What is Lumbar Support? Why You Need it on Your Office Chair


Woman experiencing a sore neck while sitting in her office chair due to poor lumbar support.

Lumbar support can’t be dismissed when you’re looking at an office chair. Sure, it needs all the other levers too, but the right lumbar support on a chair can improve your posture to the point that it prevents pain and injury that would be more likely with another chair.

What is Lumbar Support? 

Lumbar support is needed to protect the natural curve of the lower back. The support helps with maintaining the natural curve and taking some of the support. 

A chair with lumbar support ensures that it’s easier to keep a better posture, with the hips, ears and shoulders kept in line. Sitting in an ideal posture stops a range of health conditions including back pain, spinal dysfunction, rounded shoulders, joint degeneration and poor core muscles.

Why Lumbar Support is Important

Without lumbar support, it’s difficult to maintain the correct posture. The lower spine and the muscles in the lower back have to work harder to support the back’s curvature. Over time, the muscles can no longer hold the spine in the correct position, so the head and upper back lean forward to compensate. Keeping the back muscles supported is particularly important when seated for long periods.

How an Ergonomic Chair Works to Provide Back Support

When looking for a new office chair with the right lumbar support, check the following:

  • The seat is wide and deep enough to comfortably support you.

  • You can sit back in the chair with a 10cm distance between the back of the knees to the seat of the chair.

  • The backrest is adjustable both in forward and back angles.

  • The seat and backrest have enough quality padding that they will provide comfort for extended periods.

  • If the chair has armrests, they should be adjustable so shoulders are relaxed.

  • The chair easily swivels to reach different areas of the desk without straining.

  • If your feet can’t sit comfortably on the floor, be sure to get a footrest with your chair purchase.

Ergonomic Office Chairs

For some occupations and body shapes, a standard ergonomic chair isn’t the best option. A heavier worker will be better supported by a heavy duty or bariatric chair, while a smaller worker may need a small office chair that has a shorter seat so they can have their back properly supported.

Some workers need a chair specifically designed for their occupation. Drafting chairs are ideal for the healthcare industry because they’re higher and have an adjustable foot ring to take the stress off the lower back. For those professions that use a stool, there are ergonomic stools with backrests, which still allow for easy movement but provide the necessary support.

Additional Back Support for Chairs

To check if the lumbar support is adequate, sit up straight in the chair with your head, spine and hips in a straight line. While sitting all the way back in the chair, check that the curve of the seat follows the curve of your back. If not, check if the back of the seat can be tilted until it fits the shape of your back better.

If the chair isn’t ergonomic or can’t be adjusted adequately, you may need an ergonomic lumbar support. The supports come in a range of different shapes and sizes.

The seat wedge helps improve your posture to reduce fatigue and improve productivity, while the posture aid back support helps keep the spine in the curvature position. Maintaining a healthy seated position throughout the day can reduce lower back pain. The Body Hugger cushion improves lumbar and lateral support.

Non-ergonomic office chairs can be customised to provide lumbar support with the Kensington Contour SmartFit back support. The height can be adjusted for maximum support of the spine and lumbar region.

Get in touch with Ergolink to discuss your lumbar support requirements by giving us a call on 9240 7066 or contact us online.