Lumbar support in an office chair helps to support your back. Also, it helps you maintain a natural curvature for your spine as you sit. Without proper lumbar support, we lean forward or slouch, which leads to poor posture and lower back pain. Thus, lumbar support is one of the most crucial things to consider when shopping for an ergonomic office chair.
The following tips can help you choose the right lumbar support for your office chair:
- A lumbar depth between 0.6” and 2” is ideal for most people.
- Females have increased curvature in their lower back and often need more prominent lumbar support in chairs.
- People with higher BMI need taller lumbar support targeting their upper back.
Positioning lumbar support correctly can maintain correct ears, shoulders, and pelvis alignment. Also, it maintains neutral inward curvature of the lower spine. Let’s now dive into the 4 most common types of lumbar support for chairs on the market and their pros and cons.
Adjustable Lumbar Support for Office Chairs
Adjustable lumbar support allows manual adjustment of the lumbar support area to fit your curvature and the depth of your spinal curvature. Today, office chairs allow many levels of adjustable lumbar support, these include:
- Height adjustments. This allows you to adjust the height or location of the lumbar support to target specific areas on your back.
- Depth adjustments. This enables you to control how much the lumbar support area protrudes outwards.
- Firmness adjustments. Using a knob, you can control the firmness of the lumbar support area.
The best type of adjustable lumbar support has two or three of the above features. The autonomous ErgoChair 2 allows you to control exactly how much lumbar support you need from your office chair. This ergonomic office chair also features a flexible lumbar support system, which uses a simple handle to unlock the right pressure to help you maintain a healthy posture regardless of your body type.
Fixed Lumbar Support System for Office Chairs
This lumbar support system is fixed into the backrest, and you can’t reposition or change it. It’s common on the lower end or leather office chairs.
A fixed lumbar system is better than having no dedicated lumbar support at all in your office chair. However, because each person’s spinal curvature is unique, this lumbar system could be counterproductive, especially if the lumbar support is positioned incorrectly or protruding too little or too much for the individual.
Dynamic Lumbar Support for Office Chairs
This lumbar system adjusts its depth and firmness automatically depending on your posture, offering you constant support at all times.
The dynamic lumbar system is highly effective if you implement it properly because it adapts automatically to constant changes in your back as you sit. On some ergonomic office chairs such as Herman Miller Embody, the whole backrest reacts to postural changes, while on other office chairs, such as X Chair, a 3-piece backrest adapts to different parts of your back.
External Lumbar Support for Office Chairs
The external lumbar support is in the form of cushions and pillows. Nowadays, most gaming chairs include external lumbar support and a head pillow as inexpensive alternatives to built-in lumbar support. Also, there are dedicated lumbar support pillows that you can buy on their own and use with an office chair.
Most external lumbar support pillows that come with gaming chairs are ineffective and do little to support your back. However, dedicated lumbar support pillows are highly effective, and they come in different sizes and shapes to match your body type. According to research, external lumbar support pillows with a cut out around the posterior pelvic tissue increase comfort significantly.
How to Strengthen Your Back
To prevent lower back pain, you must support your back correctly as you sit. Also, exercises can help to keep your back strong as you sit. These two exercises can help keep your back healthy.
This exercise strengthens the muscles of your buttocks as weakness in these muscles can cause lower back pain. Also, this exercise keeps your back strong, and it keeps your hips and lower back more flexible.
To do bridges, lay on your back with your legs apart while you lift your hips, keep your shoulders on the floor. Hold this position for twenty to thirty seconds before lowering your hips. Repeat the sequence at least five times during a set of exercises.
Back extensions are sometimes called superman. These exercises strengthen the muscles running down your entire back. Exercising these muscles helps you to support your spine and back better. Also, it helps you to control your body while you sit and move. Back extensions help you move your pelvis and arch your back as you switch positions.
Talk with your doctor if doing these exercises causes your back to hurt more. If you do these exercises gradually and carefully, you will strengthen your muscles. However, it may take time and help to strengthen your back.
To do back extensions, lay on your stomach and extend your arms and legs as far as you can. Then lift your arms and legs off the ground and try to float your body upwards, so you balance on your belly button. Look down to avoid hurting your neck and spine. Repeat these exercises at least ten times. However, only hold this position for at least two seconds to avoid hurting your back, especially if you’re unfamiliar with the exercise.
Correct spinal alignment is crucial for proper movement and to live a pain-free life. Getting an ergonomic office chair with the perfect lumbar support can help you keep your back and spine strong. Also, doing some at-home exercises can make sure your spine is stable and flexible, whether you’re sitting or moving. Apart from using good lumbar support while sitting, avoid sitting in the same position for more than thirty minutes if possible. And if possible, stand up and stretch your muscles, walk around a bit before returning to the sitting position.
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