If your day involves lots of sitting, you can reduce your risk of back pain by using a lumbar pillow to support your lower back.
Lumbar support pillows are commonly recommended by backcare professionals, and several doctors have even gone on to design and produce their own range.
On this page, you’ll find information on the types of lumbar pillows available, as well as their features and how to choose one that is suitable for your needs.
Sitting and lower back pain
Sitting puts up to 40% more pressure on your back compared to standing. This compressive force rises to 90% when hunching forwards in your chair. Do this for hours at a time and you can see why your vertebrae would suffer!
Sitting upright significantly reduces the strain on your back, helping your muscles relax and heal at the same time. However, most people with lower back pain have difficulties sitting straight for long due to weak core muscles or poor posture, and end up finding themselves stuck in a never-ending cycle of pain.
Research is starting to show that lumbar support pillows not only help reduce pain but improve posture and comfort levels; this 2013 study sanctioned by the Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College demonstrates the effectiveness of lumbar pillows at helping bring the spine to a more neutral posture while sitting.
Factors to consider before choosing your back support pillow
When it comes to choosing a back support pillow, the main factors you should consider include its:
• Material – Back support pillows made from memory foam are among the most popular, and for good reason. They mold and fit to the shape of your back in response to pressure, and ensure that your body weight is evenly distributed. Pillows made of PET fibre or PU foam are good alternatives but I would generally avoid duck or goose down feather pillows – they tend to be too soft and flat to be effective.
• Shape – Your choice when it comes to shape mainly depends on where you intend to use the pillow.
- Flatter, wider surface area ensures that pressure is spread and your back is supported as evenly as possible.
- They fit most car seats and office chairs.
- More ‘aggressive’ support for when you feel there is a particular area of your back you need to address.
- Hits the spot – localizes pressure in a small area of the back.
- May not fit all car seats; some models tend to push the body too far forward so you lose contact with the car seat.
• Portability – If you plan on getting a single pillow, choose one that is light enough so you can easily bring it around for usage in the car, office etc. For those who travel a lot, inflatable lumbar pillows are great options – this one is self-inflating, well-made and hardly takes up any space or weight in the luggage.
• Maintenance – Removable covers that can be separately washed makes it easier to clean and maintain the appearance of your pillow over the long term.
Top 3 Best Lumbar Pillows For Office Chairs And Car Seats
Here are 3 of the best back support pillows for office chairs and car seats I can recommend, all of which have been approved or designed by qualified physical therapists and tested by myself:
All 3 back support pillows above are great for car seats and office chairs, but the SimplePosture Backguard is by far my favourite. It is in fact one of the first lumbar pillows I have used. Yet, it is one of the best of the lot and I would recommend it till this day.
I used to always hunch and slouch in my seat, not knowing how bad it was for my back. Eventually, lower back pain kicked in but by that time, it was too late. My weak core muscles and spine had already adapted to my poor posture. No matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t sit upright for long so naturally, I was always in pain.
Since I started using back support pillows (the flatter ones for my car and cylindrical ones for my office chair), my sitting posture has improved, the pain has all but disappeared and my back feels much better whenever I take a seat.
The good and the bad
The SimplePosture Backguard is made by SimplePosture, a company dedicated to creating products that help relieve back pain and promote healthy posture.
They are advised by Dr. Steve Young, DPT, a practicing kinesiologist, physical therapist, and back pain expert for over 16 years.
The Backguard is affordable (it was $25 when I got mine), and comes with a 90-day, no-questions-asked, 100% money-back guarantee so it is certainly a safe purchase. After all, if this doesn’t work well for your back pain, you could always return it.
The pillow itself is lightweight yet durable, and the breathable mesh material does well to prevent heat from building up (a problem commonly associated with memory foam). It is firm, dense and wide enough to fit my back, and seems to have the perfect shape to give me the support I need.
From all the reviews I’ve read, SimplePosture has a great reputation for the quality of its products and it’s probably why they’re confident enough to offer a reasonably long guarantee period.
Anyway, good luck, thanks for stopping by and if this article has helped you in any way at all, please give it a like or share it with your friends!