At the end of a long workday, do you find yourself massaging your low back, trying to make the pain go away? Do you ever lay on the floor to stretch out your back? Do you have your massage therapist and your chiropractor on speed dial?
If you’re living with severe low back pain, you could benefit from having a memory foam seat cushion at work. Read on to learn more about these cushions and the benefits they can bring to your life.
A Brief Tour of Your Spine
Before we dive into why you need an office seat cushion, let’s talk some about the anatomy of your spine. There are four main regions of your spine: cervical, thoracic, lumbar, and sacral. At the bottom of your spine, you have your coccyx, a small triangular bone that’s all that’s left of the tails we once had.
Your cervical spine extends from the base of your head to about the top of your shoulders. Your thoracic spine runs from the top of your shoulders to a little above your waist where your spine starts to curve in. Your lumbar region runs through the curve of your back to your hips, and your sacral region extends from your hips to your tailbone.
Common Causes of Low Back Pain
Oftentimes, low back pain can be the result of an injury or a strain. You may have tried to lift something too heavy, slept in a strange position, or pushed it too hard at the office softball tournament. These injuries will often heal on their own, but you have to give those muscles rest and a chance to heal.
If your low back pain is more persistent, it may be the result of a bulging or ruptured disk. You could also have arthritis or osteoporosis, degenerative conditions that attack the padding between your disks or the disks themselves. If your back pain persists, talk to your doctor about what could be causing it.
How Back Pain Impacts Your Life
It can be easy for people living without back pain to think it’s just a little bit of achiness. But back pain can have a real impact on your life, especially if it’s severe and/or long-lasting.
When your back hurts, it can be hard for you to go out and enjoy normal activities with your family. You may start to avoid family gatherings, evenings out of the house, and even things like game or movie nights. You may even have difficulty getting your normal work done, and your job could suffer for it.
Over time, you may begin to withdraw and feel isolated. This sort of separation can lead to anxiety, depression, and other mental health problems. If you’re fighting severe low back pain, talk to your doctor so you can continue living your best life.
Why Good Posture Matters
One other common cause of low back pain can be bad posture. When you slouch or get your back out of line, it puts strain on the muscles and bones there. Then your back begins to hurt, you slouch further to compensate for the pain, and the whole thing turns into a vicious cycle.
By practicing good posture, you pull your spine and muscles back into their natural alignment. When you support those muscles, it gives them a chance to heal and strengthen. This makes it easier for you to maintain good posture, and the cycle continues on a positive path.
Risks of Sitting All Day
Many of us spend our days sitting hunched over computers, which is terrible for our posture. But sitting all day can have other health risks besides low back pain. One of the major risks of sitting all day is developing blood clots.
When you sit for long periods of the day, small pieces of material in your veins can get lodged in constricted veins. These begin to trap more material, and your blood begins to clot around them. Over time, this clot could break loose and travel into your lungs or even your brain, causing a pulmonary embolism or a stroke.
Adjusting Your Office Chair
One of the best things you can do to improve your posture and decrease your risk of serious health conditions is to adjust your office chair. You spend more time in your office chair than in any other single place except your bed. You need to make sure your chair provides you with the support your body needs to stay healthy and pain-free.
If your chair has lumbar support, adjust it to provide plenty of support to your low back. Make sure the arms of your chair sit so that your elbows are at a right angle and your shoulders are down and relaxed. You should also adjust the height of your chair so your feet touch the floor without your knees getting jammed up off the seat.
How a Seat Cushion Helps
Even once you get your chair adjusted, it may still be a good idea to get a seat cushion for your chair. Oftentimes, even if your lumbar support is adjusted and your feet are in the right place, your hips may be at the wrong angle. This can pull your low back out of alignment, placing a strain on your spine and the muscles there.
A seat cushion can adjust the angle of your hips to keep your back better aligned. It can also reduce pressure on your tailbone, giving any injuries there time to heal. And it can make your chair more comfortable, making your workdays more pleasant and helping you to maintain a better posture throughout the day.
What Is Memory Foam?
When you’re shopping for a seat cushion, it’s a good idea to go for memory foam. Memory foam is a dense polymer foam that comes in a variety of thicknesses. Memory foam has a few remarkable properties that make it especially good for seat cushions.
Memory foam gets softer as it gets warmer, which allows it to perfectly mold to your body. As it absorbs your body heat, it will give under pressure points, while still supporting you. It can help to improve your circulation and give you custom-molded posture support.
Redistribute Your Weight
One of the things memory foam does best is help to redistribute your weight more evenly across your entire seat. When you sit in a normal chair, certain areas are under more pressure than others. You may notice that your hips and tailbone get sore, as well as specific other areas on your seat.
Because memory foam gives under pressure points, it helps to redistribute your weight more evenly. The foam will sink more under high-pressure points like your hips and tailbone. This places more weight on your thighs and buttocks, making sure no one spot gets too compressed.
Give Your Body a Chance to Heal
If you have a back injury, trying to get it healed up can feel like fighting a losing battle. It’s hard to take the time you need to recover when you still have to go to work every day. You may be putting more strain on your back each time you sit down in your chair, leaving you in an endless cycle of pain and injury.
A memory foam seat cushion reduces strain on your back by gently easing your hips into the proper position. It supports your muscles, giving them a chance to rest and heal without requiring you to take a lot of time off work. It can also help bruised tailbones to get some rest and recover instead of reinjuring them over and over.
For many of us, there isn’t a great way to avoid sitting for long periods of the day. But you can still reduce your risk of blood clots with a memory foam seat cushion. These seat cushions help to improve your circulation, preventing blood clots from forming.
When you have a lot of pressure on one or two points, the veins in that area tend to get compressed. This can lead to the clots we discussed earlier, as well as leaving you with that prickling feeling in your feet and legs. But because memory foam removes pressure from those points on your body, it helps to keep all your veins flowing smoothly, stopping blood clots before they start.
As we’ve mentioned, maintaining good posture is an important part of keeping your back healthy and in good shape. But finding a cushion that meets your specific needs can be difficult. Memory foam molds itself to your body, gently pulling your hips back into alignment.
Many memory foam seat cushions have special cutouts or features designed to help you maintain proper posture. They may have a cutout at the back of them for your tailbone to sit in to reduce pressure there. They may also have separate supports for each of your legs to keep everything aligned like it should be.
Using Other Back Support Pillows
A memory foam seat cushion is a wonderful thing, but if you want to get the most use out of it, it’s a good idea to use it in combination with other back support pillows. Your hips can be in line, but you may still have low back pain if your lumbar region isn’t supported. It’s a good idea to get a memory foam lumbar support cushion or a chair cushion that combines both pieces to keep your back healthy.
A lumbar support cushion tucks into the small of your back and helps to support the muscles around your spine. It can also help push your hips and back into a more natural position, keeping you upright and aligned. And like your seat cushion, a memory foam lumbar support pillow will give under points of higher pressure, supporting your back without straining your muscles.
What to Look for in a Seat Cushion
When you’re shopping for a seat cushion, there are a few things you may want to look for in addition to it being memory foam. For one thing, turn the pillow over and take a look at the bottom. Good seat cushions should have a non-slip grip pad to keep you from sliding off your chair while you work.
If you have problems with your tailbone, you may want to look for a coccyx pillow that has a specific cutout for your tailbone. If your knees tend to hurt, cushions with separate supports for each leg can provide you the support you need. And you should look for a model with a washable cover to make laundering your pillow easier.
How to Use Your Seat Cushion
It’s a good idea to use your seat cushion every day while you’re at work. You don’t want to let your body get partway healed and then strain those muscles all over again. If you have a long commute, you may also want to get a seat cushion for your car so you don’t do additional damage during your drive.
Make sure you set your seat cushion all the way back in your seat, and sit so that your hips are all the way back in your chair. If there’s a coccyx cutout, make sure your tailbone is positioned in that gap. Check that your thighs are centered over individual leg supports and that your feet still sit flat on the floor.
Stop Living with Severe Low Back Pain
Fighting severe low back pain can be an enormous challenge. It can isolate you from your family, impact your work, and make every day a struggle to get through. But getting a memory foam seat cushion can give your back a chance to recover, improving your posture and giving you your life back.
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 have everything from memory foam pillows and cushions to humidifiers and essential oil diffusers to help you live pain-free. Shop our collections today and discover what it’s like to live in the lap of luxury.