Many of us sit for eight to ten hours a day in an office setting for work. It is unavoidable. Many people experience some degree of lower back pain directly from the use of an office chair. Many of the chairs on the market, especially on the cheaper end at big box stores tend to not be very effective helping you get through your day without back pain. The chairs are uncomfortable, and put direct pressure on your back (especially when trying to recline them), while not allowing your back to move freely with proper support. I went through many different chairs, wasted hundreds of dollars, plus I endured more pain than I should have. I bought seat pads and lumbar pads as a result of bad chair purchases. If only I knew what chairs to get, I would have invested in a good chair instead of wind up at square one again and again. My biggest disappointment was buying a Tempurpedic Chair. I absolutely love my Tempurpedic Contour Select bed, but their chairs were a misstep. I sunk into the chair and I felt immediate pressure on my SI joint as soon as I sat in it.
Enough about the bad chairs, let’s get into some of my favorites.
1.) Herman Miller Aeron Chair
The Aeron is one of the first truly ergonomic chairs that changed the game. It is instantly adaptable to all the motions you go through every day while seated, The Pellicle suspension conforms to your body, reduces pressure points, and provides unparalleled support. The high, wide, contoured back takes the pressure off your lower spine. The “waterfall” front edge of the seat takes the pressure off your thighs, so your blood keeps circulating and you stay alert and focused. Many sites also let you choose adjustable lumbar options to personally suit you. It is also easy to recline, and while you are reclined, the back of the chair supports you without pushing against your back intensely like some chairs tend to do. I remember the first time sitting in one of these was at an office meeting at one of my old jobs. It felt heavenly compared to the $59 special at my desk. I tried it out several times while I had my back injury and I could actually concentrate on the tasks I had at hand. It has a classic look that fits into any office setting. You cannot go wrong with the comfort and look of the Aeron.
2.) Steelcase Leap The Steelcase Leap is my personal favorite chair on the list. My lumbar has a bit of a curve, even after being 100% pain free. I feel the Leap accommodates that very well.
Leap’s LiveBack technology changes shape to mimic the movement of the spine and supports your body as you move. It conforms to your spine. This can reduce the chance of lower back sag and a hunched posture.
Their Natural Glide System technology enables you to comfortably recline while keeping your body aligned with your work so as not to strain your eyes, neck, or arms. It travels with your back.
It has a knob, known as the Lower Back Firmness Control which gives you freedom to choose the amount of firmness, providing constant support for your lower back. I sat in this chair and there was no pressure to my SI joint when I was injured. In fact, I felt more relief when I got off of the chair after sitting for a half hour than pretty much anything else outside of corrective exercise.
3.) Herman Miller Embody Chair
The Embody is a very agile chair, encouraging movement, which is important as a lot of chairs keep your body in a standstill position the entire time you are sitting. We as humans are meant to move! You can feel Embody’s responsive ergonomics the moment you sit down, almost like you are floating, yet you are perfectly balanced. The seat distributes your weight evenly while supporting your body’s micro-movements. The narrow backrest allows you to move freely and naturally as it automatically adjusts to support a full range of seated postures. By reducing seated pressure and encouraging freedom of movement, Embody allows blood and oxygen to flow more freely, which helps keep you focused and not worried about tightness in your body.
It was created with a dynamic matrix of pixels for the seat and back surfaces that automatically conform to your every movement and distribute your weight evenly. One chair size fits almost every person because Embody automatically adapts to the wide variation in the sizes, shapes, postures, and spinal curves of different people. Many chairs out there could be good for one person and be uncomfortable for the next, but Embody would be a great choice for offices that offer one or two different options for ergonomic work chairs.
I liked the chair overall, and it felt great on my back, but it is a bit more on the pricey side.
4.) Haworth Zody Chair
The Zody chair is the first and only chair ever endorsed by the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA).
It has a unique system called the Asymmetric Lumbar and PAL, which is a passive pelvic support, and a patent-pending user-selected asymmetrical lumbar support.
When seated, most people’s hips tend to roll backward, causing a poor seated posture. PAL promotes a slight forward rotation of the hips, which helps you maintain the natural arch in their lower spine. This position also promotes a proper use of the lumbar mechanism. The lumbar is height and pressure adjustable to allow you full control in the amount of support needed. The pressure can be adjusted on each side independently. I felt immediate relief and very little pain as I sat on this chair. It is my second favorite of the chairs I have sat in for an extended period of time while I was injured.
The back frame has two inches of torsional flex to move you while you twist and work. This support enhances Zody’s other features, like the asymmetric lumbar, by moving with the user as they sit towards one side of the chair. Zody also has unique 4D arms on the chair, which adjust in height, in width, front-to-back, in-to-out, and pivot. This can also be great if you have shoulder issues.
5.) Herman Miller Mirra 2 Chair
The Mirra 2 is for people who prefer a lighter, sophisticated design with lots of choices to personalize it for yourself.
You can see its emphasis on performance with the Butterfly Back, which is a hybrid structure that merges a fabric layer with polymer veins, making the chair more responsive, while bringing visual lightness to any environment.
The Mirra 2 is a flexible, yet supportive chair that allows your body to move freely and naturally. Mirra 2’s Loop Spine provides torsional flex, allowing you to stretch and reach laterally, while the Harmonic 2 tilt provides a smooth, balanced feel as you recline.
Mirra 2 has lumbar options that offer passive PostureFit sacral support which tilts your hips slightly forward to maintain proper spine alignment since as mentioned earlier, many people’s hips tend to roll backward when they are sittting.
Mirra 2’s Harmonic 2 tilt, with its responsive leaf-spring design, creates a smooth and balanced feel as you move from one posture to another for a variety of people. The back of the seat does not crush you as you recline. It is not my first choice, but it is still leaps and bounds better than most chairs on the market.
In closing, yes these chairs I have listed may be a little more expensive than what you are used to. However, you cannot put a price tag on your back feeling great even after sitting. I still recommend that although these are great chairs, you should still strive to get up, walk around, and stretch every half hour, not only for your back health, but for your overall health as well.