Do you notice that your low back aches at the end of a long day? Do you find yourself slouching over your computer, unable to maintain good posture? Do you wish there was a way to make your workplace setup more ergonomic and healthy?
If any of this sounds familiar, you may need a lumbar support pillow. Read on to learn more about these cushions and where to place lumbar support in your office chair.
What Is Lumbar Support?
Before we dive into how to position your lumbar support pillow, let’s talk some about what lumbar support even is. Your lumbar region is the area of your back between the bottom of your ribcage and your hips. It’s the area of your spine that curves in before extending down into your tailbone.
Lumbar support is designed to match that curve in your back and help support your spine. It sits flat against the back of a chair or seat and fits into the curve of your low back. This can help relieve strain and pressure, giving your back muscles a time to heal and strengthen.
Why Is It Important?
Making sure your low back is supported can be one of the best ways to reduce any back pain you may be experiencing. You may experience a strain or injury that causes your low back to start hurting. This can throw off your posture, which can place further strain on your spine, and the cycle continues.
Lumbar support gives your back a chance to heal and recover. Your muscles will be able to relax and strengthen on their own, making it easier to maintain good posture throughout the day. This can also help treat low back pain and even strengthen your spine to prevent future injuries from occurring.
Importance of Good Posture
We all have a vague idea that practicing good posture is a good idea, but do you know why? This is about more than just making a good impression or following outdated etiquette rules. Good posture can actually have an impact on how much pain you’re living with.
When you practice bad posture, it places strain on your back, which can put you in pain. In order to compensate for that pain, you may begin to practice worse posture, placing further strain on your body. Over time, your muscles become too weak to keep you in a good posture, and you wind up in a vicious cycle of pain and slouching.
Impact of Back Pain
Many of us may think of back pain as no big deal—it’s something we all deal with as we get older, and most of us pop a couple of painkillers and move on with our day. But back pain, especially chronic back pain, can have a much more serious impact.
When you’re living with back pain, you may not want to go do the activities you once loved because they cause you pain. You may even have trouble keeping up at work or may begin to withdraw from your family and friends. Over time, you may become isolated and lonely, which raises your risk of depression and anxiety disorders.
Where to Use a Lumbar Support
Many of us think of lumbar support pillows as something to be used at work in our office chairs. And this is certainly a good place to start. You spend as much time sitting in your office chair as you do anywhere else, and it’s a good place to start improving your support and posture.
But you can and should use a lumbar support pillow nearly everywhere you sit down. You may want to use one in your car, especially if you have a long commute, and you should definitely get one for your favorite chair at home. Some people like to use them while traveling or even for some extra support in bed.
What to Look for in a Lumbar Support
There are a few things you should look for when you’re shopping for a lumbar support pillow. For one thing, check if it has a removable cover for easy cleaning. You’re also going to want something breathable that won’t get too hot when you’re leaning against it all day long.
Most importantly, you should make sure your lumbar support pillow is made from memory foam. We’ll talk about all of the memory foam’s unique properties and benefits in a moment. But a memory foam pillow can provide you the best gentle support for your lumbar region so it can heal and strengthen.
What Is Memory Foam?
Memory foam is a kind of dense polymer foam that can be molded into a variety of shapes. You may hear this referred to as viscoelastic foam, though this is just a fancy way to say “memory foam.” The term viscoelastic refers to memory foam’s remarkable ability to bold to your shape and hold that impression for a time without collapsing entirely under your weight.
This viscoelastic property is thanks largely to one of memory foam’s cooler features. As memory foam absorbs your body heat and warms up, it becomes softer and gives way under areas of highest pressure. However, it doesn’t give under lower pressure areas, allowing it to mold perfectly to your shape.
Benefits of Memory Foam
There are a number of reasons memory foam makes a great lumbar support material. When you’re trying to support your lumbar region, the last thing you want to do is put excess pressure on your spine. A memory foam pillow will give way under the bones of your spine while still supporting the muscles in the rest of your back.
Memory foam can also help to improve your circulation. Because it distributes pressure more evenly, no one spot in your back gets its blood vessels squished, cutting off your circulation. If you work a desk job, improving your circulation can be very important for lowering your risk of deep vein thrombosis.
How to Clean Memory Foam
Even if you have a lumbar support cushion with a washable cover, you may still need to clean the pillow itself from time to time. Begin by removing the cover and running a sink or tub full of warm, not hot, water. Add in a few drops of gentle laundry detergent and swirl to mix it into the water.
Place your memory foam cushion in the water and squeeze it to get the pillow thoroughly soaked with soapy water. Then drain the sink or tub, run it full of clean, cold water, and rinse your pillow until the water runs clear. Roll the cushion in a towel and squeeze as much moisture out as possible, and then let it air dry for up to twenty-four hours.
Set the Lumbar Support Pillow in Your Chair
When you get ready to start using a lumbar support pillow, the first step is to set it in the right spot on your chair. Your cushion may have one end that curves out slightly more than the other. If this is the case, put the more curved end down and set the pillow so the flat side is against the back of your chair.
You want to set your lumbar pillow so that it sits between the bottom of your shoulder blades and the top of your hips. This will be a few inches off the seat of your chair; you may need to experiment to find the right position for you. If your lumbar support has straps to hold it in place on the chair, adjust those at this time.
Adjust Your Chair Height
Once you’ve got your lumbar support in place, you need to make sure the rest of your ergonomic setup is adjusted properly. Begin by adjusting the height of your chair. You don’t want to focus on whether your feet touch the floor; instead, take a look at where your arms land on this chair.
You want to make sure that when you’re sitting in your chair, your shoulders are down and relaxed, your elbows are at right angles to your forearms, and your wrists can rest comfortably on your desk. You may need to get a footrest in order to support your legs at this height. This will help prevent shoulder and elbow strain, as well as back issues.
Adjust Your Monitor Height
You also need to take a look at your monitor height while you’re making your office adjustments. Many of us spend our days hunched over to see our computer screens. The places strain on your upper back, no matter how good your lumbar support is.
Adjust your monitor so it’s in line with your eyes when you’re sitting up straight in your chair. You may need to place it on top of a stack of books or a box to get it to the proper height. You can also get adjustable monitor stands that move with you and make it easy to show your computer screen to anyone you may be meeting within your office.
Adjust the Arms on Your Chair
Finally, it’s time to take a look at the arms of your chair. The arms should be low enough that your elbows can rest comfortably on them when your shoulders are down and relaxed. However, your elbows should also not be dangling an inch off the armrests.
If your chair does not have adjustable armrests, you may consider getting a seat cushion. This can buy you a few inches in addition to keeping your hips in proper line with your back. Just make sure you have enough foot support that you can keep your hips and knees both at right angles.
Other Workplace Supports
In addition to your lumbar support pillow, you may want to look into getting some other memory foam supports for your office setup. For one thing, an ergonomic chair cushion could make your workdays much more comfortable. If you have problems with tailbone pain, look for a cushion with a coccyx cutout that will give your tailbone space to heal.
You may also want to look into getting a footrest, especially if you’re a shorter person. These can help you get your knees to the appropriate angle with your hips without sacrificing your upper body alignment. A neck cushion can also help to get rid of tension headaches and ensure your head gets the support it needs throughout the day.
Using Lumbar Support Outside the Office
Once you have your lumbar support set up in your office, you may want to start getting more pillows to use in other areas of your life. We would recommend starting with your favorite chair at home. Position your lumbar support there the same way you did in your office chair and watch how much your posture improves.
You might also want to set up lumbar support in your car, adjusting the straps as needed to fit around your car seat. And if you’re a frequent flyer, consider getting lighter lumbar support to carry with you on trips. It can make those long international flights much more comfortable, ensuring you arrive well-rested and pain-free.
Learn Where to Place Lumbar Support
Adding a lumbar support pillow to your office setup can help relieve back pain and improve your posture. But knowing where to place lumbar support is key to using it properly. Aim to place it between your shoulder blades and your hips, and adjust the rest of your setup accordingly.
If you’d like to discover more tools to help you live a pain-free life, check out the rest of our site at Everlasting Comfort. We have everything from pillows and cushions to essential oil diffusers and humidifiers to keep you living in the lap of luxury. Shop our collections today and discover what a life of utmost comfort can feel like.