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Back pain is no longer just for the elderly or those with arthritis: Between working from home and slouching in front of screens every day, keeping your spine healthy can be especially difficult lately.
"Lumbar support pillows can be used by anyone, even if they don't have back pain," says John Galucci Jr., DPT Doctor, CEO of JAG-ONE Physical Therapy . "In fact, using a lumbar support pillow is a great way to prevent future back pain."
Wherever you spend most of your time, in the car, on the couch, or at work, there is a lumbar support pillow for you.
Here are the best lumbar support cushions on the market today.
The Everlasting Comfort Lumbar Support Pillow (see on Amazon ) is the strongest competitor for full lumbar support – it fits many places and uses, is made from medium-hard memory foam, and has an easy-to-clean mesh cover. If you need extra support in an office chair, we'll love the extra headroom you get with the Qutool Lumbar Support Pillow (see on Amazon ), and the Extra Dense Cushion Lab Lumbar Cushion (see on Amazon ) is more durable, contoured and ideal choice for extra support on soft and comfortable sofas.
What to look for a lumbar support pillow
Most lumbar support pillows are made from memory foam for good reason – it's the perfect combination of soft and firm support. "The best pillows are usually those made with therapeutic memory foam, as they can adhere to your body but will not lose their shape with continued use," says Dr. Galucci. However, it should be noted that the overall hardness of memory foam changes with temperature; colder air will make it harder and warmer air softer. For medium support, room temperature is best.
If the lumbar support cushion really does its job, you will want to use it every day. But that means you will be exposed to dirt, food crumbs, sweat, and all other everyday waste. To avoid excessive contamination, you will need a removable cover that you can toss in the washing machine from time to time (since memory foam inserts cannot be washed).
Size and adjustability
If the lumbar support cushion is too small or too large for your body, it is unlikely that it will stay in place and provide enough support. In some cases, you may also need a cushion with adjustable straps to keep it in place; For example, in a car or office chair, it can move easily and be difficult to hold in place.
Frequently asked questions
You may think this is a small detail, but trust us, it is not. Dr. Galucci says that putting the pillow in the right place is really the key to getting results.
"A good tip is to make sure the pillow is between the bottom of the shoulder blades and the top of the thighs," he explains. "It should be positioned upright in a chair, making sure it rests on the lower back to maintain the normal curvature of the spine."
If you're wondering how a pillow that seems terribly uncomfortable to use can have a therapeutic effect on your back, you need to have a little understanding of posture and spinal anatomy.
'Our posture tends to deteriorate over time as the paraspinal muscles (the muscles that go up and down the back and support the spine) fatigue, resulting in a round back and hunched posture, ”says Dr. Gasnik.
This is where a lumbar support pillow comes in handy: When positioned correctly, it can help maintain normal lower back curvature, which Dr. Gasnik says can reduce muscle fatigue, help you maintain better posture, and reduce stress on your lower back.
Dr. Gallucci advises looking for a cushion that is soft, but firm enough to provide support (that is, to reduce fatigue and stress on the lower back muscles). Basically, you don't need a pillow that is rock hard or too soft and flexible. Find the option that works best for your back and offers both.
What the experts say
"Maintaining the correct position of the spine also prevents overuse of the muscles in the lower back … people who use pillows to support the lower back may experience less pain and stiffness in the lower back and, in general, improve the position". – Dr. Kristen Gasnik , Board Certified Physical Therapist.
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