Sitting long hours in the office chair without having effective back support is extremely uncomfortable and painful. In a sitting position, discs of the human spine endure more pressure than in a standing position.
The problem can be aggravated with an unhealthy lifestyle and you are extremely likely to slouch or hunch over the chair. However, a good lumbar support adjustment can address these issues as it fills the gap between the spine and the seat backrest. In this way, it supports the naturally s-shaped curve of the human spine which in turn promotes a good posture.
In the given article, we are giving a detailed explanation of what lumbar support is, why it is important, and how to adjust lumbar support in office chair. So, stay connected and read the article till the end to clear all your queries regarding lumbar support.
What is Lumbar Support?
The word lumbar means “lower spine”. The lumbar spine is the lowest part of the human spine subject to maximum pressure as it supports the weight of the entire spinal column. It is also most susceptible to risks of pain and injuries.
Lumbar support is an important part of an ergonomically designed office chair. It is a seating feature typically present in office chairs, car seats, or other seating arrangements. It is in the form of a small, curved piece of memory foam or plastic typically present at the base of the chair’s backrest.
Lumbar support is designed to relieve the pressure on the lower back, specifically the lumbar area of the spine so that you can sit comfortably and avoid back pain. If the backrest of your office chair is made of mesh material, you can easily observe how lumbar support shapes your lower back.
Maintaining a correct posture without lumbar support is an arduous task. In the absence of lumbar support, the lower back and lumbar muscles have to overwork to maintain the correct spinal alignment. With time, these muscles become weak and force the human body to lean forward and slouch which causes pain in the lower back.
Where Should Lumbar Support Be on Office Chairs?
There are no standard adjustability options for lumbar support. Every individual has different body dimensions, therefore, adjustment of lumbar support also varies from person to person. However, you should be aware of the ideal position of lumbar support or where should the lumbar support be on the office chair in order to enhance your productivity.
As lumbar support is designed to provide back support, therefore, it should be placed in the lower back area of the spine. The key goal of adjusting lumbar support is that it fits straight into the small of your back, right above your belt line.
In this way, it would maintain the natural curve of your spine. Small of the back can be found by running your hand along the back. The point where the spine curves inward are small in your back.
How to Adjust Lumbar Support in Office Chair?
As stated above, lumbar support should directly fit right into the natural curve of your spine. To get that, you can try the following ways :
Adjust the Seat depth, height, and Backrest Angle of the Office Chair
Adjusting the seat pan depth and seat height of your ergonomic chair allows you to adjust the lumbar support in a better way. Similarly, backrest angle adjustment is also critical for maintaining a comfortable sitting posture.
Adjust the height of the seat in a way that your feet remain flat on the floor. The backrest angle should be adjusted in a slightly reclined position at an angle of 110 or 120 degrees this way, your lower back would get additional support and your hips would be slightly tilted which would ensure a correct sitting posture.
These adjustments in turn would make it easy for you to find the right lumbar support adjustment options for you.
Turning the Lumbar Adjustment Lever
Most of the chairs have a lever or knob for adjusting the lumbar support which is typically present on the base of the backrest. You have to locate this lever first and bring it to the lowest setting.
Once you have brought it into the lowest setting, increase it in small increments to get the desired lumbar support against your lower back. In general counterclockwise rotation is used to tighten the lumbar support and the clockwise direction loses it.
However, if you are not sure, try rotating on both sides to understand its mechanism, or go through the manufacturer’s guidelines for more details.
In addition, some chairs need the lever to be pulled up or down to change the lumbar support. So if rotation does not work out for your chair, try pulling the lever up or down to adjust the lumbar support.
Use a Lumbar Cushion
Ergonomic office chairs generally come with built-in lumbar support, which proves helpful in posture maintenance. However, most of these chairs do not have adjustable lumbar support, which is a big drawback as the users cannot make adjustments with their ease.
If your chair has a built-in lumbar support that can’t be adjusted using a level or knob, you can go for some other alternatives. One such alternative is the lumbar pillow or cushion that can be used as additional support for the lower back.
A lumbar roll is a specifically designed cushion that fits in the contours of the user’s back. It not only provides extra support to the lower back but also dramatically corrects poor posture. Lumbar support pillows are easily available in office furniture stores and online. Buy one that is compatible with your chair design and has maximum ergonomic benefits.
Tilt the Backrest in Forward Direction
Most ergonomic chairs have a tilt adjustment feature that enables the user to tilt the backrest in a forward or backward direction. A backrest tilted in a forward direction increases the lumbar back support.
This is because it moves the pelvis in a forward leaning position which helps in maintaining the natural curve of the lower back as well as reducing pressure on it. Some chairs have a tilt adjustment knob located under the seat of the office chair that can be pulled or turned to adjust the tilt.
Others have a button or lever that can be pressed to do so. Consult the chair manual to know how your chair’s backrest is tilted. Accordingly, adjust it to get the desired lumbar support.
Practice a Good Posture
There is no benefit of using lumbar support, adjustable or built-in if you don’t practice a good sitting posture. Lumbar support can only be effective if you sit straight in an upright position.
Practicing good posture is not very difficult and it is the most inexpensive method that you can opt for to reduce pressure on the lower back muscles. If you want to know more about improving your sitting posture while working, you can read this article.
In addition, you should also take regular breaks from work, whenever possible, walk around, and do small stretches before resuming work to get the desired back strength. You should also adjust the lumbar support of your ergonomic office chair as you change your positions during work.
For example, while sitting upright, you don’t need much lumbar support. However, if you lean forward to typing or reading something on a monitor, you need extra support for your lumbar area. Also, avoid a forward head posture as it puts pressure on neck muscles, which causes pain and discomfort. Sitting with your feet flat on the ground maintains good blood flow in your body.
In a nutshell, lumbar support is a must-have feature, especially for those who have back issues. The lumbar support should be adjusted in a way that it tightly hugs your lower back and allows it to rest on it while you are sitting.
Different office chair models have different ways of adjusting the lumbar support. In some chairs, an adjustment knob or lever is used to adjust it. If the chair does not have a knob or lever for adjusting lumbar support, you can still fix it by using a lumbar cushion or tilting the backrest forward to improve the lumber support.
Also, go through the user manual of your office chair for any instructions regarding the adjustment of lumbar support. Most importantly, improve your body posture while sitting on the chair to get natural lumbar support. A rightly adjusted lumbar support would surely ensure that your lumbar curve remains in place and you enjoy a pain-free working day for you.