Do you ever find at the end of a long day that your back is aching and sore? Do you catch yourself slouching at your desk or arguing with the lumbar “support” on your office chair? Do your neck and shoulders feel tight when you get ready to head home from the office?
If any of this sounds familiar, you aren’t getting the support you need from your office chair. Read on to discover the best back support system to make your aches and pains vanish.
Why Do You Need Back Support?
Before we dive into all the different types of back support you can get for your office, let’s talk some about why it’s important. Most of us practice bad posture, which, as we’ll discuss more in a moment, can have a serious impact on your life. Proper back support can help you maintain good posture throughout your workday.
Many standard-issue office chairs don’t come with the kind of support you need. Even if your chair does have some sort of supposedly ergonomic features, those cushions won’t conform to your shape. A good memory foam back support can give you comfort and care the way you need it.
Importance of Good Posture
We all have a vague idea that we’re supposed to practice good posture, but do you know why your posture matters? For one thing, good posture can impact people’s impressions of you, especially in business settings. But aside from that, good posture can make a huge difference in whether you live with back pain every day.
When you use bad posture, you place strain on your back and joints, which causes them to hurt. You may begin to use worse posture to compensate for that pain, trapping you in a vicious cycle. Over time, your muscles can weaken so that it’s impossible for you to practice good posture without pain.
Impact of Back and Joint Pain
On the surface of it, back and joint pain may not seem like a huge deal; after all, all of us hurt from time to time, right? And occasional back or joint pain may be manageable with safe painkiller use and rest. But chronic pain is a different story and can impact almost every area of your life.
When your back or joints hurt, you may not feel like going out and doing activities you once loved. You may begin to withdraw from your friends and family, and you may have difficulty keeping up at work. This isolation and stress can leave you at higher risk for anxiety and depression or even suicide.
Proper Office Chair Posture
So if it’s so important to practice good posture, how should you be sitting in your office chair? In general, you want to maintain the natural lines of your body as much as possible. For one thing, if you work at a computer, your monitor should be at eye level and about an arm’s length away from your face.
When you sit in your office chair, your feet should be flat on the floor, and your knees should be at about the same level as your hips. Your back should be straight and should maintain its natural curves, and your shoulders should be down and relaxed. Your wrists should be flat, and your elbows should be at a 90-degree angle.
The first piece of your office back support setup you should focus on is your footrest. Yes, you heard us right; a footrest can actually do a lot to help ease back pain, especially in your lumbar region. When your feet aren’t at the right height, it can pull on your hips and knees, tugging them out of alignment and placing more strain on your low back.
Your feet should be able to sit comfortably on a flat or slightly slanted surface. They should be at a height such that your knees are at roughly the same level as your hips. Keep in mind that if you get a seat cushion for your chair, it may change the height you need on your footrest.
Moving upwards, the next item on your office back support setup should be a seat cushion. The right seat cushion can gently tug your hips into proper alignment, restoring the natural curve of your spine. It can also remove pressure from your tailbone, giving it time to heal from any injuries or strains.
You can find basic seat cushions that are u-shaped and have a ridge in the middle to help separate your legs. This can provide some extra support for your knees and hips to alleviate any joint pain you may be experiencing. Some cushions even have a special coccyx cutout to remove any pressure from your tailbone.
After you get a good seat cushion in place, you should turn your attention to a good lumbar support cushion. Lumbar support cushions sit in the curve of your low back and help to support your spine and the surrounding muscles in that region. Oftentimes, this is one of the areas that experiences the highest strain, so it’s important to make sure your low back is getting plenty of support.
A good lumbar support pillow may have straps to help hold it in place on your office chair. It will be slightly curved to accommodate the natural curve of your spine, tapering towards the top as it nears your shoulder blades. You can find cushions that combine both seat cushions and lumbar support into one overall support cushion.
At the top of your office chair support system, you should consider getting a neck support cushion. These can be similar to the neck pillows you wear when traveling which cradle your neck, providing support to your head and keeping your upper spine aligned. You can also find smaller half-moon pillows which sit at the top of your chair and provide more minimal support.
If you work on a computer all day, keeping your neck aligned can be very important for preventing headaches and neck strain. A neck support will help keep you from straining your neck at odd angles or tensing up too much during a stressful day. Some chairs come with built-in neck support, but the pillows which cradle your neck are the best option for full support and alignment.
Setting Up Your Cushions
Having all the right office chair support is important, but it’s crucial that you know how to set it up properly. Begin with your footrest; it should be placed under your desk in a position where your feet will rest comfortable on it when you’re sitting normally at your desk. Remember to keep your knees at right angles when adjusting the position of your footrest.
Set your lumbar support on the back of your chair such that it sits between the bottom of your ribs and the top of your hips. With that in place, you can position your seat cushion such that your back is fully supported by the lumbar cushion and your hips and knees are in proper placement. Finally, set your neck cushion so it cradles the base of your skull and supports the rest of your neck.
Setting Up an Ergonomic Workspace
Getting your office chair support system is an important step, but it’s only the first piece of your overall ergonomic workspace. Once you get your chair set up, it’s time to turn your attention to your desk.
Make sure your chair is at such a height that you can keep your elbows at a 90-degree angle and your wrists flat when you’re working on your keyboard. Your computer monitor should sit at eye level and should be an arm’s length away from your face when you’re sitting at your desk.
You also need to make sure you have plenty of light in your workspace so you’re not squinting or slouching to see what you’re working on. You may also want to consider getting blue light filtering glasses to protect your eyes from the harsh glare of a computer monitor.
What to Look for in a Cushion
When you’re shopping for office chair support cushions, there are a few features you’ll want to look for. First of all, make sure all your cushions have removable, washable covers. You should also make sure that your seat cushion and footrest have no-slip bases to keep them in place where you need them.
Most importantly, all of your office chair support cushions should be made of memory foam. As we’ll discuss in a moment, memory foam can bring a variety of health benefits to make your workday more comfortable than ever. It can also give you the custom support you’ve always needed in your workspace.
What Is Memory Foam?
Most of us have heard of memory foam before, but what is it? Memory foam is a kind of dense polymer foam that can be molded into a variety of shapes, depending on what you need. You can find it in different densities, shredded or whole, and even gel-infused for extra cooling power.
Memory foam has the remarkable ability to both mold to the shape of your body and hold its shape for a while after you get up. this is due in part to the fact that as it gets warmer, it softens. When memory foam absorbs your body heat, it gives way under higher points of pressure without collapsing under areas that need more support.
Benefits of Memory Foam
One of the biggest benefits of memory foam is that it helps to redistribute your weight. When you sit on a regular cushion, all your weight sends to settle on a few high-pressure points, such as your hipbones or tailbone. Memory foam removes pressure from those spots and redistributes your weight across your entire seat.
This readjustment of your weight can also help to reduce your risk of developing a dangerous clotting condition called deep vein thrombosis. Regular cushions tend to compress some of your veins, making it easy for small clots to turn into larger problems, leaving you at risk of strokes or even a pulmonary embolism. Because memory foam doesn’t put pressure on any one spot, it can improve your circulation and keep you healthy and thriving.
How to Clean Memory Foam
Even with removable, washable covers, you’ll still need to wash your memory foam cushions from time to time. Begin by running a sink or tub full of lukewarm – not hot – water. Add some gentle laundry detergent and swirl it to mix it into the water, avoiding suds.
Immerse your memory foam cushion in the water, squeezing it to get it fully soaked. Then drain your sink or tub, run it full of cold, clean water, and rinse your pillow until the water runs clean. Wrap your cushion in a towel and squeeze to remove as much water as possible before allowing your cushion to dry for at least twenty-four hours.
Getting Proper Support Elsewhere
Your office chair is the place where you spend the most time other than your bed, and having proper support there is important. But it doesn’t do any good to practice good posture at work and then destroy that progress in the car or at home. It’s a good idea to look at getting supports for other areas of your life to ensure your back always gets the care it needs.
If you have a long commute, a lumbar support and/or seat cushion in the car could be a great idea. Consider getting a knee pillow or memory foam sleeping pillow at home to help you maintain good sleep posture. And if you travel a lot, a neck pillow is an absolute must for you.
Get the Best Back Support for Your Office
Maintaining proper posture at work can be a great way to manage back pain for the rest of your life. The best back support system will cushion you from head to toe, beginning with a neck pillow and ending with a footrest. Look for memory foam cushions that will make every workday feel like you’re sitting on a cloud.
If you’d like to find the best back support for your office, check out the rest of our site at Everlasting Comfort. We offer everything from memory foam pillows and cushions to humidifiers and essential oil diffusers. Shop our collections today and discover what a truly pain-free life can look like.