If you spend any amount of time sitting down, whether it be on a long commute, at an office chair, or even in a classroom, you know that the comfort and ergonomics of your seat can have a huge impact on how much work you can get done. Whenever you find yourself sitting for long periods of time, it is very easy to find yourself in an uncomfortable sitting posture, and this is especially true when your chair is not designed to keep you in the optimal sitting position.
For anyone who struggles with lower back pain as a result of hours sitting in seats that were not designed with you in mind, this article is for you. Let’s explore some of the most common causes of lower back pain, how to avoid it, and what seats you can look into for improving your comfort level the most over time.
What Causes Lower Back Pain?
For most people, the symptoms of lower back pain are not brought on by any kind of underlying condition or disease and are most commonly caused by situational posture. Lower back pain begins below the ribcage and is properly referred to as the lumbar region of your spine. As long as your lower back pain is not caused by a fall or other injury, you may not need any professional medical advice or physical therapy. You probably just need to change your posture.
One of the most common culprits of back pain is actually your job. If your job involves lifting, pulling, or really anything that twists the spine, it may eventually contribute to making your back hurt. Additionally, if you sit at a desk all day and you are not conscious of your posture, you can experience lower back pain as you're affecting your spine and your back muscles as well. Slouching or poor posture in uncomfortable chairs are the most common causes.
If you are experiencing back pain that seems to be situationally related to your job, chances are that you can make some changes either in your routine or posture that can really help improve how you feel at the end of a long day. While some people are completely moving away from the traditional sitting desk position in favor of getting a standing desk or even kneeling chairs, there are also ways to improve your posture and comfort in a traditional desk chair for back pain relief.
We’ll discuss this more later on, but for now, let’s just say that there are plenty of products to improve the health and wellness of your day and that lessen the causes of back pain in your life.
How To Improve Posture
In short, if you are looking to reduce back pain caused by posture, there are really two steps that you can take to improve your posture.
First, you can just be more conscious of your posture in an effort to relieve strain caused by slouching or sitting improperly. Some of the negative long-term impacts of bad posture can include:
- Misaligned musculoskeletal system
- Long-term neck, shoulder, and back pain
- Decreased flexibility
- Weakened balance and increased risk of falls because of weakened core muscles
- Difficulty breathing
- Difficulty digesting food
- Neck pain
- Chronic low back pain
Here are some of the most basic ways to improve your posture organically by becoming more consciously aware of how you sit.
- Make sure your work surfaces are at the correct height. For example, if you sit in a desk chair, make sure that both the desk itself and the chair you’re sitting in are at a relative height that allows you to comfortably focus on what you’ve got going on. Adjust your chair height to make sure you maintain a comfortable eye level so your spinal cord is in a neutral position. Your should also be able to hold your arms at a 90-degree angle when they're on the arm rests.
- Switch sitting positions often, making sure that you are not slouching or bending your back the wrong way.
- Take brief walks around the room, just to stretch the muscles in your back and increase blood flow.
- Gently stretch your muscles gradually throughout the day to relieve pressure and stress.
- Don’t cross your legs! Make sure you’re sitting flat-footed and keep your ankles forward of your knees to make sure that you are leaning slightly back into the chair, putting the weight onto the chair back. A footrest might prove helpful in this.
- Make sure you have a good chair! A good chair can be a huge boost to your posture because it allows you to sit more comfortably without really having to think about it.
- Explore the idea of chair inserts! If the chair you sit in is outside your control (especially if it’s provided by the office manager), invest in something like lumbar support to give your back a rest.
What Is Lumbar Support?
If you spend lots of time sitting around every day, the importance of good posture really can’t be stressed enough. At Everlasting Comfort, we’re dedicated to giving you the best shot at improving your posture early on so that your back pain does not become chronic.
Essentially, lumbar support is extra padding situated towards the small of your lower back, in the lumbar area. Lumbar support pillows keep you upright and provide support to that lumbar area of your spine to improve comfort and alleviate lower back pain.
There are actually several types of lumbar support. Some types of lumbar support involve just buying an entirely new chair with built in, adjustable support that allows your lower back to be supported by something inside the chair. This is especially common in a lot of cars these days that have built-in lower back support.
Another common type of lumbar support is just portable lumbar back support like a curved cushion or lumbar roll, which is simply fitted onto the seat back of your chair. This type can be great because you can place it really wherever you want, at whatever height on the chair is most comfortable for you and your workflow! Some lumbar support cushions are also shaped in such a way that there is actually a right-side-up, so make sure that if you use this type that you are prepared to use it properly.
Other Types Of Support For Lower Back Pain
So, let’s say you’ve tried all of the above. You’ve gotten a new chair, you’ve looked into lumbar support, you’re trying to maintain proper posture, but you just can’t really get it down. What options do you have before you go see a healthcare professional?
Well, in short, maybe your back pain isn’t caused just by posture or lumbar position. Maybe it’s caused at the base of your spine or by your butt! At Everlasting Comfort, we strive to offer solutions for all types of issues, and another great resource to have at your disposal and for maximum comfort is a memory foam seat cushion. These devices are great, portable, and designed directly for your comfort.
So if you spend hours every day at your desk only to get up and realize how much pain you’re in, definitely look into adding extra padding to different parts of your seat. Your lumbar area isn’t the only area of your body capable of causing back pain. Seat cushions with memory foam are often responsive to body heat (as ours is), and because they are made with memory foam, they respond to your body’s natural shape and will stay firm to support your posture and reduce common aches and pains associated with poor ergonomics.
And If All Else Fails?
If everything else has stopped working, and you need to see a doctor or healthcare professional, do not hesitate to do so. Whether you decide to go see a chiropractor or just talk to your personal provider, you should be willing to communicate with them clearly about what you are experiencing, the steps you have taken to try and remedy the problem and explore options for your future comfort.
Do not let your back pain get to the point where it becomes chronic! If you’re a working professional coming home at the end of every day in extreme discomfort and annoying pain, change up your routine!
Lower back pain is one of the most common ailments affecting working professionals in the twenty-first century. Because so many people work jobs that either require them to spend hours at a time working at a computer desk or moving, lifting, and twisting their back, low back pain is an extremely relevant issue.
Thankfully, there are solutions available in the form of several different steps. Start by becoming more aware of your posture, and develop a routine that allows you to experience comfort even in the midst of all the things you have on your busy schedule every day.
Then, move towards either getting a more supportive, ergonomic chair or purchasing add-ins that allow you to customize the comfort and shape of your chair in a way that best supports your body’s natural posture. Lumbar support, chair seat support, and several other options are all available!
And finally, if all else fails, definitely be willing to go see a doctor. Best of luck, and feel better soon!