10 Best Office Chair Alternatives for Lower Back Pain

Technology and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic have forced us to work from home, making many searches for the best office chairs providing utmost comfort.

Sitting for long periods can put pressure on your lower back affecting the ligaments, muscles, and spinal disc, inducing pain and discomfort. 

Personally speaking, I enjoy working from home, but I tend to disregard my bad posture, and the lack of exercise like most of us do.

Many ergonomic offices chair alternatives help you maintain a neutral position without overworking or underworking your muscles which include the kneeling chair, saddle stool, and reclining chair, to name a few.  

Bad posture while working
A person slouching (Source: Unsplash)

This leads us to many questions such as:  What can I change to reduce back pain? Are there office chairs that fit my lifestyle?

What are the best desk setups to invest in? Then how do I work without sitting?

Best Sitting Position for Lower Back Pain

Before looking through various chair options, we must focus on our posture and the overall setup. Having good posture along with an adequate workspace increases comfort while working.

  • Firstly, we must sit by keeping our knees bent at a right angle. In particular, a footrest or stool can help achieve this. We must not cross our legs, and our feet must be flat on the floor.
  • Using back support at the curve of your spine can enhance better posture for a longer time.
  • Then, make sure to rest your arms on your desk or armrest to reduce pressure on the spine.
  • You can even install an app on your device that will remind you not to slouch every few hours. 

We can already feel the difference by maintaining this primary sitting position. Without the basics down, you may not achieve the expected results no matter which chair you choose to work from. 

Best Office Chair Alternatives for Lower Back Pain

Here, I have gathered together the ten best alternatives that your back will thank you for looking into.

Office Chair AlternativesAdvantages
Kneeling chairDistributes body weight evenly
Exercise ball chairDoubles as an exercise ball and an office chair
Reclining chair with laptop standRelaxing position with head rest, arm rest and foot rest.
Saddle stoolHelps strengthen back muscles
Wobble StoolImproves blood circulation in the body
Swooper stoolHelps reduce fatigue in the back muscles
Treadmill deskHelps Improve heart health and reach recommended daily step count
Cycling deskGreat cardio alongside work
Floor deskImproves core strength and stability
Convertible standing deskAdjustable sitting or standing position

1. Kneeling Chair

The kneeling chair is designed with a padded seat for you to rest your knee and shin. Above all, it relieves your lower back from stress as you put pressure on your knees.

In addition, this position maintains a healthy posture for long-term sitting habits.

Kneeling Chair
Kneeling Chair (Source: Amazon) 

Pros of Using a Kneeling Chair

  • Compared to a regular office chair, it helps to maintain the natural curve of your lower back.
  • Kneeling chairs are designed for people with full-time jobs requiring a lot of sitting as it equally distributes your weight, reducing stress in the back.
  • Your blood flows better with an upright spinal column, making you feel more energetic to work.
  • It compels you to sit in a modified kneeling position so your shoulder, lower back, and neck remain straight by sliding the hips slightly forward, encouraging good posture.

Cons of Using a Kneeling Chair

  • It can be challenging to get up and sit down.
  • It restricts the movement of our legs which can get uncomfortable.
  • Due to the limited space, it might not be suitable for taller people.

Here are some of the best kneeling chairs for you;

Best Kneeling ChairsFeaturesProduct Image
Flash Furniture Mobile Wooden Kneeling Office ChairHeight adjustable
Firm supportive padded seat and knee rests
Flash Furniture Mobile Wooden Ergonomic Kneeling Office Chair
Gaiam Ergonomic Kneeling ChairAdjustable base with casters
Padded seat and knee rest
Gaiam Ergonomic Kneeling Chair
Master Massage Ergonomic Steel Kneeling ChairEasy movable with universal wheels,
Light Weight for carrying around
Master Massage Ergonomic Steel Kneeling Chair

2. Exercise Ball Chair

 The exercise ball chair is one of the quirky but functional ergonomic chairs. It’s a fun way to finish your work while also engaging your core muscles.

For this, the size of the ball depends on your height and the length of your legs.

Height of a personSize of Exercise Ball
5 feet45 cm ball
5 - 5.5 feet 55 cm
5.5 - 6 feet65 cm
Over 6 feet75 cm
Over 6.8 feet 85 cm (might be difficult to find)
Sitting on Exercise Ball at Work
Sitting on an exercise ball at work may help with your body posture. (Source: Amazon)

You can buy this Exercise Ball on Amazon.

Pros of Using Exercise Ball Chair

  • The minor arrangements you make throughout the day to balance the exercise ball chair aids in simple core exercises without realizing it.
  • In addition, this chair helps you to prevent slouching as it does not have a backrest and can break that bad habit.
  • This ball encourages “active sitting,” which involves slight bouncing movement of the legs that improve circulation in the body. 
  • It might be available in all sizes as per your needs.

Cons of Using Exercise Ball Chair

  • Since it is technically a moving object, you might topple over if you don’t maintain your balance.
  • It can drain our energy and result in difficulty concentrating on the work at hand.
  • Prolonged use of exercise ball chairs can cause pain in the lower body.

Read more: How to Sit on Exercise Ball at Work?

3. Reclining Chair with Laptop Stand

With the comfort of both relaxing and working, the reclining chair with a headrest, armrest, and footrest will provide you the best experience.

Even though it doesn’t offer the same comfort as in a bed, Research on Ergonomics suggests that the reclined position allows better sleep quality than other office chairs’ upright position.

This means it’s one step ahead of regular office chairs if you want to get a quick power nap on long days.

Pros of Using Reclining Chair

  • The laptop stands along the armrest and can provide a stable position for typing and work.
  • According to your need, you can attach a small swivel table with it as well.
  • There will be no need for slumping, which provides a much-needed rest for the lower back while you work all day sitting. 

Cons of Using Reclining Chair

  • It can be a costly purchase for an office chair.
  • This chair is heavy and is difficult to transport if needed.
  • They are pretty big and may not be suitable for a small space.
Reclining office chair
Comfortable Reclining Office Chair (Source: Amazon)

You can buy this amazing Reclining Chair at Amazon.

Read more: Should your feet hang over the recliner?

4. Saddle Stool

 As the name suggests, the saddle stool looks like a horse’s saddle and puts you in a similar position between standing and sitting, improving mobility and flexibility.

Saddle stools have gained massive popularity among people who need to move around quickly while they work, such as healthcare clinics and hairdressing salons.

Saddle stool
Sitting on the saddle stool may help with the posture. (Source: Amazon)

Pros of Using a Saddle Stool

  • For long hours in the office, it provides good engagement of the back and core, which eliminates discomfort.
  • This chair has been designed to improve blood circulation in the body and eliminate the slouching problem.
  • It provides a comfortable position with naturally placed legs widened at each side of the saddle chair.

Cons of Using a Saddle Stool

  • Some people go through soreness where their bones meet the saddle before they get used to saddle stools.
  • It might be challenging to sit on for people with stiff hip joints.
  • You may feel fatigued initially as the postural muscles haven’t toned up yet.

Here are some best ergonomic stools for you.

Best Ergonomic StoolFeaturesProduct Image
Gaiam Balance Ball Chair StoolBalance ball stool encourages active sitting.

Stable 360-degree swivel base allows for easy and free movement.
Boss Office Products Be Well Medical Spa StoolSix-inch height adjustment range from 20.5 to 26.5 inches.

Dual wheel casters allow for easy movement.
Adjustable Height Active Learning Stool Height adjusts from 18.5 to 28”.

Lightweight design for easy mobility and storage.
Flash Furniture Black Ergonomic StoolHeight adjustment from 17.5 to 21.5”.

Comes with a foot ring for added comfort.
Related article: Stool Vs. Chair: Which one is better for your posture?

5. Wobble Stool

Wobble stools are moveable, meaning they can have motion of left, right, forward and backward. This stool is highly comfortable and can be adjusted as per need.

Pros of Using Wobble Stool

  • The usual flow of blood circulation while working on this chair helps lower blood pressure and decrease mental fatigue.
  • It provides good neck alignment and posture.
  •  It helps in the rehabilitation and strengthening of the spine.

Cons of Using Wobble Stool

  • They do not have back support, and the balance of the stool relies on the person sitting, which means that there is a constant need to adjust the position to stay neutral.
  • Without proper balance on this chair, one might feel uncomfortable.
  • It doesn’t have back support, so people might slouch with prolonged sitting.
  • The constant wobble can be distracting.
Wobble Stool
Wobble stool helps to promote active sitting. (Source: Amazon)

You can buy this Wobble Stool at Amazon.

6. Swopper Stool

The swopper stool creates small bounce waves as one sits on it. This makes the stool highly comfortable and fun as well.

Pros of Using Swopper Stool

  • While sitting for long periods of time can reduce fatigue.
  • It adds a little bit of fun each time you bounce on it during work.
  • There will be more freedom on the hips and lower back which can aid sufferers of back pain and poor posture.
  • This stool helps to relieve neck tension.

Cons of Using Swopper Stool

  • Good quality swooper stools can get pricey.
  • The seat might feel a bit too firm for some people.
  • If you try to swing it beyond its capacity, it might break.
Swopper stool
Swopper Stool (Source: Amazon)

7. Treadmill desk

Going along with the theme of office desks doubling as exercising equipment, the treadmill desk might be most heavily inclined with a piece of gym equipment.

Pros of Using Treadmill Desk

  • This desk might be most suitable for workaholics who can’t seem to fit a workout into their daily schedules.
  • The treadmill desk will help you raise your heartbeat to relieve stress, lower blood pressure, and improve heart health.
  • You will be able to reach the ten thousand daily steps recommended by doctors and physicians.
  • If you already have a treadmill, you can buy a desk attachment for it as well. 

Cons of Using Treadmill Desk

  • This particular desk takes up a lot of space, so it is unsuitable for a small space.
  • The constant standing can induce pain for some people.
  • It is more applicable for days when you can’t seem to find time for a workout rather than for daily use.
  • Some treadmills make loud sounds that might not be appealing in a work environment.
Treadmill desk
Treadmill desk (Source: Amazon)

Buy the treadmill and the desk attachment on Amazon.

8. Cycling Desk

This cycling desk is the best choice if you want to crank it up another notch from the standing desk. In addition, you can lose even more calories on this one.

Due to the recent COVID-19 pandemic, with most people working from home, you won’t even need to worry about looking silly in the office while you work on this desk.

Pros of Using a Cycling Desk

  • You can get your cardio done alongside typing on your computer and cut some time off the gym.
  • It is more low-impact equipment than the treadmill desk and is suitable for people with back pain.
  • This desk can improve heart health as well as your flexibility.

Cons of Using a Cycling Desk

  • The position of the legs might not be restful when you are not using the pedals.
  • It is more on the expensive side.
  • More of the lower body is active, and the upper body may not get good movement.
Cycling Desk
Cycling desk (Source: amazon)

Buy this cycling desk at Amazon.

9. Floor Desk

Some people might like to sit on the floor rather than on a chair. In some cultures, sitting on the floor is customary, making a few people lean toward the floor desk option as they are more habituated to it.

Pros of Using a Floor Desk

  • It helps to maintain and strengthen your natural core stability.
  • You can adjust it on your bed when you are working from home or want to stay in a cozy place.
  • Your muscles stay active and stretched when you sit on the floor, increasing your flexibility and mobility.

Cons of Using a Floor Desk

  • While sitting for extended periods of time, more stress lies on the lower half of the body, inducing pain.
  • People who are not habituated to sit on the floor might find the space to be cramped.
  • If you do not take proper breaks to stand up, lower body parts receive poor circulation, and numbness.

Here are some best floor desk for you;

Floor DeskFeaturesImage
Laptop Desk, Astoryou Portable Foldable floor desk
Weight: 5.3 lbs
Foldable wood and metal floor desk
Japanese Accent Floor DeskTraditional/Non-foldable floor desk
One to four person use
Japanese Accent Floor Desk
NEARPOW Leather floor deskFoldable floor desk
Weight: ‎9.53 pounds
NEARPOW Leather floor desk
WoodShine Mid Century Modern Mini-SwingTraditional/ Non-foldable floor desk
Weight: 14.42 lbs
WoodShine Mid Century Modern Mini-Swing
NNEWVANTE BambooFoldable floor desk
Weight: 6.95 lbs
 NNEWVANTE Bamboo
Cooper Mega TableFoldable floor desk
Weight: 6.8 lbs
Cooper Mega Table

If you are interested in learning more about floor desks, we have you covered on: Are Floor Desks Ergonomic?

10. Convertible Standing Desk

Standing helps you engage your core and support a better posture which is best for your spinal health.

The standing desk level can be maintained so that the arm resting on the desk can have a 90-degree bend and your device is at your eye level.

Pros of a Convertible Standing Desk

  • Convertible Standing Desk is the most accurate ergonomic design for the health of your spine. In addition, you can add a mat underneath your foot for added cushion.
  • One of the easiest ways to lose weight as well as get your work done.
  • The standing desk is convertible, so you can gradually rank up your standing time without losing your comfort.
  • It can be converted into a sitting or standing desk as per your need. 

Cons of a Convertible Standing Desk

  • You might also need to invest in comfortable footwear to use this desk.
  • Using a laptop on this desk can induce lousy posture as you can start to lean forward to reach the device.
  • Once you have adjusted this desk to a standing position, it isn’t easy to readjust it if you want to sit down.
Standing Desk
Standing Desk (Source: Amazon)

You can buy this Convertible Standing Desk at Amazon.

You may be interested in reading; What size standing desk should I get?

Now that we have breezed through numerous chairs and desks, the following video can further broaden your understanding.

Watch the video to find out more about other office chair alternatives.

Final Takeaway

Choosing an ergonomic desk or chair could significantly affect the pressure and tension one might put on their lower back.

By incorporating good chairs and stools, there is a guaranteed increase in productive work and a decrease in chronic pain.

I hope that you have considered the chair that fits the best for your lifestyle and working environment.

Regardless of the options mentioned above, it is only given that you should take regular breaks to avoid burnout.

Also, take time out of your work frequently to prevent eye strain, encourage mental freshness and decrease fatigue throughout the day.

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