Do Seat Wedges Work?

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Do Seat Wedges Work?

The pandemic has caused more Americans to work from home, so they have been setting up home offices or using dining rooms so that they can work from home. It may not be completely ideal, as if you have sat for so long that your body gets accustomed to that position, you may experience backaches. With a simple adjustment, a wedge could be an affordable solution for posture problems as well as improving comfort- all for those who are at risk of developing aches and pains.

As a general rule, a natural latex seat wedge works for back pain as it provides spinal stability and comfort. It will help you distribute your weight evenly if you use a latex seat wedge. As a result, your spine will not be overloaded, since the pressure is evenly distributed among the vertebrae. 

As a chiropractor with thirty years’ experience designing seat wedges and treating back pain, let me explain why seat wedges work.  You will follow logical steps when choosing an appropriate cushion that will provide pain relief and comfort all day long. As a back pain specialist, I have helped individuals just like you alleviate their symptoms. Hence, this article will hopefully help you get the help you need if you take a few minutes to read it.

man sitting on posture wedge

Foam sitting wedges are used to improve posture and make office chairs, dining chairs, or any firm base chair more comfortable. With these shapes, you can sit upright more easily without putting excessive pressure on your back because the seat slopes downward.

Sitting Wedges: How Do They Work?

A sitting wedge will create a better sitting surface and increase the angle between your torso and your upper leg. A wedge will definitely provide you with a better sitting environment, but you will still need to sit up straight while using it. As a result, you will sit correctly when you use it. As your pelvis is tilted forward, the inward curve in your lower spine is improved. By sitting more upright, you will allow your weight to be distributed more naturally and you will minimise stress on the joints, discs, and ligaments of your spine.

good vs bad seating posture wedge

Sitting wedges: What Are The Benefits?

Your posture will be improved by utilizing a sitting wedge, which will push your pelvis forward and encourage your spine to remain upright. Additionally, using a wedge can improve your core stability, ease back pain and improve your posture, particularly when you’re sitting for lengthy periods of time.

The following are some benefits of sitting wedge cushions:

  • Relieve lower back pain
  • Perfect for arthritis sufferers
  • Relieve sciatica
  • Support and comfort for the pelvis
  • Posture improvement
  • Reduced pressure on the stomach and other organs
  • Coccyx injury pain 
  • Supports those with scoliosis 
  • Suitable for those with osteoporosis

The Benefit of Seat Wedges for Back Pain

Whenever you experience back pain, you should try to eliminate the causes. Throughout the years, I have observed too many doctors, trainers, and therapists merely advising back pain patients to do exercises at the office.  

Surely, exercising should be your go-to for back pain? Exercise usually makes your pain worse. Is that something you’ve noticed? Another way to look at this is if you have an out of alignment front end, would you drive your car harder and faster? I don’t think so, of course. In doing so, you may damage your vehicle more severely and cause more significant problems.

young woman with back pain

You should take some time to explain the structural changes in your back before you seek treatment. There might be a variety of reasons that cause your back pain, including lifestyle changes, posture problems, etc. Rather than a result of the body’s normal movement patterns, this type of pain results from abnormal motor control patterns. As an example, in modern times, there are many people suffering from intolerant backs due to flexion (bending forward). The use of a seat cushion can help prevent that.

Hunching forward, flexing your neck, and even bending over to pick something up can make you feel more pain and impede your healing. So you must identify your exact pain triggers so that you can avoid them to ensure your muscles, joints, and discs recover entirely.

Seat Cushions Help Spinal Stability

Stability is often an issue with ‘ergonomic’ or ‘orthopaedic’ office chairs that are designed to help with back pain. In addition to a balanced body, a non-stable spine should also be addressed. It may be difficult for unstable spines to deal with rotation, bending, and compression.

When the anterior chain (front) and posterior chain (back) muscles are balanced, the spine will be strong and healthy. The concentration of effort on a single muscle usually has a detrimental effect on strength and stability because it creates patterns that result in that level of instability. In a  discussion of the best back pain office chair cushion, it is essential to take this point into consideration. 

In addition to strengthening muscles and increasing range of motion, some forms of therapy focus on the spine as well. The downside of too much flexibility is that this can lead to further back problems for people who have too much flexibility. 

Having strong muscles may be beneficial, but if you lack the control or endurance to repeat the exact movement over and over, then you are more at risk. Interestingly, I’ve found that dysfunctions in movement and movement patterns might even be more critical than exercise. Often, people suffering from back pain use their backs incorrectly and more often.  People who sit, stand, or move incorrectly are putting additional weight on their backs, which increases their pain levels. Paradoxically, this means they may have more motion and strength in the back while having less motion and load in the hips. The point I will raise point again in this article when I describe the types of seat wedges.

Seat wedge cushions that work best

The first type of cushion I do not recommend is the memory foam cushion. Gel foam, memory foam, polyurethane foam, and polyurethane foam are some examples of these. There are a number of reasons for this:

Memory Foam Seat Wedge Cushions (2/5) ☆☆☆★★

wrong memory foam for hip replacement

There are several reasons why memory foam shouldn’t be used as a seat wedge cushion:

  • Insufficient Responsiveness.  A responsive cushion will relieve your back pain. Foam’s responsiveness relates to how quickly and to what degree it reacts to pressure. As a result of memory foam’s inflexibility, I feel it is ineffective in alleviating back pain.
  • Retains Heat. As a result of its high heat retention rate, memory foam can be uncomfortable when seated for some individuals.
  • Chemicals!  Polyurethane is a type of polyurethane produced by refining crude oil. The memory foam we use contains chemicals such as PVC, antimony trioxide, polyurethane, and formaldehyde.
  • Fire retardants are too numerous

Gel Foam Seat Wedge Cushions

Gel cushions consist of polymer pieces that can be flat or contoured. The gels do not flow or move like liquid gels, so they are not damaged if their plastic container ruptures.

Cooling Gel Cushion Wedge and Memory Foam Cushion Wedge Combinations (1/5) ☆☆☆☆★

memory foam seat cushion with gel cooling cushion

There are few shock absorbers and pressure reducers in most gel slabs sold today, and they lack the flow of liquid gels.

Gel Honeycomb Cushions (3/5) ☆☆★★★

gel seat cushion with red cross on top of it

As we tested Gel cushions on hundreds of patients, we found that they did not offer much pressure point relief or comfort. The honeycomb-style gel cushions didn’t feel good to any of our customers!

Natural Latex Foam Seat Wedges is Best Choice (5/5) ★★★★★

seat cushion for heavy people

Natural latex was deemed to be the most effective material for seating after a comparison of different materials. The following are the reasons:

  • Spinal Alignment.  With the cushion, your lower body will be naturally aligned as the heavier parts sink into the latex and the lighter parts are kept free. Natural latex cushions help relax your muscles and ligaments while improving blood circulation since they distribute pressure evenly.  
  • Pressure Relief. Natural latex can also align your spine and alleviate pressure points.
  • Resilient.  The typical natural latex seat cushion prevents you from sinking into it too much after a certain point and gives you some rebound when you sit on it. Natural latex is unique in this respect. 
  • Customizable.  I was able to design countless products due to the versatility of natural latex, which is why I enjoy chiropractic and ergonomics so much. 
  • Eco-Friendly/Non-Toxic.  In contrast with memory foam cushions, natural latex seats are all-natural and contain no chemicals. 
  • Good air circulation.  Compared to many traditional memory foams (made from petrochemicals), latex foam can be more comfortable.
  • It is anti-microbial.  Latex’s natural resistance to bacteria, moulds, and dust mites implies that these organisms cannot grow on the material. The device offers a healthy working environment while also being anti-fungal and anti-bacterial. 

What Shape Seat Cushion Is Best?

thespinery.com latex seat posture cushion

 

Some seat cushions better serve your back than others. If you want a well-designed seat cushion, consider these factors:

  • Your bony prominences in your buttocks have the first contact with the cushion when you sit down. The use of cushions that reduce pressure points redistributes pressure away from sharp points in the pelvis, reducing low back pain when we sit! 
  • Seat cushions change shape when you sit down. In general, the soft foam compresses more readily and “bottoms out.”
  • Your seat cushion is made of multi-density foam so that it can give you a feeling of support while dispersing pressure. An additional layer of comfort should be placed on top of a firm foundation. It is essential to do this!
  • Cushions that conform to your body shape are very comfortable. The hips and knees should slope downward so as to increase the trunk-to-thigh proportion, which will provide adequate support for bony prominences.
  • Seat cushions should stabilize your spine as you sit and engage your core. Dispersing your weight over your core, not your spine, makes you more comfortable. As a result, you will load your hips and move from them as you sit, thus stabilizing your spinal column.
  • The wedges are more comfortable and prevent aching joints. Sitting on an ergonomic wedge supports the body naturally and reduces discomfort from prolonged periods spent at the computer. 

How Do Sitting Wedges Work?

Using a wedge cushion while sitting will help you reduce back pain. You will be more likely to be in alignment with your upper legs and torso if you use a sitting wedge. Cushions are also designed to make your spine more inward, and they tilt your pelvis forward as well. It will decrease stress on your spine, stabilize your spine through weight distribution, and allow you to sit upright easier without putting too much strain on your joints, discs, and ligaments.

before and after seat wedge

A seat angle between 8 degrees and 13 degrees depends on how you sit. For patients with back problems or if they have never sat like this before, it can be helpful to sit for a short time at first, and then gradually increase the duration of time spent on the seat as the muscles in your back strengthen. 

Your use of the sitting wedge relieved the coccyx of its problematic load, removing the pressure there. It will be possible to sit without feeling uncomfortable if you do that.

Takeaway

One of the most common complaints about those who work from home is back pain. This can be due to sitting in one position for too long, which changes your posture and causes aches and pains. With a simple adjustment- like using a wedge under your desk or chair- you may feel better, have more comfort, and reduce the risk of developing many other health problems related to poor posture

Ergonomic information is necessary when setting up an office at home so that you don’t develop any negative effects later on down the road. For more useful guidance on ergonomics visit our blog!

 

**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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