Ergonomic Chairs for Neck Pain
If you’re looking for ergonomic chairs for bad backs, read this!
This short story below is totally, utterly fake.
So – two sullen looking guys walked into a bar, sat next to each other in front of the bar stand and barked orders at the bartender – who was busy flirting with an attractive white collar girl, presumably one of his colleagues – to bring them the single best house wine there was. The bartender offered them several options that were listed on the big, grand and fancily designed menu above on the granite wall, pointing out which specialties each one had and what their origins were. You know, generic bartending stuff. They looked up and – after a while of finger pointing – their faces slowly turning red and frowning, eyes squinting, bodies shaking, until one of them uttered:
“You’re literally a pain in the neck, young’un. Save my neck, zip it and get the best one”, as he wiped his nose and brushed the side ends of his hairline over the rims of the old man glasses.
The other guy nodded slightly – but not to him (or anyone for that matter) – gave the bar a panoramic look, patted his pal on the back, and said “take it easy”, then left immediately with a long sigh. After a few hours wandering about, he called his wife:
“Honey, I think we gotta get a good chair. My neck is killing me and I can’t bear being the town’s grimacer.”
“Don’t we already have lots of them?”, the wife questioned over the phone.
“Get me better ones then”, he answered.
“Better ones? Such as?”
“A chair that inspires me to sit with good posture.”
“Why all of a sudden?”
“I like wine, not whining. You should see the other guy, he can’t even choose wine for himself!”
Terrible punchline, over all unfunny and forced – but so is neck pain.
We’re at the start of of 2021 and I think most of us know that neck pain is a very real problem that many of us deal with. Especially with having to remain indoors to shelter from the evil that is Covid!
Chronic neck pain is similar to an infectious physical disease; you don’t even need to get into any kind of trauma to get it.
It’s a long, drawn out disease that slowly kills.
It sucks out what little is left of your working spirit.
Worse – It’s (pretty much) unavoidable
If you’re like me and working a desk job – an 8 hour a day sentence in front of a wrongly positioned screen is basically an early sentence to become Gollum from The Lord of the Rings.
How do you fix it?
Get a good chair.
A better chair, like Mr. Whatshisname in my super sucky short story wanted to save his neck, one that can do much more and slap you back into corrected sitting ergonomics. A good ergonomic chair.
What is a good ergonomic chair?
A good chair can mean many things. So on a chair shopping trip average Joe told plain Jane that he had his eyes set on this really good one at a stall they passed through, made out bamboo branches and chopsticks. Aesthetically sound, too, or at least to those that longed for an eastern dream. Jane decided to try it out, after eleven creaks and body turns to keep a stable and to show that she cared, she smartly asked if it was cheap, and if it was, they should buy it. Joe’s face turned bright as day, since he was usually the one who paid. So a good chair in Joe and Jane’s mind is one that is cheap and won’t create cracks in their financial stability. It also must pass the eye test, which is looking pretty enough.
A good chair can also be viewed from a technical standpoint, the level of quality of the things that make it, you know, a chair. There are a lot of factors that can instantly turn a chair from good to bad, for example a chair that has a good back support but poorly designed seating, which dulls its strong point since a back support, or backrest, is a very big part of the chair. Other components are required to function just as well in order to correct the users into a more natural posture.
Its stability is also another thing to consider, unless you want to be the physical comic relief to your colleagues by falling off your chair all day everyday, though I would say, what’s worse is hurting yourself in the process.
So yes, again, a lot of factors, but all similar. These days, the office furniture industry has become particularly competitive – so much that “innovation” looks more like copying each others ideas. And that point is the Ergonomics of it all. A good ergonomic product, not just a good ergonomic chair, will meet all of the customer’s demands of physical, mental comfort and more, through dedicated and intelligent designs that seriously take the users’ own interactive experience into account.
Stating the obvious, I’m not qualified enough to write a whole essay on general ergonomics of… products in general, so I’ll stop at chairs. Why chairs? Why ergonomic chairs, to be precise? Firstly, as I have previously implied, the line that separates good chairs from bad chairs is very thin, and all it takes is a customer being frustrated with its weakness and totally dismiss its strength, which is reasonable. But, frustrated as they are, most are too lazy to get a better one.
It’s just a chair after all, right?
As long as you can sit on it and it’s good enough to not break half way through while working —Wrong!
A badly designed seat will have you move your head forward and in front of your shoulders to see more clearly and work more effectively, this prolonged posture can put an immense stress on the vertebrae of the lower neck and contribute greatly to neck pain, one of (if not the most) common problem people face working office jobs. The money from your job might be good, but it requires a massive amount of it to get your neck back to functional capabilities once the pain is already full and established. Spend now, rather than later, or end up like Mr. Cranky in the story, getting pissed off with simple head turns. If you’re gonna sit for half a day working on other people’s problems, you might as well not drag neck pain and its fellows along for the ride.
Sitting is important, but not as important as good sitting, is my point. And the ergonomic chairs that help us achieve it more easily are worth discovering.
Key Chair Features to Provide Neck and Shoulder Support
The following table should provide you with a handy reference to aid you with identifying key features that any decent ergonomic chair should offer in providing good shoulder and neck support. I’ve started from the bottom up, to really get adequate back support you need good Lumbar support – the Lumbar Region is your lower back. Think of it as having a solid foundation to support the rest of the structure.
|Support Requirement||Chair Feature||What it Does||Feature Must Haves… and how Does it Help?|
|Lumbar Support||Adjustable Lumbar Support||Helps to maintain correct Spine curvature||An adjustable Ergonomic lumbar support is a must, having good back support will start with the Lumbar region of the lower back.|
|Shoulder Support||High Back +|
|Helps to maintain correct posture||The Chair back must be high, to offer support to the upper back and shoulders.|
Ideally it will have Ergonomic adjustment to optimally shape to your upper back and shoulders.
|Head and Neck Support||Ergonomic Head Rest|
Offers support to the Neck and shoulders
|The Head Rest must be adjustable. If it is not, is it truly Ergonomic? Adjustment will allow for the chair to support the contour of your neck perfectly.|
Do you know the average Human head weighs around 11lbs. Our necks need help!
Tips to Avoid Neck and Shoulder Pain
- Maintain Good Chair Posture – Don’t slouch!
- Ensure your peripheral devices (keyboard/mouse) are in easy reach.
- Ensure you monitors are just below eye level. Don’t lean forward!
- Ensure your chairs height is correct, so your elbows are height correct.
- Don’t sit there for too long – a limit of 30 minutes is recommended.
- Get yourself an Ergonomic chair if you don’t have one.
- Look at other ways to relieve neck pain.
10 Best Ergonomic Chairs for Neck Pain
As the title suggested, we’ve reached the good part, what we’re all here for, some of us after a really swift act of scrolling!
I will give you a summary of what was above: ergonomic chairs good, neck pain bad. I can’t promise you that using these 10 chairs below will save all of your 99 problems, but at least you will know neck pain won’t be one of them… Possibly purchase budget as well – since I included in the list all kinds of ergonomic chairs from low-end to high-end – to turn your frown upside down at the sight of the figures. If you are fortunate to be looking for something a bit further up the budget scale then, in case you missed it, maybe read this for high end ergonomic chairs!
Well, let’s dig in.
NOUHAUS Ergo3D Ergonomic Office Chair – Rolling Desk Chair with 4D Adjustable Armrest, 3D Lumbar Support and Blade Wheels, Mesh Computer Chair, Gaming Chairs, Executive Swivel Chair (Black)
We start off the list with one of the coolest looking ergonomic chairs – and I’m not exaggerating!
Available in a choice of four colors, the chair has a high mesh back to keep you from sweating like a pig while maintaining a proper posture, and it’s also designed in such a way that you won’t get lined marks on your back if you lean against it for too long either. Paddle control mechanism allows for some rangy angle adjustments, as well as lock, height (3.9” lift) and tilt adjustments for the seat and back, much needed for your comfort no matter your build.
Another thing this chair has over others is its durability, shown in its high quality Aluminum base and casters, or more like the wheels you stole from your kids scooter!
On top of its technical flavours, the chair sports a really modern artsy look to it, or should I say quirkily contemporary with curves and bends all over, so for the eye candy lovers out there you might want to have a check. The built-in headrest is adjustable up and down, and angles forward and backward, so one can say that it’s the firm and stable type which is most suitable for long hours of continuous work.
On the outside it’s extremely well designed, with a beautiful ispine-type curve shape like the rest of the chair that covers a larger area in the back of your head, which encourages its users to recline against it, get supported and ease off some pressure.
- Contemporary mesh high back
- Paddle control mechanism allows back angle adjustment, back tilt lock and seat hight adjustment
- A base that you could skate down a hill on!
- Mesh seat upholstery
Very similar to the Nouhaus Ergo3D chair, this offering from Duramont offers you a comparable amount of ergonomic adjustment and comfort.
It also comes with a high mesh back to keep you from sweating, but with a more padded seat. It has back tilt angle adjustments, as well as a pretty cool lumbar adjuster. This chair will mould for your comfort no matter your build and is a ‘smooth’ operator.
This is another durable chair, shown in its high quality Aluminum base and casters, nice and large to get over those rougher surfaces or thicker carpet.
Reviews for the chair have been predominantly positive, with reviews praising its durability; also its ease of assembly. There have been some negative reviews from non-US purchasers, but they are in the minority.
- Mesh high back
- Dial control Lumbar mechanism
- Another base that you could skate down a hill on!
- Upholstered seat
Humanscale Freedom Task Chair with Headrest | Graphite Frame, Corde 4 Black Fabric Seat | Height-Adjustable Duron Arms | Standard Foam Seat, Hard Casters, and 5″ Cylinder
We continue the list with one of the most famous ergonomic chairs, the Freedom by Humanscale. This Humanscale’s chair is one of those top end office chairs that is actually worth your money – if you’re rich enough to buy it of course.
Created by the famed and revered designer Niels Diffrient, it’s beautifully designed with high-end materials, especially in the back functions that can be vertically adjusted easily and freely (no puns intended) to accommodate most body heights and builds.
Its built-in lumbar support is firm while the entire backrest curves inward at the lower-back, providing great support for the neck. When you recline your head, it will still face forward, instead of upward like most chairs, due the headrest being designed to have an upright position always.
Thus, your whole head weight is supported when you’re trying to both relax in a back leaning position and still read or view something on a monitor. However, that’s not to say it can’t be adjusted to be slightly reclined to your likings either.
The gel armrests are creative additions and they recline with the back which helps keep your arms comfortable, however these can be adjusted as well if you want to rest your arms on level with the keyboard stand. As a whole, this is a true ergonomic chair that can be crafted and adjusted in any way to your needs. Its great recline features makes it a fantastic chair for those who don’t want (or is suffering) from back and neck pain. Again, top end, so expensive.
- Built-in, reclining mechanism
- Adjustable backrest
- Adjustable headrest
- Gel seat
This is another chair that is extremely adjustable, and the price is quite lax too, even compared to the average ergonomic chairs.
The contoured seat cushion is one of its strongest aspects, it’s made of premium fabric and feels nice to sit on, pillow-like yet firm, so your butt doesn’t fall into it, which prevents tailbone pain.
The multifunction mechanism makes the back angle adjustable relative to the seat, tilted or locked, coupled with the cool, breathable mesh makes for a satisfying experience leaning… back. The whole chair has a good height adjustment system that allows high limits, and it suits most individuals who are fairly shorter or taller than 6’.
This Alera Elusion chair comes with no headrests – however, one can be easily installed for about $20.
With the adjustable back angle, you could have your skull hitting the base of the top of the seat if needed, and thus the inclusion of a headrest will work beautifully to support your neck. The assembling is fairly easy too. As a whole, I would recommend this chair for almost anyone, from gamers to vloggers to office workers, just for the tasty price to adjustment level ratio.
It’s actually currently the chair I’m sitting on while writing this.
- Highly adjustable multifunction mechanism
- Cool high mesh back
- Ergonomic contoured seat cushion with premium fabric upholstery and waterfall edge
Very good ergonomic chair with decent price. Its built-in headrest can be adjusted nicely in any angle and height. With the pivot points behind allowing for some nice supports to the neck, reducing muscle pain around it, no matter if the headrest is reclined into a forward position or back slightly to your working needs.
With its sturdy carpet casters, this Staples office chair’s seat can support up to 250 pounds a full work day, with reclining resistance and adjustable lumbar support mechanism and armrests.
It gives a great leaning experience for both large and small built people, and even if you’re too tall or too short, the said awesome headrest can be adjusted or uninstalled entirely to accommodate. The technical mesh back creates a nice and cool airflow to combat the heat as well.
Easy to assemble, and a highly adjustable task chair, this Staples Hyken beauty is super comfy and as ergonomic as any – if not more! Perfect for “involuntarily” rebellious sleepers.
- Technical mesh breathable seat and back
- Adjustable height, tilt, tilt tension, arms, and lumbar support
Steelcase Leap Desk Chair with Headrest in Buzz2 Black Fabric – Highly Adjustable Arms – Black Frame and Base – Standard Carpet Casters
Unlike its best selling fabric chair counterpart, this one flies very low under the radar. But it’s more expensive, so it’s better.
Just kidding. It’s better for your neck, however. The former doesn’t necessarily have a bad neck support, just that this one is much better in that aspect, with the optional headrest and all that jazz. Along with the patented LiveBack technology, the chair gives us a very convenient system that allows the back of the chair to mimic the movements of our spine, and thus both correcting our postures and supporting our weights no matter if we’re leaning back or not, in turns preventing back pain. The armrests are highly adjustable and they telescope in and out, move both forward and backward, or up and down to our needs – very similar to the Freedom chair above, extremely suitable for office workaholics.
The seat depth and height (pneumatic) adjustment for this version of the Steelcase Leap is almost picture perfect.
With exceptionally wide range of adjustments, and well tried and tested weight limits, it can deliver full support for all body shapes and sizes, so you can get it to fit you even if it does look bigger or smaller than your body at first. Adding that to a fantastic, optional headrest that also has a wide range of adjustments (vertically up to 6’, and designed to stay upright with some recline resistance) your heads weight is supported at all times, and as a whole, your body is not at any time tempted to break out of the likened posture either.
A plus, the chair is really pretty too, expected of a high end ergonomic chair, satisfying both your mental and physical comfort.
- Live Back technology mimics movements of the spine
- High range of motion of recline and elevated leg positions
- Highly adjustable armrests
- 98% recyclable by weight and made of up to 30% recycled content
Herman Miller Aeron Task Chair: Highly Adjustable with Lumbar Support Pad – Fully Adjustable Vinyl Arms – Tilt Limiter – Standard Carpet Casters – Graphite Frame/Carbon Wave Pellicle
Finally, we’ve reached a Herman Miller Aeron, one of the most famous ergonomic brands for office chairs. Most ergonomic task chairs are pretty tough on your wallet, and this one is no different.
However, it’s worth your money (looking at you, rich dudes). The chair comes with 3 sizes, but that’s not to say it can’t fit body types larger or smaller than advertised. With the unique breathable Pellicle suspension embodied in a high, wide and contoured design, the back of the chair contains a system – similar to, but better technically than those of average mesh chairs – which allows dissipation of the body heat that builds up while you work, yet provides a very firm and stable support especially for your lower spine.
The front edge of the seat is designed to take pressure off your thighs, keeping the blood flowing and circulating, while the armrests slope slightly down in the back for a more comfortable support.
The lumbar support kit adjusts vertically to provide back support for a wide range of 4 inches, employing a natural curve onto your mid back and lower region, combating back pain.
The very unique patented tilt mechanism called Kinemat©, that comes with the chair, offers a smooth, tilt system that have all of your body, from neck to legs, recline and pivot in a natural posture all the time.
This is especially good for your neck, because the pressure is spread around and your head weight is partly supported by other components on the chair. As ergonomic as it gets.
- Patented Kinemat® tilt mechanism
- Unique breathable Pellicle suspension
- Waterfall front edge
- 94% recyclable
Office Star Multi Function Ergonomic Chair with Ratchet Back Height Adjustment and Adjustable Soft Padded Arms, Black
Back to lower priced ergonomic chairs, starting with this Office Star type. Office Star has a lot of terrific low-end chairs, but in my opinion this one is easily the best of them, mostly in the way it’s designed to give the most comfort to your backside. Highly adjustable, included in it a ratchet back height adjustment system that will give the best and most suitable reclining experience to your likings and body size, coupled with one touch pneumatic seat height adjustment systems, which allows you to release pressure off your thighs or – when you want to – just dangle your feet for fun while relaxing more easily.
The multi function control gives your body freedom of movement, while the contour moulded seat and back with built in lumbar support holds it in a corrected posture, and the padding is dense enough to last for long working hours each day for a long period of time, yet comfortable enough to tempt a nap mid-work.
The arm rests can be adjusted to a decent range to your working needs, with nice PU pads. I would say this is one of those classic ergonomic chairs intended to give your backside the best and most satisfying experience physically first and foremost. However, the chair being so good at that, your neck and especially the lower neck will gain from its focused initial strength as well.
- Contour molded seat and back with built in lumbar support
- Ratchet back height adjustment
- One touch pneumatic seat height adjustment
- Multi function control
SUNNOW Ergonomic Office Chair, Mesh Computer Desk Chair with Adjustable Lumbar Support, Armrest, Headrest – High Back Executive Task Chair for Office, Home, Gaming
Another ergonomic and contemporary looking chair with relatively decent price for the average internet lurkers.
SUNNOW is one of the better brands for higher mid-end ergonomic executive chairs, they have chairs with prices ranging around the 300s.
This one chair… It sits in the upper range, but is high quality for what it costs, especially in the aspect that suits the purpose of this article: neck support. It’s a highly adjustable one, with the seat and lumbar support ready to be adjusted in any direction and angle depending on your needs and body shape overall.
The recline mechanism and the padding for the backside and seat are so well combined that you can easily have a great time leaning back as it has a ‘Tilt’ function so you can lean the chair back (90~135°)
There are 3 angles for it that can be switched from one to another easily with a bit of pressure, allowing for much more flexibility.
The headrest is one the better features for this chair, if you’ve already gotten others to fit your body. It looks pretty stylish too!
It’s soft and has an impressively higher range of adjustments than your run of the mill headrests, and it also has a height lock system that gets you into sleeping mode more comfortably and not have your neck slipping down as time goes around your sleepy thoughts.
The armrests are a bit tricky and they require some adjustments in the assembling process to get it to your likings as the adjusting range for it isn’t as wide as other components.
- Extremely adjustable arms, lumbar support, seat
- Adjustable mesh headrest on back seat slider
- Adjustable seat depth lock mechanism
Another chair with… wait, no, we’re back with expensive chairs again. Well, ~$700 might be expensive for…those like me. But, it might just be well worth it for some, if not many. This Ergohuman type is up there as one of the most flexible in adjustability, with a total of eight ergonomic adjustments for maximum comfort all day ranging from terrific height adjustments with high limits to seat tension depth for better recline. All of the controls are so easy to reach and use, that you can figure out the best sitting position in less than a minute. Pneumatic cylinder raises and lowers the chair quickly to your needs, as quick as the windy air that travels through the mesh back to keep you cool and collected under deadlines.
The headrest is extremely comfy, however they can’t be adjusted forward and back, which is a big missed opportunity to raise the adjustment variety level. However, my advice would be positioning it to hit your neck just right, the padding around the top curves of the headrest feels nice and comfy enough that it can give you quite a bit comfort while also supporting your head whenever you lean back.
- Back angle adjustment
- Pneumatic cylinder
- Adjustable headrest, seat depth
- Contoured, height adjustable lumbar support
- Synchro-tilt mechanism
Take a look at the table below to help you with a more overall view of how they compare cost wise. As you will see there is a broad range to cover different budgets.
All details are pulled from Amazon and are up to date and accurate when viewed.
|Image||Title||Price||Prime||Check on Amazon|
|NOUHAUS Ergo3D Ergonomic Office Chair - Rolling Desk Chair with 3D Adjustable Armrest, 3D Lumbar Support and Blade Wheels - Mesh Computer Chair, Gaming Chairs, Executive Swivel Chair (Black)||Prime||Check on Amazon|
|Duramont Ergonomic Adjustable Office Chair with Lumbar Support and Rollerblade Wheels - High Back with Breathable Mesh - Thick Seat Cushion - Adjustable Head & Arm Rests, Seat Height - Reclines||Prime||Check on Amazon|
|Humanscale Freedom Task Chair with Headrest | Graphite Frame, Corde 4 Black Fabric Seat | Height-Adjustable Duron Arms | Standard Foam Seat, Hard Casters, and 5" Cylinder||Prime||Check on Amazon|
|Alera Elusion Series Mesh Mid-Back Multifunction Chair, Black||Prime||Check on Amazon|
|STAPLES Hyken Technical Task (Black, Sold as 1 Each) -Adjustable Breathable Mesh Material Provides Lumbar, arm and Head Support, Perfect Desk Chair for The Modern Office||Prime||Check on Amazon|
|Steelcase Leap Desk Chair with Headrest in Buzz2 Black Fabric - Highly Adjustable Arms - Black Frame and Base - Soft Dual Wheel Hard Floor Casters||Prime||Check on Amazon|
|Herman Miller Classic Aeron Chair - Fully Adjustable, Carpet Casters, Size B (Open Box)||Prime||Check on Amazon|
|Herman Miller Aeron Ergonomic Chair - Size C, Graphite||Prime||Check on Amazon|
|Office Star Mid Back Multi Function Chair with Seat Slider, Ratchet Back Height Adjustment and Adjustable PU Padded Arms||Prime||Check on Amazon|
|SUNNOW Ergonomic Office Chair, Mesh Computer Desk Chair with Adjustable Lumbar Support, Armrest, Headrest - High Back Executive Task Chair for Office, Home, Gaming||Prime||Check on Amazon|
|Ergohuman High Back Swivel Chair with Headrest, Black Mesh & Chrome Base||Prime||Check on Amazon|
|Herman Miller Embody Chair – Rhythm, Charcoal||Prime||Check on Amazon|
These are those chairs that could get into a top 10, but either didn’t quite make it, or have dropped out of the top 10 as newer models enter the fold. Like old father time, we have to keep moving!
Another Herman Miller chair to close up the list. I feel like this not being in a best of list is tragedy in and of itself, because the Embody chair is just simply one of – if not the best – ergonomic chair there is.
Designed by Bill Stumpf, the original creator for the Aeron chair, the award winning Embody is a highly adjustable chair with up to six ergonomic features that have you 24/7 in a recommended correct posture, that was taken into account seriously by scientists and engineers during the producing process, and is most famous for preventing and reducing back pain.
The amazing patented BackFit adjustment system positions the backrest in line with your spine’s natural curve, it expands and contracts independently of the base which is something not many ergonomic chairs have. It’s made so that when you move in the chair your head remains properly aligned to your computer display, and this is especially good for your neck as well since you don’t need to adjust too much to get a working recline and have your head weight supported along with your back. As a plus to being absolutely brilliant, it also looks cool as hell!
The tilt technology of the chair provides great support to your thighs, sitting bones and thorax, with the back and seat embodied in skin-like textile covering, which allows air to circulate and keep you cool no matter how long you sit. You’ve got a perfect cocktail of ergonomics.
The armrests are other brilliant features the Embody chair has. They have a wide range of upward and downward adjustments and the controls are easy to reach, which is a strong point. The height adjustment is flexible to the max and can be tweaked to fit any human build. The durability of the chair is unquestionable, made from more than up to par high-end materials that can withstand not only kids’ chaos, but also the test of time itself. The design also allows for a swift cleaning and the chair doesn’t easily get dusty.
I would say its only disadvantage is that it’s worth around $1500, but for those who’s willing to spend (eye contact, rich dudes, eye contact) it’s simply one of the very best purchase decisions you will have ever made. It’s such an effortlessly supportive chair with an advanced recline system and an amazingly beautiful design that you would feel like you’re sitting on a rainbow with unicorn neighs in hearing distance. Suddenly working doesn’t feel as bored.
Of course, for such an expensive chair – and as a code for any expensive chair – try it on first to see if you’ve got package for rainbows and unicorns or just the rainbows.
- Cool skin-like textile
- 95% recyclable
- Backfit™ adjustment positions the spine in a natural curve
- Tilt technology provides great support
- Great initial designs allow for less adjustment needs
That’s about it.
Thanks for reaching this point by the way, that requires some serious scrolling which I in no way expected. Nothing left to see here… I guess? Except maybe this one, if you want to review higher end ergonomic chairs?
Well, either way, leave a comment below to let me know which of the 10 ergonomic chairs above is your favorite and tell me in soft soothing tones about your neck pain troubles.