10 Best Orthopedic Cushions | March 2017
- matching lumbar support is available
- backed by a two-year warranty
- ideal for after-surgery use
- perfect balance of soft and firm
- can help with herniated disc pain
- hard to center in some chairs
|Model||Original Tush Cush Seat|
- waterproof inner fabric
- high-density memory foam padding
- adjust to your body's shape
- underside grips chairs
- retains its shape after repeated use
- ideal for wheelchairs and scooters
- gentle forward inclination
- built-in carrying handle
- folds in half for compact storage
- great for airplane seat use
- machine-washable velour cover
- improves circulation while sitting
- has a waterproof surface
- will never lose its loft
- rarely slides around on the seat
Your Spine Wasn't Made For Walking, But That's Just What It'll Do
If you take a good look at the human spine, one thing becomes abundantly clear: we haven't yet evolved to a completely comfortable bipedal stature.
Now, you might not believe in evolution. You might believe, instead, that whoever or whatever created you did the best they could with our backs and left us to sort out how to keep the pain therein to a minimum.
Whatever the reason, the lower back is where most people experience back pain, and is where orthopedic cushions come to the rescue.
Standing upright puts plenty of pressure on our spines as it is. Add the ridiculous amount of sedentary work that's besieged mankind since the industrial and technological revolutions, and anyone can see why we're in so much pain.
Exercise and yoga can only do so much if we're committed to staying seated. I know I sit on my rear for a solid eight hours every day. I write, I read, I watch – all for work. So, as I get a little older, these products start to seem more and more appealing.
When you sit on an orthopedic cushion, though, the contours realign the vertebrae of your lower back, which has a kind of ripple effect up the spine, improving posture and comfort.
A spine out of alignment from too much sitting around, especially in a poorly made chair or with bad posture, can result in anything from pulmonary irregularities to blood pressure problems, clotting issues, fatigue, weight gain, and more.
The good news is that it's a pretty simple fix. Just stick one of these cushions under your butt and voila!
Comfort Comes In A Few Sizes
If you took the cushions in our list and brought them to the public, had a blind seat test with as many people as you could, the evaluations wouldn't be quite fair.
That's because none of them will be especially comfortable right out of the box, at least not for all people. They each will require a certain amount of time to take on the shape of your backside before they really begin to do the job they're meant to do.
Another aspect of evaluation that a quick sit won't test is durability. Every orthopedic cushion in the world claims that it "won't flatten out like those other orthopedic cushions."
That's kind of a strange thing for every single cushion to claim, since that would imply that there is no orthopedic cushion in the world that will flatten out over time. It would be as though all airlines came out and declared that theirs are the only planes that don't drop out of the sky.
While, the odds of your plane going down are about one in 11 million, the odds of the average orthopedic cushion flattening out is, unfortunately, much higher.
So, how can you figure out which of these cushions is your destiny? Well, the easiest way to weed out a number of them would be to weigh yourself. Most of these cushions are only designed to consistently withstand 200-220 lbs. If you're on the cusp of that weight, you'd be better off picking from among the cushions with higher weight ratings.
If weight's not an issue, you might want to think about your experiences with memory foam or gels. Gels will take longer to form to your body, but they get more of the nuances right and tend to last longer. They also tend to be more expensive.
So, weight resistance, materials, and frankly, the look of these cushions can all be taken into account when making your choice.
The Cushion Creation
The cushion as we know it today evolved from the pillow, and the first pillows, dating back to c. 7000 BCE Mesopotamia, were made of stone.
Now, if that doesn't sound very comfortable to you, this is going to make you even more uneasy: they weren't initially made for the living. Stone pillows in Egypt were mostly for the mummies.
Over time, the living started to use them, as well, more for increased comfort while sleeping than anything else. As seats became more common, softer pillows, more like we think of today, were introduced.
The orthopedic cushion, however, didn't become a necessity until relatively recently, as our collective sedentary time increased exponentially with the explosion of industry, the service economy, and modern computer technology.
In the past couple of decades, in particular, these cushions have adopted the memory foams and gels made popular by mattress companies, and the results are rather comfortable.