Do you ever notice that your back starts to ache partway through long drives? Do you take aspirin before you get on a flight to head off the back pain you know will begin a little way into the trip? Do you find yourself rubbing your back and trying to stretch out knots at the end of a long workday?
If any of this sounds familiar, you may benefit from a lumbar support pillow. Read on to learn more about these pillows and what benefits they can bring to your life.
Dangers of Back Pain
Before we dive into the benefits lumbar support pillows can bring, let’s talk a little about the reason you need one: back pain. Most of us will suffer from some back pain at various points in our lives. But when back pain becomes chronic, it can begin to have a huge impact on your life.
When your back hurts all the time, you may begin to withdraw from your normal daily activities. It may become hard for you to do basic household chores, spend time with your family, or even go to work. Over time, you may become prone to anxiety or depression as you withdraw further and further from life.
Common Causes of Back Pain
Back pain can have a number of causes, ranging from stress to injury or chronic conditions. A desk chair that doesn’t suit you or too much time bent over a phone can cause your back to hurt. A bed that doesn’t suit you or the wrong kind of pillow can also cause strain on your back.
One of the most common causes of back pain is arthritis, a degenerative disease that attacks the padding between your bones. Osteoporosis can also be a culprit as fragile vertebrae develop compression fractures. And bone spurs or a ruptured disk can compress your sciatic nerves, causing radiating pain down through your lower back, hips, and legs.
Impact of Poor Posture
Poor posture is one of the more common causes of back pain. If your spine is curved into a hunch all the time, it can begin to put strain on your ligaments and on your spine itself. Over time, that can cause your back to begin aching – but that isn’t all poor posture can do.
Over time, bad posture can pull your spine out of alignment, which puts more stress on your hips and knees. It can impact your circulation and cause tingling and numbness in your limbs. Poor posture can even leave you more fatigued as your body attempts to compensate for weight being carried in ways it wasn’t meant to be.
Common Causes of Poor Posture
Among the most common causes of poor posture is in front of your face right now – electronic devices. We spend a lot of time craning our necks downward, looking at phone or tablets. And many of us spend our days working on computers, most of which are not ergonomically aligned.
Poor posture can also form as a way to protect injured or strained muscles. Muscles that are weaker may have a hard time keeping your body properly positioned. And the wrong kinds of shoes can tug your hips out of alignment, forcing the rest of your body to compensate for the extra strain.
What Is a Lumbar Support Pillow?
A lumbar support pillow is a cushion designed to sit between your lower back and your seat. It is D-shaped, with the flat part designed to sit against the chair and the rounded side resting in the curve of your lower back. These pillows can be made of a variety of materials, but the best ones are made of memory foam.
As the name suggests, these pillows are designed to provide support to your lumbar, or lower back, region. They help to support the muscles there and realign the spine. They can also be tucked under the knees or hips while you sleep to keep your spine in a better alignment.
Relax Your Muscles
Most of us may not realize how much tension we’re carrying in our muscles day to day. If you ever want to see just how much tension you’re carrying in your lower back, try lying down on the floor on your back for a few minutes. A lumbar support pillow can be a great way to relieve some of that tension day to day.
When you place a pillow behind your back, it helps to support some of your weight. This takes the strain off of some of your muscles, allowing them to relax. Over time, this can help to release knots that have built up and may actually improve your posture, as you no longer have to compensate for those painful muscles.
Support Your Spine
Your spine carries much of your body weight and is responsible for keeping you upright and moving throughout each day. But daily life can put a lot of strain on your spine. It’s important to take care of it and provide it with customized support.
Lumbar support pillows are tremendously flexible, which helps to provide your spine with support without pushing it out of shape. Memory foam lumbar support pillows are even better for this purpose. As memory foam warms with your body heat, it molds to your shape, giving where it needs to and supporting everywhere else.
Do you ever notice your back beginning to ache in the middle of the workday? Next time that happens, instead of reaching for the aspirin, try reaching for a lumbar support pillow instead. These pillows can be a great way to instantly relieve some types of back pain.
When your back muscles are overcompensating, they can begin to clench up and spasm. This causes a shooting pain, usually originating in your shoulders or lower back and radiating up and down your spine. Placing a lumbar support pillow behind your back helps to take some of the load off those muscles and can relieve those spasms, even in the least ergonomic office chairs.
Carry a Backpack More Comfortably
Hiking and backpacking can be a wonderful pastime, and it can be a great way to strengthen your back and improve your posture. But it should come as no surprise that carrying a fifty-pound backpack can be hard on your back. It can begin to pull on the muscles in your lower back, causing them to tense and spasm.
When you’re backpacking, try placing a lumbar support pillow between your backpack and your lower back. This can help to lift some of the weight from your lower back and redistribute it to your hips. It’s also very important to make sure your backpack fits well to keep this weight well distributed.
Make Travel Easier
Spending long periods of time on a plane can cause all sorts of aches and pains to arise. Your hips may hurt, your shoulders and neck may tense, and your back may begin to ache. Next time you’re leaving on a jet plane, tuck a lumbar support pillow into your carry on.
Plane seats are hardly made with ergonomics in mind, but a lumbar support pillow can help alleviate pressure on your back and keep you more comfortable on long flights. These pillows can also be good for long car rides, whether you’re driving or riding. They can keep you from slouching in your seat and will keep your hips in a better position while you’re driving.
Keep Your Spine Aligned
When you lay down to sleep tonight, pay attention to what your spine does as you relax into bed. If you’re a side sleeper, you may notice your spine curving down to the side. If you sleep on your back or stomach, the curve in your low back may become more pronounced.
Sleeping with a lumbar support pillow can help to keep your spine aligned while you sleep. If you sleep on your side, tuck the pillow under your waist, and if you sleep on your stomach, place it under your hips. If you’re a back sleeper, slide the pillow under your knees to pull your hips and lower back into a healthier position.
Improve Your Posture
By this point, you may have figured out that lumbar support pillows can help improve your posture while you’re sitting at your desk or driving your car. But did you know that these pillows can provide much longer-term benefits? Regularly using a lumbar support pillow can actually help to improve your posture even when you aren’t sitting?
Oftentimes, bad posture while standing is the result of overcompensating for weak or strained muscles. If your back hurts, you may tilt your hips further back to alleviate some of that pressure. But if those muscles are getting the support and rest they need the rest of the time, you may not have to compensate, helping you to keep a healthy posture all the time.
Where to Use Your Lumbar Pillow
Lumbar support pillows are popular accessories in work chairs and sometimes in cars. And as we’ve mentioned, they can be useful while traveling or hiking. But there are a number of other times that having a lumbar support pillow around can make your life much healthier and more comfortable.
If you expect to be waiting somewhere for a long time, such as at the DMV or the doctor’s office, bring a lumbar support pillow with you. Wheelchair users may find them helpful in maintaining a comfortable position in their chair. And you may want to bring one with you to church services or theater productions so you can sit in comfort through the event.
Why Memory Foam Is Best
When you’re shopping for a lumbar support pillow, it’s a good idea to get a memory foam model. Memory foam is made from a polymer that softens when exposed to heat. As the pillow absorbs your body heat, the foam will begin to soften and conform to your body shape.
When you’re trying to support your back and improve your posture, the last thing you want to do is shove your spine further out of place. Memory foam will give in at the points where there is most pressure – such as at your hips and your spine. But it will hold firm to support your muscles and the soft tissues in your back.
What to Look for in a Lumbar Pillow
Aside from being made of memory foam, there are a few qualities you should look for in a lumbar support pillow. First of all, make sure it’s a size that suits you, especially if you’re a large or petite person. You want a pillow that will sit easily in the natural curve of your back, not push it out of place or slide down to your hips.
You also need your lumbar support pillow to be small and lightweight enough that you can bring it with you easily. Ideally, your lumbar support pillow should ride with you in your car, tuck into your carryon, accompany you to the office, and support you while you’re waiting in the doctor’s office. You don’t want to be hauling around a large, unwieldy pillow to all these locations.
Some lumbar pillows come with straps to help hold it in place on whatever you’re sitting on. But as you know, a car seat, an office chair, and a waiting room chair are not all the same size. Look for a lumbar support pillow that has adjustable straps so you can fit it to suit whatever situation you’re in.
Get Proper Lumbar Support
Your lower back is one of the hardest working and most underrated parts of your body. It carries a large portion of your body weight every day, and it deserves a little extra support to help it stay healthy and pain-free. A lumbar support pillow can be a great way to give your back the support it needs and leave pain to fade in your rearview mirror.
If you’d like to discover all the best tools for making your life comfortable, check out the rest of our site at Everlasting Comfort. In addition to memory foam pillows, we also offer travel accessories, humidifiers, and essential oil diffusers to help you find maximum relaxation. Shop our collection today and start living in the luxury and comfort you deserve.