When back pain strikes, regardless of the cause, our first instinct is to get rid of the pain as quickly as possible. Typically that means sitting or lying down and avoiding just about all movements in hopes the pain will go away. Unfortunately that instinct is one of the most ineffective treatments for back pain, but not for the reasons you might think.
Poor posture, particularly while sitting, is a common source of back pain because most of us don’t maintain proper spinal positioning when we sit. Don’t just take my word for it; take stock of your current position right this minute.
- Are you sitting up straight or is your back slouched over and your shoulders rounded?
- Are you sitting with your lower back arched or are you slammed flat against your seat?
- Are you tilting your head side to side or forward, or is it aligned properly with your spine?
- Are you sitting on the bottom of your buttocks or the portion closer to your lumbar region?
Chances are your answers show you already have poor posture in one or more of those areas. Poor posture while sitting quickly leads to back pain and other health problems. It can also worsen existing conditions like a herniated disc.
While we can make it a habit to watch our posture, it’s easy to fall back into a routine of sitting incorrectly. That’s why using some form of lumbar back support may be a good idea whenever you sit down, making better posture more or less automatic.
In a pinch a rolled towel or small pillow behind the lower back can help. A better long term solution is to use a lumbar back support cushion or other form of back orthotic to ensure proper posture and spinal alignment while sitting.
When purchasing a lumbar back support aid, look for one with as many of these features as possible:
- Provides support while sitting naturally
- Provides full lumbar back support
- Uses a contoured design to fit lower back
- Reduces pressure on the sacrum and tailbone
- Relieves direct pressure on the spinal column
- Does not restrict normal arm movement
- Fits most seat types, particularly office chairs and vehicle seats
- Easy to transport
Two back support aids, which include these features, are the Freedom Back support pillow and the BackJoy.
Written By: Updated: October 14,2009