Long hours spent at your desk can add up to some serious back and shoulder discomfort, but the best lumbar support cushions for office chairs can help take the edge off. Made from dense foam, supportive memory foam, or framed mesh, these curved cushions support the natural S-shape of your spine to promote good posture and prevent aching, so you can work without strain.
According to Allen Conrad, Doctor of Chiropractic (D.C.) and owner of Montgomery County Chiropractic Center in North Wales, Pennsylvania, “Prolonged sitting can lead to pressure on your spinal nerves, including the sciatic nerve which runs down your legs,” but adding some lower back support for office chairs can help encourage good posture and prevent soreness. Likewise, Karena Wu, a board-certified physical therapist and owner of Active Care Physical Therapy in New York City, says “Adding a lumbar support will add and/or remind the person not to slouch back into the seat back.” She adds, “The lumbar support nestles in the low back region to add support as well as remind the user to sit up with good upright posture.” Dr. Wu also offers advice for sitting in the most body-friendly way possible at your desk: “Hips and knees bent equal to or more than 90 degrees with feet flat on the floor. Pelvis should be located in a neutral position, not tilted forward or backward and weight resting on top of the 'sits' bones. Head, torso, and low back should be in a vertical position where all components are balanced and comfortable yet active.”
So what materials are best? Dr. Conrad is a fan of memory foam, which offers soft support that molds to your body, while Dr. Wu recommends high-density foam, which will maintain its shape in order to “remind the user to sit up.” Keep in mind that memory foam is by far the most commonly used material for lumbar support cushions, but some people find that the material gets warm quickly, so if you tend to run a little hot, you may want to opt for standard foam or a gel-infused memory foam lumbar cushion to keep you cool. And if you're looking for the ultimate in breathability (and a more budget-friendly pick), you may want to forego foam altogether in favor of lightweight mesh.
Regardless of which material you choose, the best lumbar support for office chairs will offer your spine the comfort it needs, so you can concentrate on the work at hand, instead of an aching lower back.