What is Lumbar Support?

Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum

Lumbar support is the process of providing adequate support to the muscles and skeletal structure of the lower back. In many instances, the focus of the support is on providing adequate support for the lower back while the individual is in a seated position. However, there are other devices that may lend support to the back while an individual is standing or walking.

Lumbar support can be used to treat or prevent lower back pain.
Lumbar support can be used to treat or prevent lower back pain.

Perhaps the most common device for lumbar support in use today is the computer or office chair. Chairs of this type often feature a back and seat that is structured to conform to the proper alignment of the lower back and relieve stress on the muscles located in the area. These chairs are extremely helpful for people who spend the majority of their work day at a desk or in a cubicle. People who perform most of their tasks on a computer can especially benefit from chairs that provide adequate back support.

An ergonomic office chair may benefit people who spend the large majority of their workday bent over a computer.
An ergonomic office chair may benefit people who spend the large majority of their workday bent over a computer.

Along with chairs, there are cushions and pillows that help to provide lumbar support. Like the office chairs, these types of devices help to minimize or alleviate stress on the muscles of the lower back and prevent a great deal of pain. One advantage to pillows and cushions providing lumbar support is they are portable. The pillows can be taken along and help with back pain in any situation where the individual will be in a seated position for an extended period of time. The cushions work well for people driving long distances, or passengers on a train or plane. They are even helpful when attending a sporting event where the primary seating is wooden or concrete bleachers.

Office chairs without proper lumbar support can cause back pain.
Office chairs without proper lumbar support can cause back pain.

A third alternative device for achieving lumbar support is the belt. Lumbar belts are usually anywhere from four to eight inches wide. Most designs are constructed to fit easily under the clothing, making it possible to wear the belt in just about any situation. Thicker belts of this type are often employed as a safety measure for warehouse workers, truckers, and others who may be required to lift heavy loads as part of their daily work routine. The belts make it harder to strain the muscles of the lower back while engaged in lifting.

Damage to the musclature in the lumbar area can result in excruciating pain.
Damage to the musclature in the lumbar area can result in excruciating pain.

The importance of proper lumbar support cannot be underestimated. Damage to the musculature in the lumbar area can result in excruciating pain. In addition, the damage may ultimately lead to a decreased capacity to walk, even possibly causing paralysis if enough damage is done to the area. For anyone who notices slight twinges of pain in the lower back, taking steps to secure some type of back support could make a substantial impact on the quality of life in future years.

A version of the lumbar belt is commonly used by weightlifters.
A version of the lumbar belt is commonly used by weightlifters.
Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum

After many years in the teleconferencing industry, Michael decided to embrace his passion for trivia, research, and writing by becoming a full-time freelance writer. Since then, he has contributed articles to a variety of print and online publications, including wiseGEEK, and his work has also appeared in poetry collections, devotional anthologies, and several newspapers. Malcolm’s other interests include collecting vinyl records, minor league baseball, and cycling.

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Discussion Comments

Ocelot60

In a pinch, an easy way to add lumbar support is to roll a towel up and place it behind your back. You can use it in bed, in a sitting position, and even in your car. Depending on the amount of lumbar support you want, you can adjust the thickness of the roll by using small or large towel.

Rundocuri

Many automobiles also have lumbar support in the seats. This feature is activated by a button which is usually located with the other seat controls. It allows the driver and passengers to inflate the lumbar section of the car seats to the amount of support preferred. It feels almost like using a lumbar support cushion, though this type of support is built right into the car.

I have lumbar support in my car, which I didn't even know was there until I bought it and started adjusting the seat controls. Now I couldn't imagine not having it, because I often experienced back pain while driving. Automobile lumbar support is a great feature for anyone who has lower back pain and back problems.

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