Do you feel your back start to ache as the work day goes on? Does the pain not subside when you settle into the sofa or get into bed? If so, you might be suffering from lower back pain and need some kind of lumbar support.
You might be wondering: what is lumbar support?
Well, lumbar support simply means support in the lumbar region, which is the lower back. It is vital for those who experience back pain, as failure to give your body the proper support it needs can have serious consequences.
Without lumbar support, you run the risk of damaging your lower lumber, which can lead to pain and stiffness, and even difficulty walking. An unsupported back will also negatively impact your posture and flexibility, and make the simplest tasks like sitting in a chair or lying in bed agonizing.
There is no need to panic though! With the right lumbar support, you can eradicate your lower back pain and get back to normal. It is better to act now rather than later when the discomfort starts affecting your day-to-day life.
To find out more about lumbar support and what it can do for your health, keep reading.
What Does a Lumbar Support Do?
The effects that lumbar support will have on your body depend on the type of support you choose to use. Generally speaking, however, lumbar support will provide relief and assistance to your lower back, helping you to feel comfortable and pain-free.
Lumbar back support works by filling the gap in between the spine and the chair or bed you are using, supporting the natural curve of the lower back, and promoting good posture.
Many people unknowingly put themselves at risk of injury every day simply by the way they sit or sleep. Using lumbar support is an easy and effective way of realigning the spine and reinforcing healthy habits such as maintaining a good posture.
Even though slouching forward may feel natural to many of us, it is not. When you first use lumbar support you may feel like it is uncomfortable or as though your body is in positions it should not be in, but this is only because you have become so accustomed to abnormal postures.
The most common types of lumbar support items include specially designed beds, chairs, pillows, and back braces, amongst other things. There are also ways that you can alleviate lower back pain without specific equipment, such as by adjusting your sleeping positions or visiting chiropractors.
Why Have Lumbar Support for your lower back?
The main reason why you should invest in lumbar support for your lower back is that it will save you a lot of pain. As well as debilitating back pain that will worsen over time, inadequate support will lead to bad posture, which can be nearly impossible to reverse.
Lower back pain can cause issues in ways you may not even have thought of. A lot of people who do not have lumbar support report disrupted sleep, which can then cause difficulties with concentration and motivation in the days.
Lumbar support for your lower back is only ever going to have positive results, by helping you improve your posture, sleep better, and reduce pain.
Any type of lumbar support will stop your muscles in the lower back region from overworking themselves, which can prevent injuries, but also help previous injuries in this area of your body to heal quicker.
What's more, if you suffer from conditions that affect your back, head, neck, legs, or shoulders, then lumbar support can significantly reduce the symptoms that these can cause. For example, musculoskeletal disorders such as pinched nerves or herniated discs can be improved by using a lumbar support product.
Similarly, people with illnesses like osteoarthritis or spinal stenosis have reported feeling much more comfortable when using a lumbar support mattress or bed.
How Does Lumbar Support Work on an Adjustable Bed?
Lumbar support works on an adjustable bed because these beds allow you to move your head and foot separately and sleep at a slight incline, thereby taking pressure off of your lower back and aligning your spine.
One of the most beneficial things you can do in bed is become a side sleeper, and keep your knees and legs bent at a slight angle to the rest of your body. An adjusted bed helps you to do just this and can help with not only back pain but joint conditions like arthritis and pain in the neck or shoulder area.
To help keep the natural curve of the spine supported, some beds include additional padding where the lower backrests, which prevents pain and helps you feel comfortable all night long.
Having lumbar support on your bed can be particularly useful if you spend your days working from a desk-chair or standing up for long periods of time.
One of the most common types of lumbar support in adjustable beds is a section of the base of the bed which acts like a pillow for your lower back.
This can be adjusted to fit your body shape and can be felt through a mattress without changing the appearance or shape of your bed.
Adjustable bed frames can be purchased separately from a mattress, meaning you can opt for a lumbar support product on the base, and then a softer topping such as memory foam for the mattress.
Lumbar Support FAQs
How does lumbar support work?
Whilst there are a lot of different options when it comes to lumbar support, they all work according to the same principles. The lumbar support provides much-needed assistance to your lower back by maintaining the natural curves of the spine.
Throughout the day, millions of people unconsciously end up slouching forwards in our chairs, or even whilst standing up. We also continue this bad practice through poor sleeping positions that do nothing for our backs.
Lumbar support eases the pain and discomfort that this can cause, and can prevent injuries or side-effects like bad posture from even happening in the first place.
Should I sleep with lumbar support?
Sleeping with lumbar support can do wonders for low back pain and have you waking up feeling like a new person!
If you notice that your sleep is disrupted, or that you wake with aches and pains, then the chances are you could benefit from lumbar support in your bed.
Many people who suffer from pains in their back area use some form of lumbar support sleep products, whether this is support pillows or a support mattress.
If you do not sleep on a properly supportive surface then you run the risk of not only lower back pains, but early-onset arthritis or difficulties with strength and even mobility.
It is never too late to make the change, however. Switching to a good-quality mattress of a medium-firmness is a great start, as is investing in an adjustable bed or lumbar pillows.
Does everyone need lumbar support?
Without a doubt, everybody could benefit from lumbar support.
Not only can it ease lower back pain, but it can prevent pain from occurring in the first instance and help to heal old injuries that may be causing sporadic discomfort.
Whilst not everybody will need to invest in a new bed frame or mattress, there are small changes that can be made which will have a big impact.
For example, make sure that your chosen sleep position is not doing anything to damage your lumbar spine, or make a conscious effort to correct your posture if you feel yourself slouching throughout the day.
Where is lumbar support needed?
Lumbar support is needed on the lumbar spine area, which is the five vertebrae between the diaphragm and sacrum in the spine.
Supporting your lower back is simply a way of maintaining a healthy lifestyle, and should not only be thought of as 'needed' after an injury or when the pain becomes unbearable.
Although lumbar support is only needed on the lower back, its effects ripple across the whole body, easing discomfort in not only the back but the head and neck too.
What's more, it will alleviate aches and muscle tension and help you sleep better, which will leave both your body and mind refreshed.
What is proper lumbar support?
Proper lumbar support comes in many forms, ranging from at-home exercises you can do each day to sleep products such as an adjustable bed or body pillow.
To reap the benefits of lumbar support and be sure that you are supporting your body properly, your lumbar support product should fit in the natural curve of your spine, typically in the lower back area.
Failing to use a lumbar support in the right way could lead to more discomfort and pain, so check before every use that it is situated in the right spot on your spine.
Why is lumbar support uncomfortable?
Lumbar support may feel uncomfortable at first, but it should never be causing you serious back pain. With regular lumbar support use, you will notice your muscles begin to relax and will find that you can sit at your work desk or sleep much easier and more comfortably.
The reason why back support can bring on feelings of discomfort is that your back has become so used to slouching and poor posture that suddenly being forced into a new position is awkward. It is completely harmless and natural, and should ease up the more you use lumbar support.
If your lumbar support is still uncomfortable after continued usage, then the chances are you are not using it properly. Try to make sure that the support is positioned in the correct part of your spine, in the natural curvature of the lower back.
Other things to look out for are your posture whilst using the support, how often you use it, and if there could be other habits that are causing back pain that need to be addressed.
How many hours a day should you wear a back brace?
A popular lumbar support method is a back brace, which works by holding up your back into a good postural position. They are most effective when standing up for a period of time, working, exercising, or lifting.
For optimal results, you should use a back brace for no more than two hours a day. Wearing one for any longer than this could lead to harmful consequences, such as a weakening of the body's core and muscle atrophy.
Back braces target specific pressure points in your lower back, which can be incredible when it comes to pain reduction, but which also must be used with sensible caution.
Are lumbar supports effective?
If used properly, lumbar supports are one of the most effective ways to alleviate low back pain, improve posture, and heal past injuries.
All of us can recognize the harm that is done to our bodies when we don't use lumbar supports: achy muscles, unnatural posture, continuous back, head, and neck pain, and so much more. There is nothing to lose by trying out lumbar support and seeing what good it can do.
To make lumbar support as effective as possible, figure out what works for you. For some, this will be a memory foam mattress, for others, it will mean an ergonomic desk chair. There are lots of different kinds of lumbar support, and each will bring its own unique benefits.
Lumbar supports are not only effective in treating lower back pain, but in preventing it too. If you start to feel a little pain at the end of the day down your spine or notice that your posture isn't what it used to be when you look in the mirror, then you need to start supporting your lumbar spine.
Is a lumbar pillow good?
A lumbar pillow is one of the best ways that you can maintain a healthy spine and lower back while sleeping, and they are an absolute joy to use!
Lumbar pillows work by decreasing muscle fatigue, which in turn will prevent poor posture and back pain. They allow the spine to relax into its natural position, rather than slouching forwards or leaning back.
What makes a lumbar pillow different from normal pillows is that it is very flexible, meaning it can be molded into the right shape and position for your spine. Lumbar pillows are placed under the back when you lie on a bed or can be used on a chair as well during the day.
If you travel a lot or spend a lot of time sitting at a desk, a lumbar support pillow will revolutionize your life.
No longer will you feel stiff and sore from all those rock-hard chairs and train seats; instead, you can feel as cozy as you would be tucked up in bed and not have to experience any discomfort or back pain.
Besides specially-designed lumbar pillows, there are many other ways that a normal cushion can be used to provide back support. Depending on your sleeping position, a pillow can be used to provide relief to your back and ensure you get a good quality night's sleep.
For side sleepers, try using an extra-thick pillow to keep your head and neck in a natural position, or hold a large body pillow in front of you for shoulder support.
If you tend to sleep on your back, then place a small pillow under your knees to alleviate pressure from your spine and sciatic nerve.
If you sleep on your stomach the most, then the best thing you can do is change up your sleeping position! Failing this, place a flat pillow under your stomach and hips to relieve your lower back.
Can you have too much lumbar support?
It is possible that having too much lumbar support could do you more harm than good, so it is important to only use back support the recommended amount.
It goes without saying that not everybody is the same shape or size, and so there is no one lumbar support that will alleviate all lower back pain. A bed, for example, with prominent support curves in it can massively improve some people's posture and comfort, but for others, it could damage their spine further.
If you do not experience postural or pain issues but would like to use lumbar support for preventative reasons, then look into softer measures like an ergonomic chair or body pillow, rather than going for more high-intensity supports like a zero-gravity bed or 'super lumbar' mattress.
Do specific sleeping positions help the low back region?
The sleeping position that you choose definitely impacts your lower back.
The best sleep position is to lie on your back, as this helps to evenly distribute weight which relieves pressure on your back and promotes healthy spine alignment. If this doesn't feel comfortable to you, then the next best thing you can do is sleep on your side, with the added help of lumbar support pillows if possible.
Your chosen sleeping position works in tandem with your mattress, bed frame, and bed pillows. If these are not supporting your lower back properly, then you may develop aches and pains regardless of whether you sleep on your side or your stomach!
Other sleep items that can provide lumbar support include a memory foam mattress, an adjustable bed, body pillows, and beds with a massage feature. Many people find that sleeping in a reclined position helps to relieve back pain.
If this sounds like you, then purchasing an adjustable bed could be a worthwhile investment. Additionally, if you are usually a side sleeper but want to make a change and improve your physical health, a supportive bed frame or mattress can make a world of difference.
There is no 'one size fits all' sleeping position that will make your back pain vanish as each person has their own individual needs and area of their body that needs attention.
However, there are general improvements you can make to your sleep habits that will not only help you get a better night of rest but will reduce your chances of developing poor posture or back pain.