Could a Lumbar Support Cause Back Pain?

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A Chiropractor Explains How a Lumbar Support Could Cause Back Pain

Most office chairs now come supplied with adjustable lumbar support. If not, you’ve probably brought an additional one to increase your comfort and decrease your back pain. However, some people notice that their back pain increases due to the lumbar support. But does lumbar support even cause back pain?  

A lumbar support will only cause back pain if it’s misused. A common mistake many people encounter is putting the support too high. From this, you put additional pressure on your back muscles, nerves, and blood vessels, decreasing blood circulation and increasing back pain.  

Needless to say, lumbar supports are excellent and were designed precisely to target back pain. In all cases, they’re meant to reduce the pain a user is feeling and help support them while they’re sitting. They achieve this with ease, and if you’re expecting pain, it’s probably because you’re using it incorrectly. 

If you want to know how to use a lumbar support correctly so you can avoid back pain, I recommend reading the below. 

How to Correctly use a Lumbar Support 

Lumbar supports come in two different types. They’re typically built into a chair, or you purchase them as a pillow. Either way, both options are meant to support your lower back by naturally allowing you to rest your body in a curved position. This decreases the amount of pressure that builds up in your lower back and helps support your hips, shoulders, neck, and much more. 

However, you’re only able to achieve optimal results if you implement a lumbar support correctly. Want to achieve this? Read below: 

Shop Around 

First things first, you’ll want to shop around. Although all lumbar support pillows and chairs are great, not all are best suited for your body composition. Because of this, it’s ideal to “test drive” them first before you make the purchase. 

Take into consideration their hardness, comfortability, positioning, bulkiness, etc. This will ultimately determine whether or not that specific type of lumbar support is suitable for you. 

Lumbar Support Positioning 

Once you’ve finalized your decision and have obtained a lumbar support, you’ll now want to install it on your chair correctly. In this example, we’re going to use an office chair. 

First, secure the lumbar support onto the chair. You’ll want to achieve this by ensuring the curved side is facing your back and the straight side is placed on the chair. All lumbar supports looks similar. Because of this, I recommend the most curved side at the bottom of your back. 

Before finalizing your positioning, be sure to test how it feels. Do this by sitting at your desk for five minutes, just roughly moving the way you usually would daily. If it feels supportive and comfortable, leave it there. If not, adjust it up and down until you find an optimal position. 

Your Sitting Positioning 

man sitting at desk with poor posture and back pain

Now you’ve found your ideal lumbar support positioning, you’ll now want to ensure you’re sitting correctly. Without a doubt, most people that suggest that lumbar supports are useless or not practical tend not to be sitting correctly in the first place. 

Remember, if you’ve been sitting poorly for an extended period of your life, fixing your posture may be uncomfortable. But over time, your posture will fix itself and be much more beneficial. 

To achieve an optimal seating position while you have a lumbar support on your chair, you’ll need to consider the below: 

  • Sit right back on your chair, and allow the lumbar support to hold your spine 
  • Always remember to sit upright and never slouch. This can be difficult, but you need to be disciplined and reposition yourself upright every time you slouch.
  • Ensure that both feet are flat on the floor. This will massively decrease the pressure in your hips and lower back. 
  • You should also guarantee that both your knees and hips are at a 90-degree angle. For both, this is the most comfortable and safest position. 
  • Try to put your pelvis, shoulders, and head into alignment. From this, it’ll also help promote the natural inward curvature your spine has. 

Including the above, always be sure to take regular breaks and stretch. Sometimes that’s what you’re body needs, a good-old stretch. Ideally, you’ll want to do this once every hour, depending on your schedule. 

Benefits of Correctly Using a Lumbar Support 

Now you understand how to use a lumbar support correctly to motivate you that little bit more to implement the above. Here are some benefits of implementing a lumbar support correctly: 

Reduce Neck and Back Pain 

After sitting poorly in a chair, you’ll start to develop neck and back pain. After a while, this pain can continue to occur during your daily activities. Needless to say, it’s essential to implement such things as lumbar supports to reduce this from happening. 

When you use a lumber support, it primarily aims to support your lower back. However, with the additional support here, your neck also benefits because the spine is now straight. This means there’s less pressure on the neck and shoulder muscles to balance your head. 

Prevents Further Damages 

If you haven’t already got a lumbar support, the best time to start using one is today. From this, you’ll prevent any further damages you may be causing your spine. Remember, you only get one spine, so you need to take extreme care of it. 

As a result of back, shoulder, or neck pain from sitting, never resort to painkillers. Instead, find a solution like a lumbar support pillow or chair, and prevent the issue rather than trying to mask it.  

Improves Posture 

A lumbar support is designed to force your body into a more natural and posture-approved position. After a while of using a lumbar support, you may find yourself having much better posture while sitting and standing. 

Although it’s recommended to use a lumbar support, you may even find yourself not needing one when your body has adjusted to it. 

Final Thought

After reading, you should now be aware if lumbar supports can cause back pain. As you’re aware, they can. However, you’ll only ever encounter this if you don’t set up the support correctly. To save yourself having to guess yourself, we’ve mentioned expert ways to set up your lumbar support. 



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Dr Lawrence Woods DC

Dr Lawrence Woods DC


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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