Suffering from lower back pain?
You’re not alone.
In fact, low back pain is the leading cause of disability worldwide, according to the Global Burden of Disease 2010.
Lumbar support pillows have been shown to be effective in both relieving and preventing acute and chronic low back pain.
In this buyer’s guide, we’ll discuss the features and benefits of the different lumbar supports for your back that are available.
I’ll also give you our suggestions on the best lumbar supports for your office chair currently on the market.
But first, let’s take a closer look at the common types of back supports and how to choose the right one for you.
Types of Back Support Pillows for Office Chairs
There are four basic types of lumbar support pillows:
These types of lumbar pillows feature adjustable straps that allow you to attach them to various different chairs.
They usually have a removable insert that prevents the cushion from conforming to the shape of the chair instead of conforming to the curve of your spine.
Adjustable designs are a good option for those who plan to use the lumbar support pillow on different seats (i.e car seats, kitchen chairs).
Moulded foam lumbar support pillows come in various shapes and sizes.
They are filled with viscoelastic foam (memory foam), which conforms to the natural contours of your body.
These lumbar support cushions can be inflated using an included air pump to provide varying degrees of lower back support.
Because of their ability to inflate and deflate, these pillows are great for offering proper support when travelling.
What to Look For When Choosing a Back Support Pillow
Below are a few things to look for in a good lumbar support cushion.
Lumbar pillows are covered with a variety of fabrics that provide varying degrees of comfort.
A lumbar support pillow covered with a velvety material is a good choice if your office is chilly.
If your office is very warm, consider a lumbar cushion covered with cool mesh or synthetic fabric.
Most lumbar support pillows on the market today are filled with memory foam, which conforms to the curve of the spine to provide customized support where you need it most.
Another popular filling type for lumbar support pillows is natural buckwheat hull, which offers excellent support for the spine while soothing the tense muscles of the lower back.
Other filling types, such as polyester and polyfill, may not provide the firmness and structure needed to maintain proper alignment of the spine and relieve lower back pain.
If you spend a lot of time sitting at your desk or live in a warmer climate, you’ll want to ensure your lumbar support cushion is covered with a breathable material.
You’ll also want to look for lumbar cushions made with a fabric that has moisture-wicking properties.
An adjustable lumbar support pillow saves you money in the long run, as it can be used on any type of seat.
If you choose a design that isn’t adjustable, it’s a good idea to try the chair out on different types of chairs to ensure it provides a consistent level of support.
Traditionally, lumbar support cushions featured a cylindrical shape.
Newer lumbar support pillows come in a variety of shapes that are designed to provide better support for the lumbar region of the back.
The most popular shapes for modern support pillows are:
- Wedge designs, are characterized by their narrow top and wider bottom
- Half-moon shapes, feature a D-shaped contour that relieves pressure in the lower spine, neck, and legs
- Contoured designs, are intended to support both the mid and lower back.
The support pillow should properly fit the dimensions of your back.
In general, shorter people will require a thicker cushion, while taller people should consider a thin cushion design.
Heavier individuals will want to look for designs that won’t compress or become deformed with repeated use.
A support pillow’s price is a good indicator of its quality.
Cheaper cushions are generally made from lower-quality materials and don’t provide as much support as more expensive versions.
While this isn’t a hard rule, it’s a good idea to thoroughly research the support pillow you intend to purchase to ensure it will provide adequate protection against lower back pain.
The Best Back Supports for Office Chairs in 2023
In this section, we’ll review the best lumbar support pillows available on the market today.
While this list focuses on support pillows for office chairs, most of them can also be used in other situations such as in the car or on the couch.
The Original McKenzie Lumbar Roll
The Original McKenzie Lumbar Roll features a cylindrical shape measuring 11 inches in length and 4.75 inches in diameter.
It was designed by Robin McKenzie, a leading expert in spinal health and the founder of McKenzie Institute International.
Priced at just over $20, the McKenzie roll is an excellent choice for those on a tight budget.
The McKenzie Lumbar Roll features a foam construction and is offered in two densities: standard or firm.
The roll is designed to conform to the inward curve of the lower back, keeping your spine properly aligned.
It has a single strap that can either be secured around your waist or around your office chair.
The removable and washable cover is made from a comfortable moisture-wicking fabric that draws perspiration away from the lower back to help keep you cool.
This support pillow does not come with a warranty, which may be a concern to some.
That said, its low price point and consistently high ratings from users make the McKenzie Lumbar Roll tough to beat.
If you’re looking for an inexpensive, durable, and portable product that offers superior ergonomic performance, this may be the right lumbar pillow for you.
FORTEM Chair Cushion
The FORTEM Chair Cushion is actually made up of two pieces: a lumbar back support and an orthopaedic seat cushion making this cushion great value for money.
The lumbar back support is like most of the other lumbar supports on this list designed to support your back and help relieve lower back pain
It has two adjustable straps and can be used on almost all types of seats, including office, car and aeroplane seats.
However, as I pointed out this is a two-piece set, so you also get a seat cushion which can help with sciatica and tailbone injuries, but also that all-too-common numb bottom you can get from sitting for too long.
It is constructed from 100 per cent pure premium memory foam, which offers comfortable support while resisting compression.
The support pillow has a breathable, removable cover made from a soft velour that feels great against the back.
Overall, I found the FORTEM chair cushion great value for money. Anyone who finds they need back support, as well as relief from a dead butt from sitting too long, will find this set particularly handy.
The seat cushion doesn’t move around on your seat either as it has a non-slip bottom.
Another point worth noting is that this pillow comes with a 1-year guarantee.
LoveHome Memory Foam Lumbar Back Cushion
The LoveHome Memory Foam Cushion features a memory foam construction that allows the cushion to conform to the curve of your spine.
It is thicker than many other lumbar supports on the market, making it an excellent choice for those who sit in deep chairs for long periods of time.
A single strap along the back of the cushion allows the cushion to be securely fitted onto different chairs and seats, while a removable, breathable cover adds to the product’s ease of maintenance.
What makes this lumbar support pillow especially comfortable is its moisture-wicking mesh cover, which draws moisture away from the skin and prevents the accumulation of sweat – a common complaint with these types of cushions.
The mesh cover also has antimicrobial properties, which help inhibit the growth of odour-causing bacteria.
The LoveHome Memory foam Lumbar Support Cushion only comes with a 60-day warranty, but its low price and highly-rated customer reviews help make this lumbar support pillow worth a look.
Feagar Lumbar Support Pillow
The Feagar Lumbar Support Pillow is designed to provide full orthopaedic support by maintaining proper alignment of the lower as well as the upper thoracic region of the spine.
Filled with 100 per cent pure memory foam, this pillow provides a snug, comfortable fit that won’t compress over time (if you don’t like memory foam there is also a mesh PU leather option).
This lumbar support cushion features a wide, high-back design with a large contour that fits snugly against the natural curves of the spine.
The great thing I found about this support pillow is that it comes with two adjustable straps rather than one to help keep the pillow in place.
You’ll find that a lot of the lumbar supports that come with one strap tend to slide down which can be quite annoying.
In addition, the adjustable straps are quite long and should fit all kinds of chairs and seats, making it an excellent choice for those seeking the utmost in portability.
Do note that the cushion is on the thick side, so it could push you towards the edge of your seat if your chair is small.
You should find that this support is very comfortable and so is the material. The cover can easily be removed and is machine washable.
If there’s one flaw about this pillow is that since it is made of memory foam so the softness can be affected by the room temperature.
On hotter days you may find it’ll be soft and on colder days much firmer.
Overall, though, this cushion provides excellent support for the entire back.
One of the best things about the Feagar Lumbar Support Pillow, however, is that it is backed by a lifetime guarantee.
If you find you have any problems with your pillow they’ll send you a replacement for free. This alone makes the pillow worth the extra cost.
Go Lumbar Support Mesh Back Cushion
The Go Lumbar Support Mesh Back Cushion is a versatile chair support featuring an adjustable, breathable mesh design.
It can be used on most types of chairs and car seats and has an adjustable strap for ensuring the most comfortable fit.
The mesh conforms to the shape of your spine to provide extra support and relieve muscle pressure.
What we love about this cushion is its lightweight design, which makes it easy to transfer from an office chair to a kitchen chair, or a car seat.
We also love its ease of maintenance.
There is no cover that has to be removed and washed; the breathable mesh design keeps you cool while preventing perspiration from accumulating in the lower back area.
That said, this product isn’t without its flaws.
Some users have complained that this cushion tends to slip down on the chair’s back.
Still, the Go Lumbar Support Mesh Back Cushion provides excellent value for its low price and is worth considering by anyone needing mild to moderate lower back support.
AJUVIA Back Vitalizer
The back vitalizer from Ajuvia is designed for middle and lower back support, to strengthen the areas, improve core stability and enhance circulation.
This multi-functional item also doubles as a knee and leg massage pillow for sleeping, plus it offers the same benefits as a stability ball–helping to relieve pressure on your tailbone.
It boasts air cell technology and is made with breathable 3D material.
Whether it’s for your car or office chair, Ajuvia can support over 350 pounds.
It provides 10,000 daily hours of use and can be inflated for easy storage and travel.
Some complaints from users are that the product tends to deflate easily.
Also, the strap only secures the product in a horizontal position so when turned vertical it does not stay in place.
Nonetheless, Ajuvia is multi-functional and a good pick for heavier persons, since it can accommodate over 350 pounds.
BackJoy SitSmart Posture Plus
Backjoy is designed to relieve the strains and pressure that can aggravate your back pain.
This seat cushion can be used indoor or outdoor and features a waterproof EVA foam covering and can accommodate between 100 to 300 pounds.
This lightweight product has a patented stabilization system that claims to transform your posture from the bottom upwards.
It does this by tilting your hips into a neutral position during use, thus shifting your centre of gravity to relieve pressure from the lower back.
Backjoy is portable, cost-effective and can be used in your car, office chair and on outdoor surfaces.
On the downside, some buyers felt the device was too soft while the large size was also an issue for petite persons.
Furthermore, the item is non-refundable.
However, the product boasts a patented stabilization system and it won’t break the bank.
So, if you suffer from herniated discs, hip or back injury, sciatica or lower back pain give this one a try.
Fellowes Professional Series Back Support
This back-support cushion features 3 memory foam sections to promote neutral posture.
It is designed to fit most office chairs and boasts a 2-tiered support system for lower lumbar and mid-spinal support.
Furthermore, thanks to the tri-tachment system you won’t need to readjust the device as it firmly stays in place during use.
This device from Fellowes offers custom support by responding to your back weight and warmth.
It conforms comfortably to your lower back and is easy to setup and use.
Buyers noted that the product was too small for large chairs, and they also complained about the straps breaking.
But, if you’re on a budget and need a simple back support option this is worth a try.
Tempur-Pedic Pedic Lumbar Cushion
This lumbar support back cushion from Tempur-Pedic is ergonomically designed to contour to your body shape—supporting the mid and lower back.
It is made from adaptive temper material to keep its shape and it has a washable and removable cover that is allergen-resistant.
It is made from the same material as the ones used in the Temper-Pedic mattresses and can be used in your car or office chair.
The moulded shape of this product helps to evenly distribute your weight over the contoured surface of the cushion and relieving pressure for added comfort. It also comes in a travel size.
Some buyers remarked that the cushion was too firm while others commented on the lack of straps and the large size.
However, this renowned brand offers a smaller travel size so if you want a firm cushion that is allergen-resistant, this might be the one.
Cureve Lumbar Support Memory Foam Pillow
This pillow from Cureve is made from 100% high-density memory foam, and claims to stay firm even after repeated use.
The ergonomically curved structure supports the natural shape of your body for proper posture and spinal alignment.
It features a breathable, washable cotton cover for added comfort and the pillow contours to your back to prevent and relieve back pain.
Additionally, the product comes with 2 reusable gel packs that can be inserted into the pillow.
The gel packs can be frozen for ice therapy or heated in the microwave and used as a heat pack.
Cureve can be used with your office chair, wheelchair or car seat and comes with straps to securely attach the item.
Complaints from buyers were about the comfort level of the device, but the gel packs are an added bonus and at this cost-effective price it’s a great deal.
The Best Back Support: Recommendation
In terms of affordability, comfort, and support provided, the Feagar Lumbar support pillow has it all.
Add portability to the mix and you have the ideal cushion to support you at the office, while driving, on a long flight, or in any other situation that requires prolonged periods of sitting.
Its attractive design allows the Feagar Lumbar support pillow to fit in well with any home or office decor, while its exceptional construction ensures the cushion feels as great as it looks.
Even though it is a little pricier than the other options, the icing on the cake is that it comes with a lifetime guarantee.
If for any reason it breaks or you’re unhappy with it, you can return it for a full refund or get a replacement free of charge.
Take Care of Your Back
Lumbar support cushions are a great alternative to ergonomic chairs and standing desks for individuals who want to prevent, or are already experiencing lower back pain.
Some people also find that wearing a back brace can help support their lower back whilst they are not using lumbar chair support.
Another great way to help lower back pain is to accommodate stretching into your daily routine to relieve tightness in the lower back.
This comprehensive buyer’s guide should help you understand the different cushion types and features that are available so you can choose the best lumbar support for your needs.
This section covers some common questions regarding lumbar back supports and how they can help with back pain.
What Causes Lower Back Pain?
There are many conditions that can cause lower back pain, including nerve irritation, ruptured or herniated discs, osteoarthritis, spinal infections, and conditions of the bones and joints.
The most common cause of lower back pain, however, is lumbar strain.
Lumbar strain occurs as a result of injury or damage to the tendons and muscles of the lower back.
The injury is usually caused by improper use or overuse of the muscles that help maintain a healthy curvature in the lower spine region.
Lower back strain is characterized by discomfort and pain in the lower back area.
The pain can range from mild to severe, depending on the degree of damage to the muscles and tissues of the lower back.
Lower back pain is classified as an acute condition if it lasts for only a few days.
Back pain that persists for longer than three months is considered a chronic condition.
Studies show that lumbar strain is most common in individuals over 40 years of age, but this type of injury can occur at any age.
According to experts, more than 80 per cent of adults will experience low back pain at least once in their lifetime.
How Can a Back Support Pillow Help?
Sitting in an office chair for extended periods of time can cause injury to the low back or exacerbate an existing injury.
The reason for this is that sitting forces you to maintain a static position that places stress on the back muscles and spinal discs.
Worse yet, many people fail to maintain a good posture while sitting and instead slouch forward or down in the seat.
This further contributes to low back strain and the resulting discomfort.
A popular solution for preventing lower back pain is to use a lumbar support pillow.
These are simple support pillows made out of memory foam that can be placed behind your back and used when sitting in most office chairs.
Lumbar support pillows fit against the natural S-curve to provide extra support for the lower back region when you’re sitting for long periods of time.
This, in turn, helps properly align the neck, upper spine, and shoulders, providing instant relief from upper and lower back pain.
Lumbar support cushions also help relax the muscles and tendons in the low back, further reducing pain and discomfort.
Some other benefits of lumbar back support include:
1. Help align the back, neck, shoulders and hips properly to promote good posture and relieve pain.
2. Are generally safer than using medications to relieve lower back pain.
3. May be covered under some health insurance plans.
4. Are an inexpensive alternative to ergonomic chairs, standing desks, and expensive medical devices.