Best Seat Cushion for Spinal Stenosis

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If you are one of the many people who suffer from spinal stenosis, you know how important it is to have a good seat cushion. A quality seat cushion can help to relieve pain and make sitting more comfortable. Unfortunately, not all seat cushions are created equal. This blog post will discuss the best seat cushion for spinal stenosis and offer tips on choosing the right one.

As a general rule, the best seat cushions for spinal stenosis are usually made of natural latex and high-density foam having an 8-10 degree forward tilt. This combination provides both comfort and support.

If you are experiencing spinal stenosis pain, I believe I can help. Having 30 years of experience as a chiropractor, I have worked as an ergonomist and physiotherapist for busy clinics. I have written a book on sitting and appeared on national television. My ergonomic seat cushions, orthopedic mattresses, and neck pain sleep orthopedic pillows are designed to achieve better posture and comfort while sitting. I also successfully funded my latest project, ergonomic seat cushions, through Kickstarter. So I am confident that I can provide some helpful insight!

What Is Spinal Stenosis?

spinal stenosis x-ray

Spinal stenosis is a condition that can develop in anyone, but it is most common in men and women over 50. Younger people born with a narrow spinal canal can also have spinal stenosis.*

Other spine conditions, such as scoliosis or spinal injury, can risk spinal stenosis. Spinal stenosis occurs when the spaces between the vertebrae narrow, putting pressure on the spinal cord and nerves.* This can cause pain, numbness, weakness, and cramping in the legs and back.

In severe cases, it can cause paralysis. There is no cure for spinal stenosis, but there are treatments that can help relieve symptoms and improve quality of life. 

What Causes Spinal Stenosis to Develop?

woman with low back pain

Although osteoarthritis is the most common cause of spinal stenosis, other conditions can lead to this condition. For example, spinal stenosis can result from a previous injury, such as a fracture. 

Spinal stenosis can also be caused by tumors or other growths that pressure the spine. In some cases, spinal stenosis is present at birth. Spinal stenosis can be painful and debilitating regardless of the cause.

Does Everyone Get Spinal Stenosis With Age?

elderly couple spinal stenosis

As people age, it’s not unusual for them to experience some aches and pains. Often, these can be attributed to natural wear and tear. One condition that is often seen in older adults is spinal stenosis. This wear and tear may cause a narrowing of the spine’s spaces, which can pressure the spinal cord and nerves. Sometimes, this can lead to pain, numbness, and limb weakness.*

However, not everyone who has spinal stenosis will experience these symptoms. Many people with this condition never have any problems at all.*

Can a Seat Cushion Help Relieve the Symptoms of Spinal Stenosis?

ergonomic seat cushion

As a general rule, the best seat cushion for spinal stenosis is an orthopedic seat wedge that provides pressure relief while distributing your weight from your buttocks to your legs using a forward tilt. This ergonomic seat cushion allows you to sit in a position that redirects pressure off your spine back onto your muscles.*

Best Features of a Seat Cushion for Spinal Stenosis | Seat Cushion for Slipped Disc

In this TV show, I explain the features of an ergonomic seat cushion for people with back pain:

How Do You Know if the Seat Cushion Is Ergonomic?

To be effective, ergonomic seat cushions must have some key features, which are listed below:

diagram how to tell if seat cushion is ergonomic

Foam

High-end back support chair cushions for spinal stenosis have multiple foam layers. Still, I recommend buying a cushion with a high-density base foam and softer natural latex foam top for increased comfort and durability.

Density

It is vital to remember that many factors determine the quality of the best seat cushion for lumbar spinal stenosis, but one thing you can control is its density. Heavier foams provide better support and comfort than lighter ones because they weigh down into seats better, which also helps them maintain their shape over time.

chart describing density of seat foam cushions

Technical data:
  • Base foam: 96kg/m3.
  • Top foam: 56-68 kg/m3.
  • It should be natural latex for top foam. 
  • Two layers of comfort and support, with no pressure points.

chart demonstrating density and weight of seat foam cushions

Densities
  • Low – Although these cushions are suitable for small spaces, they are unsupportive and cannot be rolled up.
  • Medium – This is an average and inexpensive type of foam.
  • High – You can expect your seat cushion for a slipped disc to last longer and be able to take more abuse than other brands due to the durability of high-density foams.

chart comparing chair foams

Different Types of Foams

Polyurethane

Polyurethane foam seat cushions are not a good choice for people looking for comfort and luxury. These seats are made of cheap materials that lack any kind of resiliency. As a result, they are not comfortable and do not provide the same level of luxury as more expensive seat cushions.

Additionally, polyurethane foam seat cushions are not durable and will not last as long as more expensive seat cushions. Finally, polyurethane foam seat cushions can harm the environment because they are made of synthetic materials that do not break down easily. In conclusion, polyurethane foam seat cushions are not a good choice for people who want comfort, luxury, and durability.

Memory

Considering a memory foam seat cushion, you should know a few things first. Memory foam is not a good choice for people looking for a toxin-free option, as it is made with chemicals that can harm your health.

Memory foam has no resiliency, so it won’t spring back into shape after you get up, which means it will eventually start to sag. Finally, memory foam can cause pressure points under your weight if you sit on it too long, leading to poor alignment and discomfort. I would not recommend choosing a memory foam seat cushion for these reasons.

I was surprised how similar cheap memory foam seat cushions were on Aliexpress from the listing on Amazon!

the darker side of memory foam chart

                                       Sources: 1,2,3,4,5
Natural Latex

Most chiropractors will recommend natural latex foam for the best seat cushions. Natural latex’s exceptional softness and springiness make it ideal for daily use. Plus, continuous movement is essential for healthy discs.

However, many people don’t realize that there are different types of natural latex foam. Dunlop latex is denser and firmer than Talalay latex, which is why it’s often used in mattress toppers. Meanwhile, Talalay latex is less dense and more springy, making it ideal for use in seat cushions. So if you’re looking for a natural latex seat cushion that will provide maximum comfort and support, be sure to choose Talalay latex. You won’t be disappointed.

Benefits of natural latex foam:

chart on benefits of latex foam seat cushions

Sources: 1,2,3,4,5

When choosing a seat cushion, there are three main types of foam: natural latex, memory foam, and polyurethane (PU) foam. Natural latex is the most durable option, and it’s also the most expensive. Memory foam is much less durable and doesn’t provide the support you need with spinal stenosis pain. PU foam is the cheapest option but doesn’t offer much comfort or support. Chiropractors recommend natural latex for seat cushions because they provide the best support for your spine. I made a video (below) highlighting the difference:

Design

If you suffer from spinal stenosis, you know that finding the right seat cushion for slipped disc design is essential for preventing pain. Chiropractors recommend natural latex spinal cushions to reduce the lower spine curve and tilt your pelvis forward. This helps to improve your sitting posture and prevent back pain. In addition, orthopedic seat cushions can provide additional comfort by enhancing your sitting surface. Investing in an ergonomic seat cushion is wise if you suffer back pain. It will help you to avoid pain and maintain a healthy spine.

Best Seat Cushion for Chairs Design

The key to good posture is sitting up straight. Holding your head high allows gravity to work and keeps your joints aligned, which increases blood flow since less pressure is placed on these areas.

Benefits

For many people, sitting in the same position for long periods can lead to discomfort and pain in the lower back and spine. Ergonomic seat cushions can help to alleviate this pain by providing support and improving posture. Ergonomic seat cushions for chairs are typically designed to fit the body’s contours and distribute weight evenly, which helps reduce pressure on the spine.

In addition, the cushions can help to improve blood circulation and prevent muscle fatigue. As a result, ergonomic seat cushions can effectively reduce pain and improve comfort for those who spend long hours sitting down. The cushions are especially beneficial for those who work desk jobs or have sedentary lifestyles. Choosing a cushion made from high-quality materials that provide firm support is essential for maximum benefit. In addition, the cushion should be adjustable and customized to fit each individual’s needs.

chart of the benefits of ergonomic seat cushions for chairs

Sources: 1,2,3,4,5,6,7

I’ve written a complete hands-on review about why your stomach is flat until you sit down, and here are some of the shocking issues I ran into in this post!

How to Use an Ergonomic Seat Cushion

For many of us, sitting for long periods is inevitable. Whether we’re working at a desk, driving, or relaxing at home, there are times when we simply have to stay in one place. And while sitting may not seem like a big deal, poor posture can lead to several health problems. From back pain to poor circulation, sitting for too long can take a toll on our bodies.

That’s where wedge cushions come in. Providing support and encouraging proper posture and wedge cushions can help reduce the risk of health problems associated with sitting for long periods. So if you’re looking for a way to improve your health and well-being, consider adding a wedge cushion to your life. Your back will thank you!

picture demonstrating how to use a posture cushion for chairs

If you are into super easy and inexpensive alternatives to office chairs, I wrote a fantastic article on how and why you should consider these options for back pain, and I encourage you to read it!

Is Spinal Stenosis the Same as Cauda Equina?

Cauda equina syndrome is a severe condition caused by spinal stenosis, narrowing the spinal canal. The condition occurs when the cauda equina nerves are compressed and damaged, leading to neurological severe consequences. Cauda equina syndrome can cause paralysis, incontinence, and sexual dysfunction if left untreated.

Early diagnosis and treatment are essential to prevent permanent damage. Treatment typically involves surgery to decompress the nerves. In some cases, physiotherapy or chiropractic care may be recommended to relieve pain and improve function. With prompt treatment, most people with cauda equina syndrome make a full recovery.

Spinal Stenosis When to Go to Hospital

immediate hospital care

If spinal stenosis symptoms are severe or worsening, it is vital to get medical attention immediately. Loss of bowel or bladder control, severe numbness between the legs, and increasing weakness are all signs that the condition is getting worse and may require surgery to correct. If you have any of these symptoms, you must see a doctor as soon as possible to avoid further damage to the spine.

Can Spinal Stenosis Repair Itself

One question I always get asked is ‘can spinal stenosis get better?’ Although there is no cure for spinal stenosis, there are treatments that can help relieve the symptoms. One of the best things you can do is ensure proper seating. A chair that is too low can put extra pressure on your spine, while a chair that is too high can cause you to slouch, especially if you have lumbar spinal stenosis in a wheelchair. You might also consider using a spine seat to support your back.

In addition, regular exercise can help strengthen the muscles around your spine and improve your flexibility. If your symptoms persist despite these measures, your doctor may recommend surgery to relieve the pressure on your spine.

Spinal Stenosis and Cycling

Spinal Stenosis and Cycling

Biking is often recommended as a low-impact form of cardio that can provide numerous health benefits, such as improved cardiovascular fitness and reduced stress levels. However, cycling may not be the best option for people with certain types of back pain, such as lumbar spinal stenosis.

Data from a recent study suggests that recumbent bikes may be a more comfortable option for people with this condition.* The study found that recumbent bikes allowed people to ride for extended periods without experiencing pain or discomfort.

Additionally, the study found that the best way to get the most comfort out of a recumbent bike is to ensure that your seating position is correct. For people with lumbar spinal stenosis, this means adjusting the seat so that your knees are at a comfortable level. Doing this can help improve your riding comfort and reduce the risk of exacerbating your condition.

Here is a video I made on Cycling Ergonomics:

Conclusion

While there are many different seat cushion options on the market, those designed specifically for people with spinal stenosis usually offer the best combination of comfort and support. If you’re experiencing back pain or discomfort related to spinal stenosis, I recommend trying a cushion made of natural latex and high-density foam with an 8-10 degree forward tilt.

 

 

Sources:

  1. Katz, J.N. and Harris, M.B., 2008. Lumbar spinal stenosis. New England Journal of Medicine358(8), pp.818-825.
  2. Melancia, J.L., Francisco, A.F. and Antunes, J.L., 2014. Spinal stenosis. Handbook of clinical neurology119, pp.541-549.
  3. Genevay, S. and Atlas, S.J., 2010. Lumbar spinal stenosis. Best practice & research Clinical rheumatology24(2), pp.253-265.
  4. Lurie, J. and Tomkins-Lane, C., 2016. Management of lumbar spinal stenosis. Bmj352.
  5. Lee, S.Y., Kim, T.H., Oh, J.K., Lee, S.J. and Park, M.S., 2015. Lumbar stenosis: a recent update by review of literature. Asian spine journal9(5), p.818.
  6. Papavero, L., Ebert, S. and Marques, C.J., 2020. The prevalence of redundant nerve roots in patients with lumbar spinal stenosis is body position dependent: a retrospective observational study with repeated measures design in an upright MRI scanner. Neuroradiology62(8), pp.979-985.
  7. Backstrom, K.M., Whitman, J.M. and Flynn, T.W., 2011. Lumbar spinal stenosis-diagnosis and management of the aging spine. Manual therapy16(4), pp.308-317.
  8. Spector, L.R., Madigan, L., Rhyne, A., Bruce Darden, I.I. and Kim, D., 2008. Cauda equina syndrome. JAAOS-Journal of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons16(8), pp.471-479.
**As a service to our readers, Axial Chairs provides access to our library of archived content. Please note the date of the last review or update on all articles. No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinicians.
Dr Lawrence Woods DC

Dr Lawrence Woods DC

Founder

My goal is to create the highest quality ergonomic office chairs and accessories for unmatched comfort.

With 30 years of spinal healthcare experience in Ireland as a chiropractor, I learned the value of high-quality sitting for living a happy and healthy life.

I have a Chiropractic Degree from Life Chiropractic College West and I am NBCE Physiotherapy certified.

 

Dr Lawrence Woods

My goal is to create the highest quality ergonomic office chairs and accessories for unmatched comfort. With 30 years of spinal healthcare experience as a chiropractor, I learned the value of high-quality sleep for living a happy and healthy life. I have a Chiropractic Degree from Life Chiropractic College West and am NBCE Physiotherapy certified.

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