Most of us will experience neck or lower back pain at some point in our lives. More often than not this will be down to how we sit. Sitting for long periods of time often whilst at work or in the car will inevitably result in lower back pain. Used correctly, an orthopaedic posture cushion can help to dramatically reduce pain and discomfort brought on by slouching and generally poor posture.
In this article:
- 1 Choosing an orthopaedic cushion
- 2 Which type of orthopaedic cushion do I need?
- 3 Back Cushions
- 4 Wedge cushions
- 5 What about sitting cushions?
- 6 In conclusion
Choosing an orthopaedic cushion
As you have probably already seen there are many types, shapes and sizes of support cushions on the market. These are all designed to offer comfort and support whilst sitting, prevent slouching and promote good posture.
Used correctly an orthopaedic support cushion can help alleviate strain on the lower back. This can dramatically reduce neck and back pain meaning that you can sit more comfortably. Using a support cushion on your office chair or even car seat will encourage good posture by realigning and supporting the spinal column in its correct position leaving you to get on with your day pain free.
Which type of orthopaedic cushion do I need?
There are many different types of orthopaedic support cushion on the market today and so much choice can sometimes be confusing. However all of these products can essentially be divided into three main categories: back cushions, wedge and coccyx cushions, and sitting cushions.
Here we shall take a closer look at each category and highlight some of our personal favourites.
Orthopaedic back or lumbar supports are an ideal choice for anyone requiring extra support for the lower back at home, work or in the car.
Lightweight and portable, an orthopaedic back cushion fits onto your home or office chair behind the lower back to correctly align the spine. This eliminates bad posture and provides comfort and support whilst seated. Also suitable for use on car seats, these cushion or roll shaped supports tend to be made from a moulded or memory foam material. They will usually come with a removable machine washable cover and handy adjustable strap for fitting.
Memory foam is a heat sensitive material which moulds itself to your body during use. Moulded foam supports are made from a firmer cut foam to provide comfort and support where required.
A pad or cushion shaped support will cover a larger area of the lower back for optimum comfort and can be easily repositioned to fit your particular needs.
A lumbar roll on the other hand has a unique shape which has been specifically designed to fit into the small of the back. It supports the spine in its natural shape to correct posture and alleviate back and neck pain. Often referred to as D Roll cushions, these products are extremely lightweight and easily portable making them ideal for travel.
Recommended back cushions
An orthopaedic wedge cushion can be placed onto most types of chair to help relieve lower back and leg pain experienced during prolonged periods of sitting.
A wedge cushion is designed to help relieve pain and discomfort by realigning the spine in its correct position when seated. The wedge shaped cushion tilts the spine and pelvis forward so that the hips are correctly positioned. Hips should be higher than the knees to reduce stress to the spinal column, relaxing the lower back and correcting bad posture.
Wedge support cushions are usually made from either memory or moulded PU foam but inflatable versions are also available. Coccyx wedge cushions even feature a special horseshoe shaped cut-out and are specifically designed for use with a bruised or damaged coccyx.
The type of wedge cushion you choose is down to personal preference. Foam wedges offer firm supportive cushioning whilst the inflatable options allow you vary the degree of firmness. All are lightweight and portable making them ideal for use both at home and at work. Here are some of our favourite wedge cushions.
Recommended wedge cushions
Recommended Coccyx Cushion
What about sitting cushions?
Orthopaedic sitting cushions are designed to provide comfort and pressure relief whilst sitting. Used correctly a sitting cushion will also improve posture.
Inflatable sitting, stability or balance cushions provide a comfortable cushion to sit on but also force you to work the back’s supporting muscles in order to remain stable whilst maintaining a correct posture. We call this ‘active sitting’. These inflatable options are usually supplied with a pump, are extremely portable and feature an easy to clean hygienic plastic surface.
Other options available include gel filled cushions which keep you comfortable and cool and are particularly suitable for wheelchair use.
Recommended sitting cushions
Recommended wheelchair cushion
Hopefully our guide to choosing an orthopaedic cushion has helped you make your decision. However if you are looking for further information on how poor posture can cause back pain have a read of this article!