The 10 Best Lumbar Supports
This wiki has been updated 33 times since it was first published in July of 2015. Any office worker, long-distance driver, or airplane traveler will tell you that the design of most seating is dreadful for the back. If you have to work all day while sitting down or are looking for a comfortable cushion for a long trip by road or air, check out our selection of lumbar supports and pillows that promote proper posture and may relieve regular back pain. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.
June 29, 2020:
To fit bodies of various shapes and sizes, we've selected a range of lumbar supports that run from big to small; but when it comes to quality for a wallet-friendly price, it remains tough to top the Everlasting Comfort Pure and the Lovehome Memory Foam. Offered in a range of colors, these memory foam cushions have straps to keep them in place and a mesh cover that allows for breathability. But if this type of cushion doesn't keep you cool enough, consider the Kingphenix Mesh, instead. It gives you the support you need, but without the heat. It provides a degree of adjustability, too, so it is comfortable for a range of users.
Although the aforementioned provide good support, if you need something a little beefier, check out the Qutool Large or the ObusForme Lowback. They help make the back of just about any chair softer and more supportive, although the latter is something of an investment. There's also the Fellowes Professional. It's good for your posture, but isn't compatible with all office chairs, unfortunately. For those who are frequently out of the office, but still need support, we added the Therm-a-Rest Travel. An inflatable travel pillow, it is portable and lightweight, but it may begin to leak over time, so you should plan to treat it with care.
TheWoolland Bolster TheWoolland Bolster doesn't have harsh man-made chemicals and fabrics; instead, you'll find charming wool paired with cotton for a natural appeal. Each measures 17 inches long and is sized for supporting your back or neck, whether you're sitting up or reclining. thewoolland.com
The Hip Cradling Cushion by Hammacher Schlemmer Whether you place it in your desk chair or car seat, The Hip Cradling Cushion by Hammacher Schlemmer offers all the support you'd expect from its name. A memory foam option, it softly conforms to your body's contours but is a little hard on the wallet. hammacher.com
Sleep Number Lumbar Pillow The Sleep Number Lumbar Pillow is a simple but well-made cushion that was created for the comfort of your mid to lower back. Along with providing support, it is attractive thanks to a soft microfiber cover in a handsome pewter color. sleepnumber.com
The Importance Of Lumbar Support
Partially resulting from poor lumbar support, chronic back pain prevalence increases from the third decade of life onward.
Proper lumbar support while seated is important to keeping the back healthy and strong. This is especially important in an office setting where workers are required to spend many hours on end working from a chair. Sitting in a chair that doesn't offer adequate back support can put a large amount of stress on the lower back. This stress leads to high rates of lower back pain. Partially resulting from poor lumbar support, chronic back pain prevalence increases from the third decade of life onward. Lower back pain is responsible for high treatment costs, extra sick leave, and a lower quality of life.
There is no doubt that prolonged sitting and flexed spinal curvature contribute to the development of chronic low back pain. Using lumbar supports may help correct the seated posture and increase comfort levels after long working hours. A study recently investigated whether lumbar supports were more effective than standard chairs in promoting neutral spine posture. The researchers also considered participants' subjective feelings about the support to be an important factor. The study concluded that a lumbar support pillow improved both the objective and subjective measures of comfort in healthy individuals and patients with lower back pain. Lumbar flattening was decreased while correct curvature of the spine was increased. Patients said they felt less pain when using lumbar pillows than when simply sitting in a chair.
Lumbar support is important for everyone, not simply patients with lower back pain. The five vertebrae which make up the lumbar region of the spine are the biggest and strongest movable parts of the spine. They are also the parts of the spine most prone to injury. Incorrect lifting or improper stretching can easily result in sprains or strains in the lower back. Injuries also occur due to accidents, sports injuries, overexertion, or twisting the body while lifting. A strong lumbar spine is less prone to injury. Therefore, Lumbar supports can be seen as necessary preventative measures to avoid back injuries.
Who Benefits From Lumbar Support?
Lumbar support is generally accomplished by supporting the skeletal structure and muscles of the lower back while seated. As such, people who are required to sit for long hours in the day may benefit most from lumbar supports. This is a large part of the population, who are already at risk due to the inherent dangers of sitting. Long periods of sedentary behavior have been linked to compromised metabolic health. Over a lifelong span, sedentary behaviors increase the risk of cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, and a premature rate of death. The human body simply isn't designed for long periods of sitting, which is what makes lumbar support so important in the office.
Over a lifelong span, sedentary behaviors increase the risk of cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, and a premature rate of death.
The average American worker sits more than seven hours a day at work alone. However, everything from driving the car, sitting on the couch, going to the movie theater, and even eating dinner all require a person to sit much more than they ideally should. All of these sitting activities can be used to strengthen the lumbar spine rather than weaken it, through the use of a lumbar support.
The use of a lumbar support is not limited to office workers. Teachers and professors can enjoy the relief offered by lumbar supports as well. Many teachers remain in their classrooms for long hours on end, enjoying only small breaks. These limitations are compounded by having poor sitting posture. Realistically, anyone who sits for any extended period of time should use lumbar supports. They are a quick and effective way to easily strengthen the spine and prevent injury and chronic pain.
Engaging The Core To Reduce Lower Back Pain
In addition to using a lumbar support whenever seated, strengthening the core muscles is key to increasing lower back strength and reducing chronic pain. Multiple studies have pointed out the necessity for humans to exercise. Regular exercises reduce heart rate and blood pressure, lower cholesterol, boost mood, and reduce levels of stress and anxiety. In addition to regular aerobic exercise, engaging the core of the body can protect the back from injury.
After six weeks of regular treatment, all patients experienced degrees of rehabilitation.
A recent study is even suggesting that core exercises can rehabilitate all chronic low back, regardless of how long the patients have had that pain. Researchers engaged chronic back pain sufferers in exercises for six weeks. The various exercises worked out the core muscle group and gluteus maximus, while stretching the lumbar spine. After six weeks of regular treatment, all patients experienced degrees of rehabilitation. Patients had restored function, pain free range of motion, and full muscle strength and endurance.
You do not have to wait for the chronic pain to begin treating it. There are various core workouts which meet all successful strengthening criteria. Any successful exercise routine will engage the deep core. Aside from doing some simple sit-ups to engage the abdominals, core exercise also requires engaging the gluteus maximus, pelvic floor muscles, obliques, and latissimus dorsi, to simply name a few. If these muscles are not being worked out, the core is not properly strengthened. A weak core is one of the leading causes of chronic back pain, as the core muscles are directly related with the muscles of the lower back.