How Ergonomic Office Chairs Can Help People with Chronic Pain

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Ergonomic office chairs can relieve back pain, fatigue, and other chronic illness symptoms to help you get through a long workday at your desk.

Pain in the lower back, neck, and other body parts is among the most common work-related injuries. It’s often caused by everyday work activities like sitting for hours in the wrong office chair.

Most standard or conventional office chairs aren’t good enough to support proper posture and comfort in the workplace. The use of quality office ergonomic chairs can help prevent work-related pain and injury and help maintain a healthy body.

In today’s post, we’ll discuss chronic pain and its impact on productivity. Then, we’ll explore how ergonomically made office chairs can help people with chronic pain.

Contents show

This article contains affiliate links, which means we may receive a commission at no additional cost to you. As an Amazon associate, we earn from qualifying purchases. 

 

What Is Chronic Pain and How Does It Impact Productivity?

Chronic pain is a common presenting problem in the office workplace. It is a complex diagnosis that may vary in intensity and duration from one person to another. People living with chronic pain may share many of the same difficulties and frustrations.

When devising ways to help people living with chronic pain in the workplace, keep in mind how pain impacts their work and personal lives. The following are some ways chronic pain can affect employee performance and productivity.

Workplace Disability: One of the leading causes of workplace disability is chronic back pain, which can be costly for a business due to disability claims.

Reduced Productivity: Chronic pain can lead to more cases of absenteeism at work, which is bad for a company. It can be worse for the employer if people with chronic pain are present at work but cannot give their best in terms of performance and productivity.

Decreased Motivation: People with chronic pain may be less motivated at work. Also, using the wrong office chair may lead to ongoing pain. This can make it difficult for such people to feel engaged or be optimistic about their future.

The Benefits of Ergonomic Office Chairs for Chronic Pain

The use of office ergonomic chairs and good body mechanics that can contribute to reducing chronic pain in the workplace is recommended. Find an ergonomic chair that will adapt to your specific needs.

To ensure that a chair has as many ergonomic, comfort, and safety features as possible, it should have the following:

  • Height-adjustable seat
  • Adjustable seat depth
  • Adjustable lumbar support
  • Height-adjustable back
  • Reclining backrest with tilt tension
  • Fully adjustable armrests

With that said, here is how an ergonomic office chair can help a person with chronic pain:

Ensures Proper Body Posture

A good ergonomic desk chair promotes proper body posture, which helps to manage pain while sitting for an extended period.

When properly adjusted, an ergonomically made chair ensures the hips and knees assume a horizontal plane position at a ninety-degree angle and the feet are firmly on the ground. Furthermore, a chair with adjustable lumbar support maintains the natural vertical curvature of the lumbar spine as well as the horizontal curvature of the back.

Prevents Slumping and Leaning Forward

A slumping position can cause degeneration and worsen chronic back pain by exerting additional stress on the lower spine. However, an ergonomic task chair with a properly adjusted seat pan depth can help prevent the problem.

People with chronic pain may lean forward with their shoulders hunched as they type or do any other activity on the desk. This requires strenuous static effort and causes people to complain about back, neck, knee, and shoulder pain.

An ergonomically designed chair can help alleviate the problem with a well-adjusted headrest, backrest, and lumbar support. It helps maintain the natural curvature of the back from top to bottom.

Improves Comfort Levels

An ergonomic desk chair puts you in the proper posture and lends total body support to reduce the strain on the spine, lower back, shoulders, and arms.

Some of these chairs have spine-like backrest designs that are tailored to provide maximum support and comfort for the back. Also, they tend to have high-quality upholstery that balances firmness and softness for superior comfort when working for extended periods.

In addition, some chair brands provide recline adjustment and tilt tension to improve comfort levels when relaxing in the chair.

The Best Ergonomic Office Chairs for Back Pain and Chronic Pain

These office chairs, reviewed by members of The Ability Toolbox, can help relieve back pain and other chronic illness symptoms to help you stay comfortable and productive during your workday.

Overall Best Ergonomic Office Chair for Back Pain: Steelcase Gesture

If you struggle with back pain, The Steelcase Gesture ergonomic office chair is a game-changer for comfort and productivity.

I recently had the pleasure of experiencing the Steelcase Gesture Ergonomic Office Chair, and I am absolutely thrilled with the transformation it has brought to my workspace. As someone who spends long hours in front of a desk and lives with chronic pain due to an autoimmune disease, I've tried a lot of chairs in pursuit of relief. Finally, I found one that works! This desk chair actively encourages me to adopt healthier sitting habits, ultimately contributing to my physical health and vitality.

From the moment I settled into the Gesture chair, I could immediately sense the exceptional craftsmanship and thoughtful design that went into its creation. The adjustable features are nothing short of remarkable – from the dynamic 3D LiveBack technology that adapts seamlessly to my every movement, to the customizable armrests that effortlessly cater to my preferred arm positions. This chair truly understands the nuances of human anatomy and movement, providing a personalized and luxurious sitting experience.

One of the standout features for me is the Gesture chair's unparalleled lumbar support. The chair's ability to contour to my body and promote a natural, healthy posture has alleviated my chronic pain and strain during long work sessions. No longer do I find myself shifting around to find a comfortable position – the Gesture chair effortlessly molds itself around me, ensuring that I can maintain focus and productivity without any distractions.

The Gesture chair's premium materials and build quality are evident at first glance. The sleek, modern design adds a touch of sophistication to my workspace, while the robust construction assures me that this investment is built to last. It's not just a chair; it's a long-term partner in my pursuit of comfort and freedom from debilitating pain.

The Steelcase Gesture Ergonomic Office Chair is more than just a piece of furniture – it's a transformative tool that has elevated my workspace to new heights. Its intuitive design, customizable features, and unwavering commitment to comfort have made it an indispensable asset in my daily routine. If you're seeking a chair that seamlessly marries ergonomics, style, and functionality, I wholeheartedly recommend the Steelcase Gesture. Your body and productivity will thank you for this exceptional investment.

–Reviewed by Ability Toolbox member Liliana Marquez

Steelcase Gesture Office Chair, Licorice

$1,640.00
Amazon.com
as of April 14, 2024 11:37 PM

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If you need maximum support to cope with serious chronic pain and back problems, these are more high-quality ergonomic chairs recommended by our community members.

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Best Budget Ergonomic Office Chair for Chronic and Back Pain: Smug

The Smug Brand Ergonomic Office Chair provides comfortable seating at a remarkably low cost, making it a perfect fit for those of us who experience chronic pain and have a limited budget. Many of us disabled people are low-income and just buying the furniture we need to start working from home can be a challenge, so finding a quality ergonomic desk chair for $100 has been a lifesaver for me!

Despite its low cost, this chair doesn't compromise on customization. The adjustable seat height, tilt tension, and built-in lumbar support are just a few examples of the chair's adaptability to various body types and preferences. I was able to tailor the chair to fit my needs perfectly, allowing me to maintain an ergonomic posture during long work sessions without my usual back pain.

The padded seat and breathable mesh back of the Smug chair create an inviting and supportive seating experience. The mesh material not only adds a contemporary flair but also ensures proper ventilation, keeping me cool and focused. The chair's contouring design cradles my body, providing chronic pain relief and reducing the strain associated with prolonged sitting.

In a market flooded with expensive options, the Smug Ergonomic Office Chair stands out as a beacon of affordability without sacrificing essential features.  It's proof that comfort, quality, and affordability can indeed go hand in hand. If you're looking to transform your workspace without breaking the bank, I wholeheartedly recommend giving the Smug chair a try.

–Reviewed by Ability Toolbox member Marissa Clark

SMUG Ergonomic Office High Back Computer, Mesh Home Desk Lumbar Support, Tilt and Lock, Comfy Rolling Executive Swivel Task Chair with 3D Adjustable Headrest and Armrests, Grey

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Recommended Ergonomic Office Chairs for Back Pain Under $300

Here are some ergonomic office chairs under $300 that our community recommends for back pain relief without financial agony.

FelixKing Ergonomic Office Chair, Headrest Desk Chair Office Chair with Adjustable Lumbar Support, Home Office Swivel Task Chair with High...

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Most Comfortable Padded Office Chair to Reduce Back Pain: Serta

I have ankylosing spondylitis, a degenerative, disabling disease that causes chronic neck, back, and joint pain. I'm most comfortable in bed, but I gotta pay the bills, so I found the next best thing — an office chair that is made by a company that makes mattresses.

The Serta Ergonomic Executive Office Chair has an adjustable lumbar support and contoured design that keep my pain under control. Its leather upholstery brings a classy ambiance to every Zoom call and supports my rear so I'm not shifting around and making others at the meeting wonder exactly what is going on off-camera. While not the cheapest ergonomic desk chair on the market, it's a lot less expensive than those fancy designer ones and gives you good value for the money. 

–Reviewed by Ability Toolbox member Jacob Phillips

Serta Ergonomic Executive Office Motion Technology, Adjustable Mid Back Desk Chair with Lumbar Support, Black Bonded Leather

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Best Ergonomic Office Kneeling Chair: NYPOT

Kneeling chairs are an ergonomic form of seating that can be more comfortable for those with a sitting disability, as they don't put pressure on the back or tailbone. They also allow the user to rock back and forth, preventing stiffness and numbness from staying in the same position for too long. 

I use a kneeling chair because I'm neurodivergent and moving helps me think. If I sit still for too long, it hurts physically and mentally. If you're like me, you'll love a kneeling chair too!

–Reviewed by Ability Toolbox writer Olivia Jayne

NYPOT Ergonomic Kneeling Chair - Adjustable Rocking Knee Chair Posture Chair - Wooden Office Chair for Back Pain Relief - Desk Chair for Home Office Gift Woman - Grey Kneeling Stool and Angled Chair

$199.00
$189.99
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Looking for more office furniture like this? Check out our article on sensory chairs for people with autism, ADHD, and other neurodivergent conditions.

Best Gaming-Style Desk Chair for Chronic Pain: AutoFull C3

Last year I started working from home because of chronic fatigue related to MS (and because commuting 45 minutes to sit at a desk was a waste of time and gas — never settle for an office job that could be done from home!) After a month of using a cheap old office chair and my back killing me after a few hours of sitting, I knew I needed a new chair. I had a high-end gaming chair when I worked in an office, but the price to get my own was kinda steep. So after a few hours of research, I chose this one and I have no regrets!

After three months of daily use, it is just as comfortable and functional as the more expensive chair, and in some ways even better. My back pain is gone due to the excellent lumbar support, and the high back supports my head and neck, which greatly reduces my fatigue. It comes with a footrest, so when my workday is done, I can put my feet up and game or watch a movie. 

I highly recommend this chair, and it was worth the money!

–Reviewed by Ability Toolbox member Sam Stineman

AutoFull C3 Gaming Chair Office Chair PC Chair with Ergonomics Lumbar Support, Racing Style PU Leather High Back Adjustable Swivel Task Chair with Footrest (Grey)

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as of April 14, 2024 11:37 PM

More Ergonomic Gaming Chairs for Back Pain

Whether you're programming a new game or playing one, these gaming style ergonomic desk chairs our chronic pain community loves will help you stay pain-free for hours. 

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What Else Should People with Chronic Pain Do During the Workday?

People with chronic pain should also take frequent breaks and stretch their bodies. Breaks don’t necessarily have to be coffee breaks. Instead, you can switch between sitting and standing to help lessen pain in the lower back.

If you are physically able to do so, be active in the workplace by taking the stairs instead of using the elevator. Take a short walk during lunch hours to boost circulation and stretch the body.

In Summary

A standard office chair may lead to more problems for people with chronic pain because it doesn’t have the features you need for good posture, support, and comfort. But ergonomically designed office chairs have ergonomic features and adjustments that promote good posture, help with lower back pain, reduce neck pain, improve blood circulation, relieve hip pressure, and boost productivity.

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Coffee junkie. Spoonie. Writer about all things chronic illness and mental health. Friend of animals everywhere.

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