What Is Lumbar Support In A Chair?

lumbar support in a chair

The lumbar support of a chair is an external pillow or a feature embedded in the backrest that allows the lower area of the chair’s backrest to be adjusted to the back of the user. By supporting and stabilizing the lumbar spine, it ensures an upright and ergonomically correct sitting posture. This benefits the entire back, allows muscles to relax to effectively prevent back pain, and reduces existing complaints.

What Is Lumbar Support In A Chair?

Lumbar support: refers to the lower part of the spine, where the natural curvature of the spine arches forward, the lordotic curvature.

The backrest of a chair should support this natural arch of the spine through dedicated lumbar support that is individually adjustable in strength and height.


Why do you need an ergonomic backrest?

Our spine is a strong structure that is made up of several vertebrae separated by spinal discs and supported by large muscles and ligaments. We have a total of 33 Vertebrae in our body and they together form the Vertebral Column or Spine. Now, these Vertebrae are further categorized according to the area where they are present.

They are named as Cervical (7), Thoracic (12), Lumbar (5), Sacral (5) and Coccygeal (4). Lumbar Vertebrae are the ones that are present in the lower back of the body.

When you sit in a bad position for hours it causes the ligaments of your spine to put on a gentle stretch. Normally they resist this for a while but if you stay in the flexed position, they begin to lengthen which in technical terms is known as “Creep”. The creep continues to cause stress to your lower back tissues and muscle fatigue which results in back pain. According to one study, it takes almost 7 hours to get rid of creep. To solve this creep issue, we use the Lumbar support cushion which supports your Lumbar (lower back) and it can reduce the ligament creep and it works significantly well. Lumbar Support also provides correct posture to your backbone which is very difficult to maintain without good Lumbar Support. If you work more than 5 hours on a computer then it is very important to have good lumbar support.

Different Types of Lumbar Support for Gaming Chairs

There are many types of Lumbar Support systems available in the market and every type of geared toward the different types of chairs. You can categorize lumbar support into 4 main types. Here are the different types of Lumbar Support.

Fixed Support

Fixed Lumbar Support is the one that you usually get in budget office chairs. This type of lumbar support can’t be adjusted or modified in any way. Fixed Lumbar Support has very basic functions, which means they may not be ergonomically designed and you will not get the best results. However, still better to have fixed lumbar support than to have no lower back support at all. However, if the chair is not quite right for your body size it could be counterproductive if the lumbar support is not positioned correctly.

Adjustable Support

Adjustable Lumbar support is a feature of most premium office and gaming chairs. It allows you to manually adjust the Lumbar area of the chair to provide maximum support to fit your body type. Adjustable Lumbar support can categorize it into three further classes.

  • Height Adjustable Lumbar support is the one that most comes in office chairs. In this type of support, you can adjust the height of the lumbar support to fit your curvature and depth of spinal curvature. Chairs with Height Adjustable Lumbar support are best if chairs are used by different people as you can always adjust them according to your body size.
  • Depth Adjustable Lumbar support is also more common in office chairs and using this lumbar support, you can control how much lumbar support protrudes on the outside.
  • Firmness Adjustable Lumbar Support is a feature that allows you to control the firmness or softness of the lumbar support via a knob on the side of the backrest.

Ergonomically designed chairs with adjustable lumbar support provide the best comfort.

Dynamic Lumbar Support

Dynamic Lumbar Support is the top-of-the-line lumbar support that you will find in premium office chairs. Chairs with dynamic lumbar support are designed in a way, that they automatically adjust the depth and firmness of lumbar support according to your posture. Premium chairs such as Herman Miller Embody and X- Chair come with dynamic lumbar support. The only downside of those super chairs is the fairly high price tag.

External Lumbar Support

lumbar support External Lumbar Support is the one that you will find in the majority of the gaming chairs. Height adjustable external Lumbar and Head pillow provide support to your spine. The effectiveness of external lumbar support depends on the shape of the pillows and the padding used.

The standard lumbar cushion that is common in most gaming chairs is a standard size memory foam cushion that hangs on straps and so can be moved in height.

However, some companies also add larger or specialty support pillows to their chairs, which are a great option if you are a tall guy or need extra support for your spine.

One of the reasons why Gaming Chairs don’t come with dedicated lumbar support is that racing-style seats are already designed in a way to provide the most comfort to their users. If you pick your gaming chair in the right size then most probably you won’t need external lumbar support. However, please note that racing gaming chairs are designed in different sizes. Make sure to read the specification and reviews of the gaming chair before spending your money on it.

Which type of Lumbar Support is best for you?

When it comes to the type of lumbar support that may be best for you, you should consider the following factors.

  • How much time you will spend on a chair. If you spend 2-3 hours on a chair then you can go with any lumbar support. However, if you tend to spend the whole day working or gaming then you should invest in a really good chair. Gaming chairs are ergonomically designed to provide comfort and support to your body. If the price isn’t a problem for you then you might want to look at premium office chairs
  • Another factor is your body type. Everyone has a unique body type so it is very important to have a chair that should be able to support your body. If you have a deep lumbar curve then you will need a deeper lumbar support cushion. If you have more flat back then you can go with normal lumbar support.
  • To sit in comfort. Try the different types of lumbar support and pick the one which feels most comfortable. If you can’t visit the showroom personally then you can compare reviews that will help you decide the best type of lumbar support for you.

Bottom Line

Having good lumbar support can help you reduce or prevent back pain. But if you spend hours working on the computer then it is important to get up regularly and do some exercise. There are countless tutorials out there that will teach you different exercises that promise benefit or relief. Some say it is even irrelevant what kind of sitting furniture you sit on, it is more important that you get up in between to move and stretch.  But a good posture while sitting must not be underestimated. If you are looking for a gaming chair then do visit our chair guides that will help you select your next chair.


The effect of a lumbar support pillow on lumbar posture
Types of Lumbar Support and Ergonomic Office Chairs