It seems as if every day we are hearing about more and more companies wanting employees to return to the office. Stay-at-home orders have been lifted for most of the world but many employees are reluctant to return to the office and prefer to work from home.
During the pandemic there was a rush to snap up office furniture and many people couldn't get the furniture they wanted. If you are fortunate enough to still be able to work from home, now might be a great time to find a chair that can help your posture and prevent low back pain.
There’s never been a better time to set up your ideal home office. To save you time, we have scoured the internet to find some of the most sought after work from home chairs to support your back through those long work hours. Here’s how to find the best office chairs for low back pain.
The Rise Of Sedentary Work
In a recent article from Rolling Stone Magazine, it was shown that even before the Coronavirus pandemic, more and more jobs were becoming remote, with some 4.7 million Americans working from home.
According to the American Heart Association, sedentary jobs have increased 83% since 1950, with close to 86% of American employees having jobs that require long periods of sitting. The British Psychological Society reports that in a typical working week, on average, people spend 5 hours and 41 minutes per day sitting at their desk.
Sitting And Your Health
All of this time spent sitting can have negative effects on your health, especially when it comes to low back problems. While people who sit more tend to be less physically active in general, time spent sitting at your desk definitely affects your posture, your mental health, and your stress levels. This can lead to weight gain and poor circulation as well as other health issues. So what does that mean for you?
Typically, workplaces have evolved to recognize the dangers of sitting for too long, with many companies embracing the newer trends of standing desks, or even providing supportive balance balls to sit on. Unfortunately for most of us, our home offices have not quite caught up to these ergonomic trends. Think about where you sit at home and where you work right now. How does your current chair measure up? Is it as comfortable as your old office chair?
Wellness by Design
When it comes to workplace wellness, Jamie Gold, CKD, CAPS, MCCWC is a wellness design consultant and author of the upcoming book Wellness by Design, the first comprehensive consumer guide to optimizing your home for physical and mental health.
Jamie's book explores how simple changes to things like lighting, fixtures, and furniture can make a huge difference in how you feel every day. She offers a room-by-room guide to refreshing your space so that it supports muscle and bone health.
We love her suggestions on how to optimize your home for health and wellness and how she offers some great insights into picking the perfect chair for your home office. (Please note that this does not represent an official endorsement from LivaFortis, nor do we make any money from sharing this product with you.)
What to Look for in an Office Chair
So, now that you have decided that it might be time to update your home office, how do you pick the perfect chair?
When you are spending a big part of your day at your desk, ergonomics are even more important than you realize, helping to minimize fatigue and discomfort, and increasing concentration and productivity.
For those who don’t have time to read through Gold’s book to learn all about ergonomics in your home, we have taken some of Gold’s suggestions, along with the latest research on ergonomics, and some of the best reviews out there, and put together a quick cheat sheet on what to look for when shopping for a new chair.
1. Adjustable seat height and arm rests: When sitting at your desk you should be able to sit with your feet resting flat on the floor and your arms should be even with the height of the desk. When you are typing your wrists should be flat and your arms should be able to rest comfortably on the desk.
2. Adjustable lumbar support: Chairs should have multiple adjustable lower back supports, or it could actually cause more pain. Lumbar support is vital part of a great chair.
3. Waterfall design: A waterfall seat edge (one that falls forward) can reduce pressure on your legs and encourages healthy blood circulation.
4. Mesh back chairs: Chairs with mesh upholstery have the ability to flex and form around your back and are better for your body than cushioned or leather chairs.
5. Movement: Having a chair that can move with your body is key. Chairs that can swivel to accommodate reaching different parts of the desk can assist in preventing straining your lower back. Typically, chairs with at least 5 legs have better rolling capabilities than those with fewer legs.
Top Office Chairs For Lower Back Pain
Now that you know the basics of an ergonomic chair, let’s take a look at some of the most popular options for the best office chairs for lower back pain. We have put together a list of the top 6 chairs, ranging from most affordable, to most luxurious, based on customer reviews and other data.
(This list does not represent an endorsement from LivaFortis, nor do we make any money from sharing these products with you. Prices given are current when this post was published, and these prices may change over time.
Most Affordable Office Chairs
1. Bret Ergonomic Mesh Task Chair, $225.00
This office chair meets many of the ergonomic guidelines set by the Department of Labor and is also very affordable. The chair has a sturdy, five-legged base, casters that will allow the chair to move easily and a backrest that follows the natural curvature of the spine.
2. SOHO II Ribbed Management Office Chair, $300.00
If you’re looking for something a little more stylish, check out this SOHO office chair. It has the sleek, mid-century modern look that designers love, and it also comes in a variety of colors to match your personal style or your office decor.
While the SOHO chair isn’t as customizable as the Steelcase or Herman Miller, it still has enough adjustability features for anyone to get comfortable. The seat can swivel, the height is variable, you can remove the arms, and the whole chair tilts to recline.
The ergonomically-shaped back also offers some lumbar support for good posture. Finally, the frame is made of durable chrome steel and aluminum, while the ribbed leatherette allows for surprisingly good airflow to keep you cool.
Best Mid-Range Office Chair
1. Tempur-Pedic TP9000 Mesh Task Chair, $279.99
Tempur-Pedic are known for their amazing mattresses, but I bet you didn’t know that they make chairs, too! Like their mattresses, this chair from Tempur-Pedic is created to help your body feel its very best.
Made from memory foam, this chair has straightforward levers that will allow you to adjust the armrests and seat so you can position your chair specifically to your unique ergonomic needs.
2. Steelcase Leap Fabric Chair, $1,222.00
Steelcase is a trusted American brand for high-quality, environmentally-friendly office furniture. This Leap chair was first released way back in 1999, but has been a popular model ever since, thanks to incredible adjustability, durable construction, and a minimalist design.
Because lumbar support is one of the most important aspects of an office chair, Steelcase developed live lumbar technology that actively flexes with movement to keep your lower back supported. This ensures a more comfortable workday and less back problems down the road.
The Leap chair’s claim-to-fame is its adjustability. In total, the seat has eight adjustable areas including pneumatic seat-height adjustment, a variable backstop and height-width-pivot-depth adjustable arms. These are all adjusted via intuitive controls, so you can easily customize the chair or alter it as needed throughout the day.
Best High-end Option
1. Herman Miller Aeron Chair, $1,356
As Gold mentions in her book, you can think of chairs for back pain as “an investment in your health and productivity.” That statement is particularly true when applied to this fan-favorite chair: the Herman Miller Aeron Chair.
This chair is priced at a pretty penny due to its plush ergonomic features. With over 7 million chairs sold to date, despite being designed 20 years ago, this chair continues to be one of the most popular on the market. The Aeron chair is completely customizable, down to the chair size, level of back support, your preferred tilt and seat angle, desired armrests, as well as casters made for the specific type of floors you have.
2. Herman Miller Embody Office Chair, $1,632.00
Herman Miller’s “Embody” is the Rolls-Royce of office chairs. Designed by Jeff Weber and the late and great Bill Stumpf, plus a consultation team of more than 20 leading physicians. These physicians used their respective knowledge of biomechanics, vision, physical therapy, and ergonomics to design a chair that, as Herman Miller puts it, is “so intelligent, it makes you think.”
The back and seat of the Embody office chair feature an adaptive matrix of pixels that move with you. This ensures even distribution of pressure at all times, improving circulation, and giving your body a sense of lightness.
In order to create a backrest that perfectly suits the human body, the designers of this chair took inspiration from just that - the human body. The back of the chair utilizes a central spine and flexible ribs that keep your posture neutral at all times. This spine is adjustable, along with the seat and armrests, for a customized fit.
We hope that you found these reviews helpful and that, no matter what your budget, you can find a chair that will support you throughout your working day. With so many people finding that working from home suits them and their lifestyle, if might be time to treat yourself, change up that home office, and make things permanent!
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