Lumbar support is a critical component of any back brace or back support system. The lumbar area of your back is a frequent source of lower back pain, but with the proper lumbar support, pain can be reduced or eliminated.
What is the Lumbar area of the back?
The lumbar area is often referred to as the lower back or lower spine - more specifically, the area of your lower back that curves in toward your abdomen. Your lumbar area consists of five vertebrae in the lower part of your spine, between your ribs and your pelvis. It also includes your muscles in that part of your lower back.
Pain in the lumbar area is a common problem
Many people experience pain in their lumbar region. So much has to do with the nature of our everyday lives, especially those of us who work remote jobs during which we sit all day, or those jobs that require physical strain like working in a warehouse. Lumbar pain can also result from playing sports like golf or tennis. Even your hobbies, like hiking, gardening or decorating can take a toll on your lower back.
What is a lumbar support?
Generally speaking, a 'lumbar support' is anything that gives you additional support to your lumbar region. For example, when you’re sitting down, good lumbar back support should be right up against the base of your lower back. This will help you maintain that natural, inward curve of your lower spine.
Your lower back/lumbar region is responsible for how your entire body feels and is important for maintaining good posture. If you don’t have the right lumbar support, you may experience muscle fatigue, soreness, and/or pain. And your back may be more sensitive to spasms or injuries from everyday basic movements and physical activities.
Why is lumbar support important?
Do you slouch or lean forward when sitting? This is the opposite of what you should do when sitting down. It leads to poor posture and soreness or stiffness in your lumbar region and throughout your back. Lumbar back support can make a huge difference in the way you feel and move.
Good lumbar or lower back support will help you maintain good posture, sit comfortably and keep your lower back healthy and in good working order. It essentially ‘props up your back’.
Lumbar supports are also used to prevent the onset of low back pain (primary prevention) or to prevent recurrences of a low back pain episode (secondary prevention). If the lower lumbar is damaged, or put under constant stress, it can lead to pain and stiffness.
Lumbar back support options
Boomers - do you remember big, bulky back braces? I can still picture my dad, a master carpenter, wearing a rigid, bulky and cumbersome back brace that looked more like a corset. He wore it begrudgingly because he still had to work and earn a living.
It probably did its job in alleviating some pain or preventing it from getting worse but it was so uncomfortable. He hated it! I remember him saying, “They can send a man to the moon” but “Why can’t they invent something for the lower back that helps with pain?”
Today, through research and technology, those heavy, uncomfortable back braces are a thing of the past. Modern lumbar back supports help promote good posture by filling in the gap between your lumbar spine and seat, supporting that natural curve of your lower back. This support reduces pain and soreness, so you can stay active.
Some types of lumbar supports are:
- Ergonomically-designed chairs for office and home
- Portable pillows; some are inflatable to achieve the desired level of support
- A curved cushion or lumbar roll which can be used at home, car, bed, or office
- Adjustable, temperature-controlled beds
- Back supports that enable you to stay active
Maintaining your back health is absolutely essential to living an active lifestyle and a productive life. Help is available for those days when pain limits your choices. Talk to a doctor or medical professional for help in finding the right lumbar support option for you.