What is Lumbar support? Everything you need to know | Hangjian Chair

February 08, 2023

What is Lumbar support? Everything you need to know

Office or desk seats come in all shapes and sizes, and there are several key features worth considering when choosing one for your office or desk space. If you plan on spending a fair amount of time using your chair (be it for work or extended gaming sessions) how much lumbar support the chair offers is definitely one of those features worth considering.

But what is it? And why is it important?

What is Lumbar Support?

Generally speaking, a 'lumbar support' is anything that gives you additional support to the lumbar region. If we are being technical, this is the five vertebrae of the lower spine between the sacrum and diaphragm, but to most of us, it's simply the lower back.


For most people, there is a natural tendency to slouch or lean forward when seated for a long period of time, a posture that pushes out the lower back turning the natural inward curve into an outward curve. This can strain the various structures within the lower back.


Typically, when a person is sat in a slouched position, there is a lot of emphasis and strain on the lower vertebra (L4 and L5). Developing a non-neutral position is where the spine is resting in a C-shape position. Our most neutral spinal position resembles an S-shape, which in the sitting position, can only really be attained when the body is sat in a slightly reclined position. With this said, this is the position that ultimately requires lumbar support that essentially bridges the gap between the lower back and the backrest of the chair.


When seated, good lumbar support should be right up against the small of your back, helping you to maintain the inward curve of your lower spine, giving you a healthy posture.

Types of Lumbar Support

Lumbar support comes in a variety of types, offering basic to excellent ergonomic qualities. Let's go through some of those options now.

Fixed lumbar support

A fixed lumbar support is one that is completely rigid. It is built into the chair and fixed in place, meaning it cannot change height or depth and is often found on lower-end chairs. Whilst this is more ergonomic than a chair with no dedicated lumbar support, its lack of flexibility can make it counterproductive. People come in all shapes and sizes, and your spine is as unique as your fingerprint, so a lumbar support that cannot be adjusted to fit you will be positioned incorrectly, either protruding too little or too much, providing incorrect support.

Adjustable Lumbar support

Adjustable Lumbar support offers manual adjustability, allowing it to fit better for a much wider range of spine curvatures. These adjustments come in various ways including


Height: The support can move up and down the chair back to target more accurately.

Depth: This allows the user to control how far the support stands out. Sometimes this is done using a pump that inflates the support.

Firmness: often using a knob of dial, this adjusts how hard or soft the support is.


Whilst the height adjustment is often seen as the most important adjustment option, the best lumbar support combines at least two of the adjustments mentioned above.

External lumbar support

Chairs that contain no lumbar support can often be supplemented with external support, which most commonly comes in the form of a pillow. This is then held in position with a strap that can be manually adjusted to fit. This solution is a regular feature on dedicated gaming chairs, but can also be used to supplement basic office mesh back task chairs.


One issue with this option is that the quality can vary dramatically, with cheap complimentary supports merely a token gesture that doesn’t provide ample support. They can also be problematic when it comes to staying in place.

Lumbar support can be a hugely beneficial element of seating, especially if you have a tendency to work long hours. Whilst ultimately frequent movement and postural changes are the best form of practice to minimise strain on your body, especially your lower back, if you have difficulty in self-regulating postural changes and intend to spend long hours seated, you should definitely consider a chair with a lumbar support to help prevent long term health issues, and adjustable lumbar support will most likely provide the greatest benefits.

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