Desk chairs offer different levels of support, and the right chair will depend on your body and spinal health. The three most common grades of back support for office chairs include light, medium, and firm.
Office chairs with light lumbar support may feature a slight curvature in the mid-back and lumbar regions with a soft foam or a breathable mesh fabric backing. Chairs like this might gently remind you to sit upright, which is excellent for those with naturally good posture. But they're not ideal for those who struggle with poor posture.
Office chairs with medium support are comfy, and they'll support you with a more pronounced natural curve. They might feature a firmer lumbar back support to encourage awareness of slouching and poor posture, but the chair should still conform to your natural shape. If you sometimes struggle to maintain proper posture but can correct it quickly, medium support could be a good fit.
Office chairs with firm support help adjust you to improve your posture. For example, they might include a built-in memory foam lumbar support cushion or feature a firm, contoured back cushion.
In addition, the chair will likely feature a high back with lower, middle, and upper back support in a natural curve and possibly a headrest. Office chairs offering firm support can help you maintain good posture throughout the workday, especially if you struggle with poor posture.
Picking the Right Level of Support
There’s no right answer when picking a level of support, as different people will need and prefer different chairs. Note that your current posture habits are not the only thing to consider when picking a support level. Comfort is key. For example, if you never enjoy firm seat cushions or pillows, an office chair with medium support might be a better fit.
If you're experiencing back or neck pain, it's best to consult your healthcare provider, chiropractor, or orthopedist for specific advice on the right level of support for your spine.