

Space Seating Managers Chair by Office Star

This chair was perfect for me and the one I am currently using as it was withing my budget and had all the features that were important to me.

It has the breathable mesh material that is found on almost all the other ergonomic chairs and a seat height adjustment feature. This chair can also roll easily with heavier weights because of the heavy duty dual wheel carpet casters.

The armrests don't feel as high quality as the rest of the materials in the chair, but they are adjustable giving you the ability to accommodate most body sizes. The padding on the seat is made of leather and has firm resistance, not too hard and not too soft.

Mid-Back Mesh Chair by Flash Furniture

This is definitely the most budget friendly ergonomic solution for an office chair. It can easily manage heavier weights with the heavy duty dual caster wheels.

The back support is able to lean back comfortably without feeling like you are going to fall backwards. It has the standard adjustable armrests for accommodating a variety of sizes with comfortable padding so your elbows don't feel like they are grinding against the armrest.

The mesh material backing provides good breath-ability and is angled inwards for lumbar support. The adjustable height feature rounds this chair off as a great all around ergonomic chair.

Lorell Executive High-Back Chair

The Laurel Executive Chair is a mid-range ergonomic chair which features a high back for maximum relief for the neck and shoulder area. The angled lower back provides lumbar support for reduced lower-back pain.

Because of its price point you will notice that it is made from quality material and is actually at a lower price point than other ergonomic chairs in its class. The thee levers you will notice below are a-synchronous seat height, and back adjustments for an extremely adjustable solution.

The mesh backing is flame retardant and keeps your skin from becoming too uncomfortable from sitting prolonged periods of time, and the arm rests are fully adjustable for a comfortable fit. Compared to other chairs in its category you can't get this many features at a price point like this.

Work Smart Faux Leather Managers Chair

The Work Smart Managers Chair does not have all the ergonomic features like the rest, but definitely gets my stamp of approval for one of the most comfortable.

If you tend to get a bit sore from sitting too long, you would enjoy the padding on the backrest and seat cushion as they give you a softer, more enveloped feeling when sitting down.

Because of the fake leather, the breath-ability may be a bit inconvenient after many hours of sitting. The built in lumbar support is a great addition and will be a relief if you are one to get sore quickly from prolonged siting. The arm rests are not adjustable, but the chair is also wide and would allow most body types to fit comfortably. And of course it has the adjustable height functionality to prevent neck and shoulder stiffness.

More Office Chair Tips

  • Try not to stay in the same sitting position more than 30 minutes. Get up and stretch.
  • Adjust your work station and chair height to allow yourself to be close up to your work. Make sure your elbows are resting at you side so you are keeping your shoulders relaxed.
  • Don't twist at the waist while sitting if you are in a chair that has wheels and rolls or pivots, it is better to turn your whole body.
  • When getting up from your chair, first move to the front of your chair, then stand up by straightening your legs. Try to avoid bending at your waist. Then proceed to stretch your back by doing 10 standing backbends.
  • Make sure you find the most comfortable office chair for you, as not all chairs are built the same.

Do you experience any pains from prolonged sitting?

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