Back Support Pillows Promote Good Posture, Relief From Pain And Improve Comfort While Sitting
The area that most back support pillows are concerned with is where the majority of low back pain occurs – within the lower lumbar region. Of this, most pain related problems fall within the fourth and fifth lumbars which sit atop the sacrum, a larger triangular bone. As the last movable joint along the spine, the lumbosacral joint, where the fifth lumbar connects to the sacrum, bears greater weight and stress and has a greater risk of strain or injury.
Although sitting posture can effect the neck, many back problems are the result of wear, tear and abuse occurring over an extended period of time, rather than a single traumatic injury or event.
Similar to the neck, some 80 percent of repetitive stress disorders, particularly in the lumbosacral area, are caused by poor posture, fatigue and exhaustion. Back support pillows can help prevent postural stress, relieving pressure and pain by supporting the lumbar spine, the pelvis or both.
With the center of gravity of the spine at the lumbosacral area, and sitting producing a large amount of disc pressure, back support pillows can help prevent misalignments from normal posture which often result in dysfunction in the body and pain. The lack of adequate support by chairs, seats and sofas encourages an unbalanced posture and the flattening of the lower back curve levers the head forward causing poor neck posture.
Poor posture, fatigue and exhaustion are common causes of low back pain and are frequent complaints from those who sit for long periods of time at work and when traveling. When traveling, hauling heavy objects like luggage and children through airports and hotels and sleeping in strange beds with unfamiliar pillows can leave your back aching for relief. Although just part of the equation, back support pillows can help.
Whether traveling or at a desk, prolonged sitting will fatigue the back muscles and eventually, one slips into a poor or slumped posture. Sitting involves disc pressures that are significantly greater than standing. Slumping forward or backward magnifies the pressure on the back. Using back support pillows can reduce disc pressure and relieve strain on the back muscles.
With the use of back support pillows to help maintain an upright position while sitting, the disc pressure can be reduced as much as 100 lbs. over a slumped forward posture. Additionally, according to the journal, Ergonomics, Volume 52, Issue 7 July 2009 , pages 830 – 839, car driving is associated with the risk of developing low back pain and this may be related to exposure to whole body vibration. The study found that use of a movable back support reduces the transmission of vibration through the trunk and that it reduces low back muscle strain.
While sitting, the back-rest of the chair should be tilted slightly backward at an angle of 95-105º. A seat that is too low places stress on the ischial tuberosities (sit bones), while a seat that is too high places pressure on the thighs. If your seat does not have an adjustable height, you may need to use a footrest. The edge of the seat should not touch the back of your knees. The angle of the seat should be slightly forward to help maintain the normal curvature of the low back. Since most seats do not adjust in this manner, a seat wedge can provide a nice solution.
A 2015 study in the Asian Spine Journal. Indicated prolonged sitting is an important risk factor for back pain. They noted that the alignment of the spine and pelvis is important to maintain a posture that is energy efficient. In the study, the authors found that sitting significantly decreases the lower back alignment and alters the pelvic angle. They further indicate that this sitting imbalance can result in chronic lower back pain. The study revealed that using a back support while sitting resulted in less changes to the spinal and pelvic alignment, resulting in a more ideal position.
With many different body shapes and seating types, many different styles of back support pillows are available. While foam comfort supports are common, others use fiber, rigid plastic or air bladders. Cushions that you sit on can provide posture improvement for the low back, while improving the seating surface and can also provide therapy for the back muscles while sitting.