Causes of Lower Back Pain and How a Lumbar Pillow Can Help
If low back pain is making your life unbearable, then you are not alone. According to a report by the Global Burden of Disease in 2010, lower back pain is the primary cause of disability around the world.
Luckily, a lumbar pillow or a scientifically designed back pillow can serve as an effective solution in preventing and relieving acute lower back discomfort.
This guide will help you understand how a memory foam lumbar support pillow or cushion can be advantageous for spinal health. But first, let’s discuss the various causes and risk factors of low back pain and how the right back pillow for lower back pain can help.
1. How is Lower Back Pain Caused?
Lower back pain can be caused by multiple conditions, including osteoarthritis, spinal infections, nerve irritation, ruptured or herniated discs, and poor conditions of the bones and joints. Lumbar injuries are usually due to overuse of muscles in the lower spine region. They can also be caused by improper posture.
However, the leading cause of lower back pain can be attributed to lumbar strain, a result of injury or damage to the tendons and muscles of the lower back. Lumbar strain arises in many cases due to a lack of an appropriate back support pillow.
Lower back strain is characterized by discomfort in the lower back area and is classified as an acute condition if it lasts for more than few days.
Any back pain that lasts longer than 12 weeks is considered a chronic condition. Depending on the degree of damage to the muscles and tissues of the lower back, pain can range from mild to severe.
According to several studies, lumbar strain is found to be most common in adults above the age of 40. However, it is important to note that this injury can occur at any age. It is unanimously claimed by experts that low back pain is experienced by more than 80% of adults at least once in their lifetime.
2. What Are the Risk Factors Leading to Low Back Pain?
There are a number of factors apart from underlying diseases that may elevate your risk for low back pain.
Back pain becomes more common as you age, with the first typical attack occurring between the ages of 30 and 50. Loss of bone strength from osteoporosis can lead to fractures, which also results in a decrease of muscle elasticity and tone. Furthermore, as we grow older, our intervertebral discs are unable to cushion vertebrae due to loss of fluids.
People who are not physically fit are more prone to back pain. Due to weak back and abdominal muscles, your spine may not get the proper support it needs.
‘Weekend warriors’ or people who tend to exercise a lot for a stretch of time after a relatively inactive week are more prone to painful back injuries as compared to people who indulge in moderate physical activity as a daily habit.
Research studies show that you can maintain the integrity of intervertebral discs with low-impact aerobic exercises.
Low back pain is a constant companion of pregnant women due to alterations in weight loading and pelvic changes. However, these symptoms almost always resolve postpartum and can be alleviated with the help of a back support cushion.
Overweight and Obesity
Obesity can put tremendous stress on your back. You may experience lower back pain even if you gain significant amounts of weight rapidly or are overweight.
Ankylosing spondylitis, a form of arthritis involving fusion of the spinal joints, leads to some immobility of the spine. It is a genetic disease resulting in chronic back pain.
You can develop back pain or a back injury while on the job if it requires heavy lifting, pushing, or pulling.
This becomes likelier if your job involves twisting or vibrating the spine. Alternatively, you may suffer from back pain at an inactive job or a desk job, especially if you have poor posture or sit all day in a chair with inadequate office chair back support.
Mental Health Contributors
Pre-existing mental health conditions such as anxiety and depression can influence the perception of pain severity. In turn, chronic pain can also result in the development of psychological factors, like stress, which can again result in muscle tension.
Overloaded Children’s Backpacks
It is unusual for pre-teens to suffer from low back pain unrelated to injury. Interestingly, though, backpacks overloaded with schoolbooks and supplies can be a major contributing factor to muscle fatigue.
A child’s backpack should weigh no more than 20% of their body weight, as per the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons.
3. How Can You Maintain Spinal Health?
A regimen of low-impact exercises is advised following any period of prolonged inactivity. You can increase muscle strength and flexibility by speed walking, swimming, or stationary bike riding for 30 minutes daily.
Yoga is also a great way to improve posture and help stretch and strengthen your back muscles. Here are some tips to help you improve your spinal health:
- Make sure you stretch before exercising.
- Avoid slouching while sitting or standing. Your lower back can support your weight most easily when the curvature is reduced. Make sure that while standing you keep your weight balanced on your feet.
- Make sure work surfaces are at a comfortable height at work or home.
- Sit in a chair with a good lumbar back cushion at a proper height for the task. Switch sitting positions often and keep your shoulders back. Use an office chair pillow and gently stretch muscles to relieve tension. Also, get up often to walk around. A rolled-up towel or a pillow for back pain can provide some lumbar support. Elevate feet on a low stool during prolonged periods of sitting.
- Try wearing comfortable shoes, preferably with low heels.
- Always sleep on a firm surface in a fetal position. This can help open up the joints in the spine and relieve pressure by reducing its curvature.
- Lift from the knees and avoid lifting objects that are too heavy for you. Do not twist when lifting and keep objects close to the body.
- Prevent excessive weight gain by maintaining proper nutrition and diet which is high in calcium, phosphorus, and vitamin D to promote new bone growth.
- Smoking reduces blood flow to lower spine and increases the risk of osteoporosis while impeding healing. Incessant coughing due to heavy smoking could put undue pressure on your lower back.
4. Why Should You Use a Lumbar Support Pillow?
Lower back injury can be caused by siting in an office chair for extended lengths without proper chair back support. This is because sitting forces you to maintain a static position, which places stress on the spinal discs and back muscles.
Worse yet, many people tend to slouch forwards in their seat, failing to maintain a good posture while sitting. This further contributes to the ongoing stress in the lower back resulting in added discomfort.
Standing desks and ergonomic kneeling chairs are two accepted solutions for preventing lower back pain, particularly for people who tend to work in a seated posture for prolonged periods.
However, there is another more convenient and simple solution to lower back pain – lumbar support cushions.
Lumbar support for office chairs naturally fit against the S-curve of your back to provide added support for the lower back when you sit for extended periods of time.
They also help correct posture by aligning the neck, upper spine, and shoulders. This provides instant relief from upper and lower back pain. Furthermore, lumbar support pillows help relax the muscles and tendons in the low back to alleviate pain and discomfort.
Benefits of a Lumbar Support Pillow
Lumbar support cushions have the following benefits:
- They help improve posture and relieve pain by aligning the back, neck, shoulders and hips properly.
- They are safer and more cost effective than using painkiller medications.
- Certain health insurance plans may cover them.
- Inexpensive alternative to using standing desks, ergonomic chairs, and expensive medical devices.
5. What Is Memory Foam and How Is It Helpful?
The most supportive lumbar back pillows are constructed of memory foam. Memory foam keeps you aligned perfectly in any sleep position through the night by creating an inviting cradle for your head and neck. You do not have to wake up and reposition the pillow in the middle of the night while turning since memory foam moves with you to maintain its shape.
Technically, memory foam is a visco-elastic polyurethane foam developed by NASA engineers to absorb turbulence and improve the safety of aircraft cushions.
Early adopters understood that NASA was onto something since the foam could keep the backs of scientists going supersonic more comfortable with its special absorbent characteristics that had the ability to mold to the body from heat and pressure.
Today, memory foam has use in almost everything from helmets to mattresses and medical bracings. They prove that good sleep sometimes requires added help from science.
Benefits of Memory Foam Pillow
- It adjusts to a sleeper’s body heat and body weight by being temperature sensitive.
- It displaces pressure along the length of the body and is great for pressure point management.
- It helps mitigate disturbances from your partner at night by absorbing movements.
A lumbar lower back pillow and cushions are a fantastic alternative to standing desks and ergonomic chairs for individuals who want to prevent back pain or are already suffering from lower back issues.
Click here to find an ergonomically designed lumbar support pillow to maintain spinal health and prevent or reduce lower back pain.