The 8 Best Office Chairs For Upper Back Pain

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It doesn't matter how much time you spend behind your desk; if you're uncomfortable and unsupported, your back will likely speak up about it. Thankfully, the best office chairs for upper back pain can help — but contrary to popular belief, it's not just about fluff and cushioning. If you want a comfortable, supportive office chair, you'll need to consider the backrest design, the materials, the height, and the adjustability of various angles. In order to help me find the best options, I reached out to Allen Conrad, BS, DC, CSCS and owner of Montgomery County Chiropractic in North Wales, Pennsylvania.

When it comes to a chair's backrest, there are two main qualities that help to ease pain, and oddly enough, they're opposites: ample back support or none at all. “Additional support in an ergonomic high back chair helps reinforce the normal kyphotic curve of the thoracic spine. By mimicking the natural curvature of your back, you will be able to sit longer with better posture,” Dr. Conrad wrote in an email to Bustle. On the other hand, a chair with no backrest at all may also help, assuming it's designed to activate your spine and core. According to Dr. Conrad, active sitting (like with kneeling chairs and exercise balls) “can help your body use its muscles to strengthen your posture, as your muscles have to work harder to keep you sitting up straight.” Dr. Conrad does point out, though, that active-sitting chairs “are not recommended for people who already have back pain or degenerative arthritis, as there is already additional pressure on these areas.”

The materials your chair is made from are also important, and this one applies to both the backrest and the seat of the chair. Many best-selling options utilize a mesh fabric or structured cushioning for the backrest, as to promote comfort while simultaneously giving your back some ergonomic support. The seat, on the other hand, is typically made from softer foam or padding, but it shouldn't be too soft: According to Dr. Conrad: “Firmer and more compact materials for an ergonomic chair help reinforce the spinal curvature. A softer material may feel comfortable in the beginning, but all chair materials will sag and wear down over time.”

Last but not least, consider the chair's height and angles. “Some may say adjustable settings are the most important part of a chair,” Dr. Conrad wrote. “The goal is to get your line of sight with the middle of the computer screen. Various settings like height adjustment, swivel, and angle settings can help fit the chair specifically to your height and body type.” If you can change the height, the angle of the backrest, and the tilt of the seat, you'll be much more capable of achieving the aforementioned posture.

Regardless of your budget, style tastes, and personal needs, these are the eight best office chairs to ease your upper back pain on Amazon.

1. The Overall Best Office Chair For Back Pain

Especially for a reasonably priced option, the Hbada office chair has a ton of great features, including an S-shaped backrest for ergonomic support, several adjustable parts, a sleek, rounded appearance, five silent rolling wheels, and a heavy-duty design that can support up to 250 pounds. Unlike some other brands, it even has flip-up armrests so you can pull your chair all the way in, even when working at a lower desk. Pair that with the high rating and thousands of reviews, and it's no wonder it's the number-one pick for most people.

  • Height of backrest: 18.5 inches
  • Backrest material: high-density mesh
  • Seat material: high-density foam
  • Adjustability: 17.7- to 21.1-inch seat height, rotatable seat, 90- to 120-degree rocking backrest, 180-degree rotatable armrests, 360-degree swivel
  • Maximum weight capacity: 250 pounds
  • Available colors: black, white

One reviewer wrote: "This chair is awesome! I have chronic back pain and with the shelter in place order, I needed something where I can sit comfortably at home and work. This was really easy to set up and would definitely recommend to anyone looking for an ergonomic office chair."

2. The Best Cheap Office Chair

On a budget? No problem. While the AmazonBasics swivel chair doesn't have all of the features, it definitely offers some of the most important ones at a great price. It has a contoured backrest made of mesh as well as a 2-inch padded seat, plus it swivels, raises, lowers, and rolls. For $55, it's a definite upgrade from that folding chair, especially considering it has thousands of five-star reviews.

  • Height of backrest: approximately 15 inches
  • Backrest material: mesh
  • Seat material: padding
  • Adjustability: 15- to 20-inch seat height, 360-degree swivel
  • Maximum weight capacity: approximately 250 pounds
  • Available colors: black, blue, green, red

One reviewer wrote: "I used to sit on an old Walmart generic brand office chair and the seat was flat and the back gave me no support, causing back pain during long homework sessions. I can [sit] using this chair for more than 3 hours straight. [...] Great value for the price, too!"

3. The Best Kneeling Chair

At first, it may seem counterintuitive to choose a chair with zero back support — but as previously discussed, active seats, like this one, help engage your core muscles and train you to improve your posture and hopefully reduce back pain in the long run. The DRAGONN ergonomic kneeling chair cushions your knees and your bottom while you sit in a kneeling position, which causes your spine to straighten automatically. As a result, hunching over is much more difficult. This chair also offers four rolling wheels with locking casters and a height-adjustable seat, so it's suitable for most people.

  • Height of backrest: N/A
  • Backrest material: N/A
  • Seat material: thick cushioning
  • Adjustability: 21- to 28-inch seat height
  • Maximum weight capacity: 250 pounds
  • Available colors: black, white

One reviewer wrote: "I'm 225lbs solid dude, back was killing me. Got this chair, took me a week or so to build up the muscles in my shins to get used to the new weight distribution, my pain is GONE. Love this chair."

4. The Best Gaming Chair

Just like working, gaming often requires a desk and a computer, but as a gamer, your posture and daily screen hours may differ — which is why a specific chair could be a worthy investment. The Homall gaming chair has a few standout features, like a steel frame covered in PU leather, built-in lumbar and neck pillows, high-density memory foam throughout, and a wide range of adjustable angles. It also comes in nearly 10 different color options to match your gaming setup.

  • Height of backrest: 22.5 inches
  • Backrest material: high-density foam
  • Seat material: high-density foam
  • Adjustability: 17.3- to 21.5-inch seat height, 150-degree backrest tilt, 360-degree swivel
  • Maximum weight capacity: 300 pounds
  • Available colors: blue, red, white, black, gray, green, pink, purple

One reviewer wrote: "I have been spending a lot more time at my desk for work. My self-care is PC gaming at the same battle station, so I needed something very supportive to keep me from straining at the desk all day. This product absolutely hit the mark! I have scoliosis and back/neck pain, and this thing allows me to attend meetings online all day then game all night with relative comfort."

5. The Most Stylish Office Chair

If aesthetics are just as important as comfort, opt for the Serta Leighton home office chair. Its stylish twill fabric comes in your choice of seven different colors (there's also a bonded leather option) while the seat has nail-head trim and piping. But it's not just about looks, the design also incorporates both memory foam and pocket coils to keep you comfortable while supporting proper posture.

  • Height of backrest: 19 inches
  • Backrest material: memory foam
  • Seat material: memory foam and pocket coils
  • Adjustability: 19.25- to 22.25-inch seat height, 360-degree swivel
  • Maximum weight capacity: 250 pounds
  • Available colors: blush pink, ivory, gray, navy blue, medium gray, beige

One reviewer wrote: "I wanted something that looked good but was also comfortable, and finally came across this. [...] In terms of comfort, from the moment I sat down I knew I had made a good purchase. It's got a nice tall back which makes sitting straight easier, and I like the wider seat as I often sit cross-legged which this chair allows me plenty of room to do. I'd definitely recommend this to anyone looking for a stylish and comfy desk chair!"

6. The Best Stability Ball For Sitting

When you sit on an exercise ball instead of a standard chair, your core muscles engage to keep you balanced and upright. This, in turn, promotes better posture and may help to reduce back pain. The PharMeDoc balance ball utilizes that same model of thinking and improves upon it with its chair-like design. The base features four locking wheels and a folding backrest that you can use for better control and improved lumbar support while you work.

  • Height of backrest: approximately 10.3 inches
  • Backrest material: plastic
  • Seat material: inflatable vinyl
  • Adjustability: density/inflated size
  • Maximum weight capacity: 300 pounds
  • Available colors: black

One reviewer wrote: "I transitioned from a job where I was on my feet all day to a job where I was seated all day. Within weeks, I had intense lower and upper back pain to the point of painkillers and doctor visits. I purchased this chair as a Hail Mary hoping for any kind of relief. [...] A second day of 8 hours on this chair and I was still completely pain free!"

7. The Softest Office Chair

Softer isn't always better when it comes to back pain, but if a chair is both structured and adequately padded, it can help to improve your posture while also minimizing pressure on your bones and joints. The Furmax office chair is so highly rated because it's "really plush and comfortable" while simultaneously offering "terrific" back support, according to reviewers on Amazon. That's all due to the multiple panels of cushioned bonded leather all over the chair, including on the armrests.

  • Height of backrest: 27.9 inches
  • Backrest material: cushioned bonded leather
  • Seat material: cushioned bonded leather
  • Adjustability: 17.3- to 20.5-inch seat height, 90- to 120-degree rocking backrest, 360-degree swivel
  • Maximum weight capacity: 300 bounds
  • Available colors: gray, black, brown

One reviewer wrote: "The chair is soft and comfortable, it is a perfect fit to have my back and head relaxed on it. I can easily adjust it up and down to meet my needs. It is quite amazing to move around with the 360 degree swivel."

8. A Highly Adjustable Chair That's Breathable

Finally, there's the NOUHAUS Ergo3D, which is highly adjustable and worth the splurge if you're willing to invest in an incredible office chair. This pick has dynamic lumbar support that moves with you, easy-to-maneuver rollerblade wheels, and an adjustable headrest — and while we're on the subject of adjustability, you can also change the height, seat tilt, backrest tilt, and armrest height, too. Since the entire thing is made out of high-quality mesh, it's supportive, breathable, and comfortable, all at the same time.

  • Height of backrest: 27.6 inches
  • Backrest material: 3-D mesh
  • Seat material: padded mesh
  • Adjustability: 18.5- to 22.44-inch seat height,135-degree rocking backrest, tilting seat, adjustable neck rest, adjustable armrests
  • Maximum weight capacity: 275 pounds
  • Available colors: black, blue, burgundy, gray

One reviewer wrote: "My husband and I love this chair so much we bought 2!! I work from home and we do a lot of online gaming- so sitting for hours and this chair is sooooo comfortable and we never have back pain. SO worth every penny spent!"


Allen Conrad, BS, DC, CSCS, chiropractor and owner of Montgomery County Chiropractic Center in North Wales, Pennsylvania

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