Do you ever leave work at the end of the day rubbing your back or reaching for the painkillers? Do you have trouble sitting up straight, even when you try? Do you get tension headaches, and do your hips often bother you?
If any of this sounds familiar, you could benefit from a back cushion at work. Read on to learn more about these supports and how they can help you live your best pain-free life.
Why Do You Need a Back Cushion?
Before we dive into the best kind of back cushions to get, let’s talk some about why you need a back cushion in the first place.
Most office chairs, even the ones that are supposedly ergonomic, don’t provide the kind of support your body needs. Sitting down all day can place a strain on your body and, as we’ll talk about in a moment, that can have serious consequences.
A back cushion can help restore your body to the posture it was meant to be in. It can alleviate pain and make it easier for you to maintain good posture throughout the rest of your life. It can also reduce your risk for some health conditions, as we’ll discuss more later.
Importance of Good Posture
Most of us know that we should maintain good posture, but do you know why?
For one thing, good posture can be important when you’re interacting with people in a professional setting. But aside from the impression you make on the people you interact with, good posture can keep your body healthy and pain-free.
When you practice bad posture, it places strain on your back and hips, which can cause pain. You may begin to slouch even more to compensate for that pain, causing further strain. Over time, your muscles can weaken, making it impossible for you to sit up straight without experiencing pain.
Impact of Back Pain
Back pain is one of those things most of us don’t tend to take very seriously. After all, we all deal with aches and pains from time to time, right? But while that may be true of short-term back pain, chronic back pain can have much more serious consequences for your life.
If your back hurts all the time, you may start to avoid activities you used to love because they’re too painful. You might begin to withdraw from your friends and family, isolating yourself, and you may have trouble keeping up at work. Over time, this can increase your risk of anxiety, depression, and even suicidal thoughts.
Support Your Back Muscles
The right back support can help to support your muscles while they heal and strengthen so you can get your posture back on track. Right now, your muscles may not be strong enough to keep you in a proper position throughout your work day. Trying to force them into a better posture can cause more pain and strain.
A back support does some of the work of supporting you so your muscles can rest and recover. Then it keeps you in a proper posture while those muscles regain their strength. And the best back cushions will provide gentle support without shoving on your back and causing those muscles even more problems.
Maintain the Curves of Your Spine
Your spine is meant to have some natural curves in it, but often our office chairs don’t support those curves. There should be a slight curve out from your neck to your shoulders, and then your spine should dip back in for the curve of your low back. But often, our entire backs wind up in one big C shape as we slouch in our chairs or on the couch.
A good back support can help to restore the natural curves of your spine. A lumbar support, which we’ll discuss more later, sits in the curve of your low back and helps to keep your spine aligned. This can help to reduce strain on your vertebrae and make it easier for you to sit up straight.
Keep Your Hips in Position
It may sound odd to think that a back support would impact your hips, or that the position of your hips could affect your back health. But keeping your hips positioned properly can have a huge impact on reducing your back pain. When your hips are tilted too far forward or back, it tugs on your spine and causes problems.
By restoring your spine to its natural curvature, a back cushion gently tugs your hips back into place. This can reduce pressure on your low spine, as well as alleviating pain in your hips themselves. It’s also easier to sit up straight if your hips are positioned properly under you, making sure you’re ready for every professional encounter.
Support Your Neck
Our necks also tend to come under a lot of strain these days. You may find yourself craning forward to read something on your computer screen or tensing the muscles in your neck when you get stressed. And of course, when we slouch, our necks get shoved into awkward positions that place a lot of strain on our vertebrae there, causing pain.
When you get a back cushion, it can help to alleviate some of the pressure on your neck. By lifting your low back into a healthier position, it encourages you to keep your neck at a healthier angle. Lifting your computer monitor to an appropriate height can also help reduce strain on your neck.
Lumbar Support Cushion
One of the best back cushions to do everything we’ve talked about is a lumbar support cushion. These pillows are half-moon shaped and are designed to sit in the curve of your low back. They help to maintain that natural curve and support the muscles of your mid and low back.
A lumbar support cushion is a great option for a first back cushion for your workspace. Used properly, this can be the first step towards restoring your posture and keeping your back aligned. If you use it in combination with a seat cushion, a neck support, and a foot rest, your pain could disappear forever.
How to Use a Lumbar Support
It’s important to use a lumbar support anywhere you plan to sit for more than a few hours at a time. There’s no sense in practicing good posture at work and then going home and slouching on the couch and undoing it all. The same goes for the car, sporting events, and similar situations.
You’ll need to place your lumbar support cushion with the flat side against the back of your office chair. Most cushions come with a strap to secure it in place on your chair. You may need to adjust it some to get it in the right spot; your cushion should sit in the region between the bottom of your ribs and the top of your hips.
Combo Lumbar Support and Seat Cushion
One amazing back support option for your office is a combo lumbar support and seat cushion. These supports take care of your back and hips all in one go, keeping your posture as good as it can be. Your lumbar support will keep your spine aligned and your back supported while the seat cushion gently realigns your hips and reduces pressure on your tailbone.
You’ll need to place your seat cushion in the seat of your chair as far back as it will sit. If your seat cushion has a coccyx cutout, make sure that’s aligned at the back. Strap on your lumbar support, adjust things so your hips are at a 90-degree angle to the base of your spine, and experience what a truly comfortable workday can look like.
What to Look for in a Cushion
When you’re shopping for a back cushion, there are a few things you’ll want to look for. First of all, try to get a model with a removable, washable cover to make laundry easy. If you plan to get a combo lumbar support and seat cushion, make sure the seat cushion has a good no-slip base to keep it in place.
But most importantly, you should look for a back cushion made of memory foam. As we’ll discuss in a moment, memory foam has a variety of health benefits. But its unique molding capabilities can also help keep you comfortable all day.
What Is Memory Foam?
We’ve all heard of memory foam before, but what is it? Memory foam is a dense polymer foam that can be molded into almost any shape you need. You may hear it referred to as “viscoelastic foam,” but that’s just a fancy way of expressing its amazing ability to mold to your shape.
Memory foam has the remarkable capability to both give way under your weight (elastic) and maintain its shape enough to support you (visco). And even more remarkably, memory foam is designed to get softer as it warms up. This means that as it absorbs your body heat, it gives way under points of highest pressure without collapsing under you entirely.
Benefits of Memory Foam
There are a number of reasons the best back cushions on the market are made from memory foam. For one thing, memory foam helps to reduce pressure on your hips and tailbone thanks to its softening capabilities. This can be incredibly important for people with degenerative conditions like osteoporosis and arthritis.
Memory foam can also help to improve your blood circulation. Because it redistributes your weight evenly across your entire seat, it prevents blood vessels from getting compressed or closed off entirely. This can reduce your risk for deep vein thrombosis, a dangerous clotting disorder that can lead to a stroke or even a pulmonary embolism.
How to Clean Memory Foam
Even if you get a cushion with a removable cover, you’ll still need to wash your back support from time to time. Begin by running a sink or tub full of lukewarm – not hot – water and mixing in a little gentle laundry detergent. Immerse your pillow in the water, squeezing it to get it completely soaked.
Once your pillow is completely saturated, drain the sink or tub and run it full of cold, clean water. Rinse your pillow until the water runs clear and then roll it in a towel. Squeeze to remove as much excess water as possible, and then let your cushion dry for at least twenty-four hours.
Additional Support at Work
In addition to your back cushion, there are some other supports you may want to get to keep you healthy and comfortable at work. As we’ve mentioned, a seat cushion is a great option and is probably the second cushion you should get after your lumbar support. These two pillows alone can help reduce many of your aches and pains.
You might also want to look into getting a neck pillow to help support your head. These cushions cradle your upper spine, keep your head aligned properly over your neck, and relieve pressure on the muscles at the top of your back. And if you get a seat cushion, a footrest may be important to ensure your knees don’t take any additional strain.
Discover the Benefits of a Back Cushion
Having a back cushion at work can be a great way to alleviate your pain and discomfort. Look for a memory foam lumbar support that will restore the natural curves of your back and support the muscles there. A combo lumbar support seat cushion can provide an ideal support setup to keep your posture good and your days pain-free.
If you’d like to find more tools to live your most comfortable life, check out the rest of our site at Everlasting Comfort. We offer everything from memory foam pillows and cushions to essential oil diffusers and humidifiers.
Shop our collections today and discover what a pain-free life can look like for you.