When we are sitting without proper back support, we have up to 3 times more strain on the lower back then we do when we are standing. The human body was not originally designed to sit for the long periods of time that modern humans tend to, and in addition to lower back pain, inadequate support also puts stress on the joints and surrounding tissues. Many people try to compensate by shifting more of their weight forward while sitting, but this can create additional pain, and may also trigger sciatica.
Because the lower part of our spine has a natural curve inward, toward the stomach, the space between the seat and our lumbar spine curve needs to be supported. If there is no support, the surrounding muscles try to compensate, and the upper back and the head lean forward, causing us to slouch forward in the chair. Slumping and slouching is the first stop on the road to muscle pain and fatigue.
In order to alleviate this pain, the first step is to evaluate the chair you are using and see if you can adjust it to provide proper lumbar support. Depending on your height, the lumbar support may be just right and fill into your lower back. However, many people find that the lumbar support on their chair falls too low or too high, and may not be able to be adjusted enough to fill the gap.
Probably the least expensive and most convenient method is to use portable lumbar support. These are speciality cushions or rolls that you can position behind you on your chair so they will provide that much needed lower back support. They come in a variety of material, and some are even inflatable so you can get exactly the level of support you need. The other great thing about portable lumbar supports is that once you find one that works for you, you can take it anywhere. You could use it while driving in the car, or at your home office as well.
Next time you are shopping for an office chair, make sure lumbar support is an essential element of the chair design. This one corrective will go a long way to easing any lower back pain, and will also help alleviate any secondary pain in your neck or legs. Proper lumbar support office chairs are an integral part of any office environment.