If you sit for extended periods at a time – whether in an office, in a vehicle, or in another setting altogether – it’s essential to understand how adequate lumbar support contributes to your long-term health, well-being, and comfort.
The term lumbar refers to your lower back or the portion of your spine that falls between your sacrum and your diaphragm, directly behind your abdomen. Lumbar support refers to equipment and devices designed to correct your lumbar posture, subsequently correcting the alignment of your upper back, shoulders, neck, and hips.
Many chairs designed for use for hours at a time – such as vehicle seats and office chairs – feature built-in lumbar support to improve posture and prevent injury. If your chair doesn’t feature lumbar support or you are too small or too tall to benefit from it, you can purchase portable lumbar back supports. These are usually small pillows or foam supports designed to be used with almost any chair. Some people even roll up a towel or use a small pillow to produce a similar effect.
In addition, some back braces are designed to compress the abdomen and provide lumbar support, promoting the healing of existing injuries and prevention of new injuries.
Slide to the back of the office chair so the lumbar support touches your lower back. When seated properly, your spine should be a neutral position with a slight forward curvature. Your shoulders should align with your ears and your pelvis. It’s important to note that lumbar supports are only helpful when you sit all the way back; one of the most common mistakes patients make is purchasing a lumbar support and then leaning forward on their desk, sitting on the edge of their seat, or slouching despite the support. When you sit all the way back in your chair, the lumbar support makes it challenging to fall into unsafe postures.
In addition to using adequate lumbar support, you should get up and stretch throughout the day. While every thirty minutes is ideal, many people find that goal challenging. If you aren’t able to get out of your chair every thirty minutes, take a moment to do sitting stretches, check your posture, and take a few deep breaths. All of these measures can help you prevent fatigue and ergonomic injury. You can also schedule routine chiropractic adjustments to maintain proper alignment and promote wellness.
If you begin to experience knots, pain, or limited range of motion in your back, neck, shoulders, or hips, contact Health First Injury & Pain Centers for a comprehensive evaluation and treatment. The team of qualified chiropractors and physical therapists focuses first on alleviating your pain, second on healing the underlying cause of your symptoms, and third on preventing it from occurring again.