Is Lumbar Support Bad for You?

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There’s no denying that lumbar support is a great feature to have in a chair. It can help protect your back and keep you comfortable during long days at work. But is lumbar support bad for you? Some experts believe it can be, especially if you’re not using it correctly. Keep reading to learn more about the potential risks of lumbar support and how to avoid them.

As a general rule, lumbar support may be harmful if it does not fit precisely to the contours of your own body, which can throw your spine out of alignment and strain other parts of your body. Lumbar support can weaken your core muscles over time by taking your core muscles out of the equation. 

Deciding if lumbar support is right for you is an important topic. I have some simple solutions for you! My YouTube channel, 30 years of Chiropractic practice, trained ergonomist, published book, engineered solutions, and successful Kickstarter campaign make me an expert on this subject!

What Is Lumbar Support and Why Do People Use It?

the best lumbar support cushion

Lumbar support is a term used to describe the support that helps alleviate lower back pain. It can come in a pillow, mattress, or belt. People use lumbar support for various reasons, but the most common cause is to help relieve pain. Lumbar support can help take the pressure off the spine and muscles in the lower back, providing relief from pain. In addition, lumbar support can also help to improve posture and prevent further injury. For these reasons, lumbar support is often used by people who suffer from chronic back pain or recovering from an injury.

The Benefits of Lumbar Support

lumbar back support with 2 straps

Many people suffer from back pain, and it can be debilitating. Many products on the market claim relief, but lumbar support is one of the most effective. Lumbar support helps maintain the spine’s natural curve and can use in both seated and standing positions. Additionally, lumbar support helps distribute weight evenly, which can help to reduce strain on the back muscles. While many different types of lumbar support are available, a simple foam cushion can be just as adequate as a more expensive model. For best results, look for a natural latex lumbar support that is adjustable so that you can customize the fit. Regular lumbar support can help improve your posture and alleviate back pain.

How to Correct Your Posture While Sitting

People rarely think about their posture until they experience pain in their backs or necks. Poor posture, however, can cause numerous health issues, including headaches, muscle strain, and fatigue. You can do a few simple things to improve your posture and reduce your risk of back pain.

seat cushion piriformis

You can reduce muscle strain by sitting on an ergonomic seat wedge (above) to align your spine.  I explain the concept of my design on a TV show HERE. Unlocking your knees helps you engage your core muscles and improve your balance. The last step is to sleep on an orthopedic mattress to prevent stiffness and pain. Instead of complacently adapting to a life of poor posture and back pain, you can take these steps to promote better posture.

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

 

The Risks of Using Lumbar Support

risks of lumbar supports

Lumbar support is often touted as a valuable tool for preventing lower back pain, but there are certain risks associated with its use. First and foremost, many lumbar supports rely on rigid materials that may exacerbate existing pain. Additionally, relying too heavily on lumbar support can lead to muscle weakness, particularly in the core muscles crucial for supporting the spine. Furthermore, overuse of lumbar support can prevent people from retraining their bodies to properly position themselves while sitting or standing, leaving them more prone to musculoskeletal problems in the long run. Clearly, before opting for lumbar support, it is essential to consider all potential risks and side effects associated with its use.

How to Use Lumbar Support Safely and Effectively

how to use lumbar support correctly

Chiropractors often recommend lumbar support as a way to relieve lower back pain. When used correctly, lumbar support can help take the strain off your back muscles and allow your spine to rest in its natural position. However, it is essential to use lumbar support correctly to avoid further injury. When first using lumbar support, start wearing it for short periods, such as 15-20 minutes. As you get used to the support, you can gradually increase the amount of time you wear it. It is also essential to make sure that the support is positioned correctly. You should align with the top of your hipbones, and the back of the support should fit snugly against your lower back. With proper use, lumbar support can be an effective way to reduce lower back pain.

Is Too Much Lumbar Support Bad?

too much lumbar support

Most people would agree that some lumbar support is necessary to maintain good posture and avoid back pain. However, there is debate about how much support is too much. Some experts believe that too much lumbar support can cause back pain by weakening the spine’s muscles. They argue that it is better to maintain a more natural position and let the spine work. Other experts believe that too much lumbar support can lead to slouching and poor posture. They argue that moderate support is necessary to stay comfortable and avoid strain on the back. Ultimately, it is up to each individual to decide how much lumbar support they need.

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 Lumbar Support Healthy?

is a lumbar support healthy

There is a lot of debate about the health benefits of lumbar support in both workout settings and everyday life. Some argue that lumbar support will help improve your posture, reduce aches and pains, and prevent injury. However, others claim that having too much support weakens your core muscles, forcing your body into bad habits. Ultimately, the jury is still unsure whether lumbar support is good or bad for you. There are plenty of studies that show both positive and negative effects. Therefore, when choosing whether or not to use lumbar support, the best advice seems to be to listen to your own body and do what works for you. After all, what might be unhealthy for one person could be perfectly healthy for another. So try out different options, experiment with different lumbar supports, and find what feels best for you!

How Much Lumbar Support Is Too Much?

Lumbar support is designed to relieve pain and discomfort in the lower back. It does this by providing support for the spine and keeping the back aligned. Various lumbar supports are available on the market, ranging from simple cushion inserts to complex ergonomic chairs. So, how much lumbar support is too much? Ideally, lumbar support should be customized to each individual. However, there are a few general guidelines that can follow. For example, lumbar supports should be positioned to support the spine’s natural curve. They should also be firm enough to provide support without being uncomfortable. In addition, lumbar supports should be adjustable to be tailored to the needs of each person. By following these guidelines, you can ensure that you get the right lumbar support for your needs.

Are Back Supports Bad for Your Back?

are back braces bad for your back

Despite their popularity, there is some debate about using back supports. Some proponents claim that they can help relieve pain and improve posture, while others argue that they can do more harm than good. There is some evidence to support both sides of the argument. For instance, one study found that participants who used back support experienced less low back pain than those who did not use one. However, another study found that people who wore back supports were more likely to experience muscle weakness and reduced range of motion. As with many things, the jury is still out on whether or not back supports are genuinely beneficial. Ultimately, it may be best to consult a chiropractor or physical therapist before using one.

Where Should I Put My Lumbar Support?

where to put lumbar support

There are vital factors to remember when finding the best place to put your lumbar support. You will want to choose a location that keeps your spine in a natural neutral position as you sit. This should be where your lower back is supported but not over-extended. Additionally, it’s important to choose somewhere close enough to quickly reach and adjust as needed. Some people find it helpful to place their lumbar support on their office chair or car seat to compare and modify it any time they need to quickly. Ultimately, finding the right place for your lumbar support is assessing your needs and preferences and making adjustments accordingly. Listed below are three of the best places to place your lumbar support if you are struggling with back pain while sitting: 

  • behind the chair and slightly downward
  • adjustable desk chairs with lumbar supports at the mid-back/neck region
  • under the desk chair while seated in a forward-leaning position

No matter where you decide to put your lumbar support, the key is to ensure that it provides optimal support and comfort.

What Does a Compressed Spine Feel Like?

what a compressed spine feels like

A compressed spine can feel like a crushing weight on your shoulders. It can make standing up straight or even moving your arms difficult. The pain can be sharp or dull and might radiate down your arms or legs. You might also feel numbness or tingling in your extremities. In severe cases, a compressed spine can cause paralysis. If you suspect a compressed spine, you must see a doctor immediately. Only an X-ray or MRI can confirm the diagnosis. Once the diagnosis is confirmed, your chiropractor will develop a treatment plan to relieve your pain and improve your mobility. With proper treatment, most people with a compressed spine can enjoy a good quality of life.

Why Is Lumbar Support Uncomfortable?

The main reason why lumbar support is often uncomfortable is due to poor design or poor materials. If the support is not structured correctly, it may not provide adequate support, resulting in pain or aching in the spine. Additionally, if the materials used to create the support are too stiff or inflexible, they may not contour appropriately to the body, resulting in discomfort and irritation. Finally, even if the lumbar support is well-designed and made from appropriate materials, it can still be uncomfortable if misused. This lack of comfort might include using the support for too long without taking breaks, positioning it incorrectly on one’s body, or simply failing to use it properly. Consider these factors if you’re looking for lumbar support that relieves back pain.

Does Lumbar Support Help Sciatica?

woman suffering with sciatica seated

Yes, lumbar support may help alleviate the symptoms of sciatica. Sciatica is a condition that causes pain and numbness in the lower back and legs, which is often caused by compression or irritation of the sciatic nerve in the lower back. Lumbar support may help relieve this pressure by providing targeted support for the lumbar region, helping to keep the spine aligned correctly while reducing strain on the muscles. Additionally, since it may worsen sciatic pain by sitting or standing for long periods, lumbar support allows people to adjust their posture and reduce discomfort when sitting or standing. Overall, when used correctly and with good design, this tool can be an effective way to soothe sciatica symptoms.

I’ve written a complete hands-on review about the best sitting position for sciatica, and here is what I tested best with my sciatica patients.

Does Everyone Need Lumbar Support?

Most people have experienced back pain at some point in their lives. It is one of the most common reasons for missed work days and doctor visits. While there are many potential causes of back pain, poor posture and improper ergonomics are among the most common. As a result, many people use lumbar support products to alleviate their back pain. But do these products work?

There is no definitive answer to this question. Some research suggests that lumbar support products can help reduce back pain, while other studies have found no apparent benefit. The effectiveness of these products may depend on the individual. For example, someone with severe back pain may find relief from a lumbar support product, while someone with milder symptoms may not notice any difference. Ultimately, it is up to each person to decide whether or not to use a lumbar support product. If you are suffering from back pain, one of these products may be worth trying to see if it provides relief.

Does Lumbar Support Help Lower Back Pain?

There is no doubt that lumbar support may help to alleviate lower back pain. Many studies have found that the correct placement and use of supports can reduce strain and discomfort, allowing the back to be more comfortable over long periods. This effect is likely due to how lumbar supports redistribute and balanced body weight, taking pressure away from the joints and muscles in the lower back. Additionally, lumbar supports may stimulate nerve endings in the spine, causing a release of endorphins and other natural painkillers. Overall, it seems clear that lumbar support for lower back pain may help provide some much-needed relief.

Will a Back Brace Help a Pinched Nerve?

woman suffering with sciatica seated

In my opinion, the answer is no. I have found that back braces do not work for this condition. The reason is that a back brace does not address the underlying problem. A back brace supports the spine and does not take pressure off the nerves. I have found that physical therapy is the best way to treat a pinched nerve. Physical therapy can help to stretch and strengthen the muscles around the nerve. This treatment may take the pressure off the nerve and help speed up healing. I recommend you talk to your chiropractor about physical therapy as a treatment option for your pinched nerve.

Does a Back Brace Help a Bulging Disc?

man herniated disc sitting office chair

A back brace is commonly thought to be an effective treatment for a bulging disc, but in my experience, they are not very helpful. The reason is that a back brace prevents the spine from moving, leading to further stiffness and discomfort. Additionally, a back brace does not address the underlying problem of a bulging disc, usually caused by weak abdominal muscles. As a result, I generally do not recommend back braces for treating bulging discs. Instead, I recommend exercises that strengthen the abdominal muscles and improve flexibility. These exercises can help reduce the discs’ pressure and alleviate pain.

Summary

Lumbar support can be inadequate for your back if you’re not using it correctly. Improper use of lumbar support can cause pain in your neck and shoulders and other health problems. Adjust your chair’s lumbar support to fit appropriately, and don’t put too much strain on your body.

If you experience pain or discomfort while using lumbar support, stop using it immediately and consult a health expert. The lumbar support should never cause pain or discomfort; if it does, something is wrong with how you use it. Always speak to a chiropractor or physical therapist if you have concerns about how lumbar support affects your health.

 

 

Sources:

  1. Thoumie, P., Drape, J.L., Aymard, C. and Bedoiseau, M., 1998. Effects of a lumbar support on spine posture and motion assessed by electrogoniometer and recording. Clinical biomechanics13(1), pp.18-26.
  2. Coleman, N., Hull, B.P. and Ellitt, G., 1998. An empirical study of preferred settings for lumbar support on adjustable office chairs. Ergonomics41(4), pp.401-419.
  3. Makhsous, M., Lin, F., Bankard, J., Hendrix, R.W., Hepler, M. and Press, J., 2009. Biomechanical effects of sitting with adjustable ischial and lumbar support on occupational low back pain: evaluation of sitting load and back muscle activity. BMC musculoskeletal disorders10(1), pp.1-11.
  4. Snijders, C.J., Hermans, P.F., Niesing, R., Spoor, C.W. and Stoeckart, R., 2004. The influence of slouching and lumbar support on iliolumbar ligaments, intervertebral discs and sacroiliac joints. Clinical Biomechanics19(4), pp.323-329.
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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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