Question: Which lumbar cushion should I get to decrease back discomfort?

Answer: As an ergonomic consultant specializing in office ergonomics, I need to see exactly how you interface with your computer first before deciding if a lumbar support is right for you. However, for our readers looking for ergonomic tips and those looking to perform a self-administered ergonomic assessment it is always good to understand the purpose of a lumbar support and to think critically before investing in one.

Before purchasing a lumbar support, readers must first see if their chair already provides lumbar (lower back) support and if this support is sufficient. Many ergonomic chairs nowadays come with some lumbar support. If the lumbar support is adjustable (if it changes in depth or height), try altering it to where it provides adequate support to your lower back (this might take some trial and error).
Additionally, lumbar cushions can reduce the seat depth of your chair and could put taller individuals on the edge of their seats.

With that said, there are some great lumbar supports that adapt to a person's back curvature. These types of supports and cushions could fit even a taller person. Many of my clients love the adjustable mesh lumbar supports that adapt to your back shape. You control the amount of lumbar support based on the curvature of your spine and the amount of pressure you place on the support when sitting back in your chair. Some clients, on the other hand, prefer a larger, more supportive lumbar cushions. I once had a lumbar cushion that did not fit anybody. It was large and did not conform to the average back. One client, however, liked it. Out of all the lumbar supports I showed him, he always came back to this big and bulky lumbar cushion. It fit him according to his particular back curvature and chair. He tried it out for a few days and continued to compliment the cushion. He eventually purchased it.

So, when I get the question: "Should I get a lumbar support or cushion to reduce back discomfort?" I answer, "let me see you sample one first." Clients should always try out lumbar supports and cushions before purchasing. What fits one person might not fit another. Client preference is one of the most important considerations in ergonomics. Each person’s back curvature is a little bit different so finding the right one takes some trial and error. If the product does not fit, do not purchase it. If the cushion feels right and it does not put you on the edge of your seat, then it's for you.

Thanks for reading,

Shaul Lent CEAS, MA, OTR/L
Lead Ergonomic Specialist
Ergonomics Advance

Author's Bio: 

Shaul Lent is the Lead Ergonomic Specialist at Ergonomics Advance. He provides individual ergonomic assessments for employees reporting discomfort at their computer workstation and office ergonomics training for HR specialists who want to promote wellness and comfort at the workplace. An innovative Certified Ergonomic Assessment Specialist and Occupational Therapist trained at the University of Southern California, Shaul takes pride in his attention to detail when recommending ergonomic products, developing injury prevention plans, and designing ergonomically sound workstations. His unique talent to promote health and wellness in the workplace is recognized by customers and colleagues alike.

For more information about Shaul, please visit https://ergonomicsadvance.com/shaul-lent-otrl/. For more information about Ergonomics Advance and the ergonomic assessment process, please visit https://ergonomicsadvance.com/office-ergonomic-assessment/