You know how the story goes. In modern times, humans are spending more time than ever in the sitting position. Driving, eating, watching TV, gaming, working, all such things and many more are done in one chair or another. The sheer amount of time we are spending sedentary can have real consequences for our bodies. While chiropractors may be overjoyed and diving into their swimming pool full of cash for giggles, those who suffer from back pain are in no mood for celebration! In this article, we check out some of the best back cushions and lumbar support units for preventing the worst of the pains and aches.
General Thoughts on Back Lumbar Cushions for Office Chairs and Car Seats
What is an ergonomic backrest? An ergonomic backrest is specially designed for the human body. The backrest provides good support and sufficient freedom of movement for the user. For optimal comfort, we suggest choosing a memory foam product for your different postures and sitting positions. Each one of our bodies is unique. In addition, it is good to know that we are not made to sit, we want movement and variation. Therefore, a good ergonomic backrest is half the puzzle, you still want to get up and move around periodically.
One of the most common ailments of those spending too much time sitting is lower back pain. Neck pain, shoulder pain, and other areas of the back crop up occasionally but not nearly as often as the demons of the lower back. Slouching and bad posture can exacerbate these aches and pains. According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, about 80 percent of adults experience lower back pain at some point in their lifetimes.
Truth be told, one of the best things you can do for the aches and pains is exercise and/or stretching. But getting in that yoga routine every morning before dawn just isn’t a reality for most people. One of the best things you can do for your back is add some lumbar support to your chair. Even a rolled up towel is better than nothing when it comes to aiding the lower back. If you are already struggling with chronic back pain, you may want to consider a stiff back brace. We checked out a couple of the best back braces for posture and lower back pain in our top picks section below.
Movement itself is simply one of the best counters to inactivity. We strongly encourage our fellow gamers and desk jockeys to take short breaks every 20-30 minutes or so. Whether its getting a snack, going to the bathroom, or some vigorous jumping jacks while twisting and circling around your office chair — it’s all good. Even following this general rule of thumb, it is still very important to have the right chair and desk set up. This is doubly important if you work in an office environment and have a moderate amount of commuting each day, for example.
The evidence is mounting that a large proportion of all the “modern” neck and back problems are due too many sits and not enough walks. Unfortunately, our lifestyle requires us to sit — whether for work, class, or play. If there’s no avoiding it, we may as well do our best to make our desk and chairs as comfortable as possible.
Do Ergonomic Backrests Really Work?
In recent decades, a lot of research has been done into the effects of an unhealthy and healthy workplace. There have been a lot of interesting results and figures. Of course, a fairly predictable conclusion from many of these studies was: “A healthy workplace is better for both the employee and the employer.” As you get back on your chair, I will state some facts about having an ergonomic backrest.
Numerous companies went ahead and developed ergonomic programs for their staff. There are plenty of examples of companies that found at a earlier stage that a lot of profit could be achieved with better ergonomics. Below you can find a few.
Intel Case Study
Not unknown, at the end of last century concluded that the number of employee complaints and sickness was on the high side. A big company like Intel has the means for drastic measures, and took it. In a few years, there were divided among the many branches the company has occupied 28 full-time ergonomic experts.
The results – Although the company quadrupled in terms of number of employees over the years, they were able to reduce ergonomics-related absenteeism by 95%!
Collaboration OSHA (USA) & National Postal Mail Handlers Union & US Postal Service Case Study
In 2003, these three American companies decided to join forces for an ergonomic strategic partnership. This prompted them to strongly reduce physical complaints. An ergonomic risk reduction process was developed. Over 77,000 employees have now been trained. In addition, over 7,000 tasks were analyzed in recent years, making 3600 corrections.
The results – 38% less physical complaints have been reported since the partnership. This resulted in a saving of 1.8 million dollars on medical expenses. A saving of 39%.
Benefits of Back & Lumbar Support Cushions
There are several advantages to the use of the ergonomic desk chair. It’s not only healthier to work on an ergonomic desk chair, it also creates less stress. This prevents your workday from being regularly disturbed. A normal desk chair will also provide a lot of comfort, but it does not compromise the comfort that offers an ergonomic alternative. These are the most important benefits of utilizing a cushion for your chair.
- Prevents Slouching. Back cushions enforce good posture by physically preventing slouching. These little back enforcers limit the unnatural bending of the spine. Slouching can cause the lower part of the spin to bend outward, the opposite direction it should naturally be bending. Having your back or spine curve unnaturally for long periods of time is a big no-no. This can lead to pinched nerves, muscle tightness, and even vertebrae restructuring.
- Better Posture. You don’t just want to prevent slouching, you want to develop a healthy posture for the long haul. Maintaining good posture in the chair can help in your everyday standing and walking posture. Standing upright with head up and shoulders square gives you a confident, attractive appearance.
- Universal. Most back cushions can be used in a variety of seating, including car seats. That means you’re getting a lot out of that $20-30 you dropped. Take it on your roadtrips as well as all night hackathons. Oftentimes these cushions will have adjustable straps, which allows you to tighten it to any chair and prevents it from slipping around. Memory foam back cushions will conform to your body’s shape, support your spine and keep it in a neutral position, and if it has straps can be customized to the right position on your chair.
- Save Money. Hey, physical therapy and chiropractors are expensive! Chronic back pain is slow in developing and creeps up on you. Before you know it you’re walking around with a cane. Nip it in the bud before you start getting old and serious problems really start to crop up.
- Affordable. Relative to the alternatives, a back support cushion is mighty cheap. The cost isn’t prohibitive and even if you first get one you don’t like, you can try a different model until you find one that works for you and your chair.
- Portable. Back cushions are lightweight and easy to take with you. Whether you’re traveling or simply taking it in to the office with you, they aren’t troublesome to bring with you.
What You Should be Looking for When Buying an Ergonomic Backrest
An important function is the ability to adjust the backrest as you wish. It must be possible to adjust the following parts to the backrest:
- Height of the backrest: This allows you to find out the backrest that will support your lower back.
- Back tendencies: This feature allows you to sit in different positions while still maintaining good support for the lower back. You may also need to adjust this feature as you wish.
- Horizontal motion of the backrest: This function allows the backrest to shift horizontally from one side to the other so that the handrail can follow the upper body movements.
Our Top 9 List of the Best Back Cushions & Braces
Whether you are looking for the best back support for office chairs or car seats you have come to the right place. We’ve even included a couple of the best posture corrector braces in this list. While experimenting with a few models may be your best bet in finding the best product for you, we understand budget constraints may not make that possible. If back pain persists or worsens, we recommend consulting with your doctor.
Soothe your back with a quality memory foam cushion from Ziraki. This easily made our list of the best lumbar support cushion. This cushion was first designed for wheelchair users but it is an excellent solution for both car seats and office chairs. It features an adjustable strap as well as a carrying handle built into the side. Though it is not the most beautiful back rest, the quality of the memory foam for the price is very hard to beat.
Another memory foam cushion. Much like the Ziraki cushion it uses a quality and affordable memory foam material. The big difference here is the 3D mesh cover. This cover is extremely convenient, as you can remove it with a zipper and then machine wash and dry it. The mesh offers more ventilation than the microfiber material so sweat and moisture don’t become a problem.
Lovehome is so confident in their product they are a hassle free 60 day return policy.
If you’re willing to pay a bit more, this orthopedic back cushion is well worth the extra dollars. Our favorite part of this cushion is the dual adjustable straps. One of the biggest problems we have with back rests is them constantly slipping off center, which means constantly reaching back and readjusting them. This backrest side steps all that and offers robust stability with its dual strapping mechanism. Like the back cushion from Lovehome, this unit features a hypoallergenic 3D mesh cover which can simply be removed and machine washed when dirty.
This unique back support design from Fellowes is really clever. It is arguably the best back support for office chairs. Using a triple strap system or as Fellowes calls it the ‘tri-tachment system’, it stays put even if you get a case of the wiggles. The entire unit feels and looks extremely professional and the four memory foam zones conforms nicely to backs of all sizes. This two tiered support system features a mid spinal support module as well as a lower lumbar support module that conforms well to the natural curvature of the spine. The downside is it doesn’t fit every chair, so make sure to check out your chair’s dimensions before purchasing.
Along with office chair applications the OPTP Lumbar Roll is also considered one of the best lumbar supports for car use. This lumbar roll is approved for use in the McKenzie Method. This is a DIY treatment series by Robin McKenzie, a very influential figure in orthopedic physical therapy. Some chiropractors swear by the lumbar roll design. This design really pushes outward on the mid/lower back to enforce healthy posture. It may annoy some users, but if you can stick with it for a couple weeks it forces you into healthier habits.
The 100% polyester removable cover is easy to wash and does a good job at moisture wicking. The built in strap is universal and works on nearly all types of seating whether it be a car seat, airplane, or office chair. Another cool thing about this offering is that you can choose from firm density or standard density foam. All these factors contribute to making this roll one of the best lumbar support for office chairs.
A little larger than the other options that have made our list so far, this interesting looking contraption may be your spine’s next best friend. The ridges along the spine support contours nicely to the shape of the back and the ‘U’ at the top makes a good neck slot. Though it may seem lumbar support wise it is lacking, the base of this unit is actually 3″ inches thick. This ample support removes pressure on the points that matter. This back support also sports a removable cover for easy sanitizing and stain removal. This unit doubles as one of the best back supports for cars.
If you’re looking to go the back brace route, AidBrace’s Support Belt is hard to beat. It is a bit more spendy than your run of the mill back rest cushion but it provides extremely firm support to your lower back and even the abdomen and hip area. But for the money you’re getting one of the best back support belts out there.
This back brace has a removable cushioned lumbar pad insert which allows you to customize to your desired padding level. Many users with herniated discs and other spine issues swear by this design to help them get through their day. These factors combined with the removable back support cushion make this one of the best back support belts for lower back pain.
The beauty behind this back brace is the dual adjustable straps. This is one of the best posture correctors and best back braces all rolled into one. The BraceUP allows a custom fit that is comfortable, even underneath clothing. Getting the fit just right means minimal bunching and slipping.
Furthermore, the breathable mesh material and strap design allows optimal air flow, decreasing discomfort at every level. No need to worry about overheating or moisture buildup. Nevertheless, this is a very stiff back brace and after extended periods of time hotter temps may become an issue. BraceUP put together a holistic package that easily catapults this option to the front runners for the award of best back brace for lower back pain.
Could this odd looking contraption really be one of the best lumbar support cushions for office chairs? This unique and lightweight design offers a surprising amount of support. The ergonomic contour is designed to relieve pressure by 50%. Even better, this is an earth friendly product.
Employing polypropylene, silicon, and elastic rubber garnering it CE certification. This product is a wise choice if you run a bit on the hotter side body temp wise. Due to its breathable mesh design, once you get used to using it, you won’t even notice it has your back.