As a physician, one of the most common complaints I hear from patients is about lumbar supports not being comfortable for them. Patients often wonder why they don’t feel any relief when sitting with the proper back support in place. The simple answer isn’t that straightforward though – it takes some investigation to understand why lumbar support can be uncomfortable and what measures we can take to make it more tolerable. In this post, we will dive into figuring out why your lumbar support might not be as comfortable as you’d like it to be and provide tips on how a chiropractor can help improve the efficacy of your lumbar support!
As a general rule, lumbar support can feel uncomfortable for a variety of reasons, including improper adjustment, poor design, or a medical condition. A poorly designed lumbar support can cause discomfort by adding pressure or restricting movement. Medical conditions such as arthritis or herniated discs can also contribute to discomfort.
With over 30 years of practice, and training as an ergonomist and author on sitting, I’m well-equipped to provide valuable insights. My contributions to this field have been well-received, with TV appearances, my Youtube channel, and a successful Kickstarter campaign for my ergonomic seat cushions. If you’re searching for answers for your lumbar support causing pain, I’m confident that I can offer meaningful guidance.
Why Does Lumbar Support Feel Uncomfortable?
Now, I know how you feel. You’ve invested in that fancy chair with ‘lumbar support’ promised on the label, yet here you are, wincing in discomfort. What’s the deal, right? Well, it’s not entirely your chair’s fault.
In my clinical experience, I’ve observed that often, the real culprit is an imbalance in our spinal alignment and core strength. Lumbar support can feel uncomfortable if you have underlying issues, such as poor posture or a weak core, and are not used to maintaining the correct spinal alignment. It’s like wearing high heels for the first time; it feels awkward and uncomfortable until your body gets used to it.
If you’re struggling with back pain, I wrote an article on how to manage your pain and why you should do these important steps and I encourage you to read it!
Understanding Your Spinal Alignment
Let’s talk about your spinal alignment. Picture a string of pearls, beautifully straight and aligned. Now imagine if one pearl is slightly off – the whole string looks out of whack, doesn’t it? The same applies to your spine.
Each vertebra in your spine has a role, and when one isn’t playing its part, the whole team suffers. The discomfort you feel with lumbar support might just be your spine’s cry for help to get back in alignment.
The Role of a Balanced and Strong Core
Here’s the thing: our bodies are smarter than we give them credit for. If one area is weak or out of balance, other areas step up to compensate. It’s teamwork at its finest, but there’s a downside. Over time, these compensating areas can become overworked and lead to discomfort or even injury. That’s where your core comes into play.
A balanced and strong core is like a natural corset that supports your spine, and when it’s weak, the lumbar region takes on the extra load. If you’re not used to this, then sitting in a chair with lumbar support can feel like an unpleasant workout.
How Can I Make My Chair Ergonomic?
When it comes to creating an ergonomic workstation, there are a number of factors to consider. One of the most important is to make sure your chair is properly adjusted to fit your body. This can be done in several ways, such as adding an ergonomic seat cushion and lumbar support. These inserts will take pressure off of your back and legs, helping to provide comfort and improve posture during extended periods at the desk. Other considerations include keeping your feet flat on the ground and maintaining good spacing between your chair and desk. With these tips in mind, you can transform any ordinary office chair into an ergonomic masterpiece that will help protect your health and well-being for years to come.
I explain the concept of my ergonomic design on a TV show HERE
Ergonomic Seat Cushion
You can use the ergonomic seat wedge (above) to align your spine and improve balance. This will help strengthen core muscles while relieving tension in other parts of our bodies, for example, our shoulders and neck! As well, it’s easier on both your hips and knees if you’re sitting upright because this position works for more muscle groups at once as opposed to sitting back comfortably against something soft – which is precisely what happens when people do these subconscious activities at work without realizing how stress-inducing they were.
All Day Comfort & Support
How to Make Lumbar Support More Comfortable
So, how do we turn this discomfort into a comforting experience? Remember the first time you did a plank? Your core probably screamed in protest, but as you kept at it, it got easier. The same principle applies here.
I always recommend my patients to start with gentle core-strengthening exercises. As your core becomes stronger, it will naturally improve your posture and spinal alignment, making the lumbar support of your chair feel less like a torture device and more like the supportive friend it’s meant to be.
Axial Ergonomic Seat Cushion® | Seat Chair Wedge
Quick Guide: A 30-Second Summary
Axial Ergonomic Seat Cushion® | Seat Chair Wedge
Embracing the Discomfort
In conclusion, if your lumbar support feels uncomfortable, it may be a sign that your body is trying to adjust to a healthier posture. Embrace the discomfort, but remember – if the discomfort turns into pain, it’s time to seek professional help.
Remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither is a strong core. So take it slow, listen to your body, and before you know it, you and your lumbar-supporting chair will be the best of friends. Your spine will thank you.
All Day Comfort & Support
Axial Designs™ Seat Cushion
100% Natural Latex (Molded)
Isometric Grippy Vegan Leather
3D Breathable Fabric
Why Does Lumbar Support Hurt My Back?
I know how you feel. You’ve invested in that premium office chair with all the bells and whistles, including the much-touted lumbar support. And now, instead of cradling your back in blissful comfort, it feels like there’s a mischievous gnome jabbing you in the spine. Why on earth is this happening?
Let’s break it down. Lumbar support is designed to maintain the natural curvature of your lower back, thus promoting good posture and minimizing strain. But here’s the kicker – not all backs are the same. If your lumbar support is not adjusted correctly to fit your unique spinal alignment, it can actually cause more harm than good. Picture this – a well-meaning friend giving you a bear hug when all you needed was a gentle pat on the back. Ouch, right?
In my clinical experience, lumbar discomfort often stems from one of two issues: improper positioning or over-reliance on the support. We’ll delve into these next.
Where Should Lumbar Support Be On Your Back?
Now, let’s talk about the sweet spot for that lumbar support. It’s not rocket science, but it does require a bit of anatomical know-how. The lumbar region is the lower part of your spine, typically spanning the last five vertebrae. This is where your lumbar support should be nestling.
Think of it like a friendly squirrel, sitting snugly in the curve of your lower back. Too high, and it’s like the squirrel’s trying to climb up your back – uncomfortable. Too low, and it’s like the squirrel’s lost and can’t find its way home – ineffective.
Where Should Lumbar Support Be Reddit?
Ah, the mysteries of Reddit. You may have come across a multitude of Reddit threads on this topic, each one seemingly contradicting the last. To clear up the confusion, the aforementioned squirrel analogy holds. The lumbar support should sit comfortably in the hollow of your lower back.
I was surprised at how cheap the similar seat cushions were on Aliexpress from the listing on Amazon!
However, bear in mind that everyone’s anatomy is unique. What works for one Redditor might not work for you. So, if you’re feeling discomfort, don’t hesitate to experiment with positioning or even consult a professional – like your friendly neighborhood chiropractor.
How to Position Lumbar Support on Chair?
This part can be a bit tricky, but stick with me. First, sit down on your chair and scoot your buttocks as far back as they can go. This ensures that your back is flush against the backrest. Now, adjust the height of the lumbar support so it fits into the curve of your lower back.
Remember, the goal here is to maintain the natural curvature of your spine while seated. It’s like your spine is doing a graceful salsa dance with the chair, and the lumbar support is the dance partner that’s got your back – literally!
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.
If you’re finding it hard to get the positioning right, don’t fret. It may take a few attempts to find your sweet spot. And always remember, a balanced and strong core is just as important as correct posture when sitting.
Too Much Lumbar Support in Car?
So, you’re hitting the open road, and suddenly, it feels like there’s a boulder lodged in your back. Sounds like a case of too much lumbar support in the car. Yes, there is such a thing as too much of a good thing. This typically happens when the lumbar support in your car seat is too pronounced or stiff, pushing your spine into an unnatural position. It’s like trying to fit a square peg in a round hole – it just doesn’t work. To fix this, try reducing the amount of lumbar support if your car seat allows it.
Companies selling lumbar supports need to consider the importance of comfortability. It’s important that we make customers aware of the fact that one specific product may not always suit the needs of the individual. The goal should be to take away their worries and make them feel comfortable with their purchases.
Chiropractors have an important role to play in understanding people’s posture, suggesting the right type of lumbar support, and also correcting it whenever necessary. This can be done through a thorough assessment of an individual’s medical history, physical examinations, and imaging studies. If you are looking for lumbar support, please consult with your chiropractor before making a decision; they will help ensure that you get the best results in terms of comfort and protection for your back.