What is a seat wedge and how can it relieve my back pain?

What is a seat wedge and how can it relieve my back pain?

Ever since hybrid working became the norm, more and more desk workers are reaping the benefits of ergonomic office equipment. Standing desks, wrist rests and laptop stands have all been under the spotlight, but the seat wedge is still an unsung hero in the desk-working world.

What is a seat wedge?

A seat wedge is a cushion with an inclination of 5-10 degrees, creating a slight downward slope to your seat. It can be used on office chairs, car seats, dining chairs or any other chair with a firm base. Adding one to your workplace is often a simple solution for reducing back pain and improving your posture.

When you sit on a chair with a seating wedge, your weight is evenly distributed on the wedge. This eases the pressure on your lumbar spine and increases your spinal stability, making sitting a much more comfortable affair.

Did you know? The average desk-based employee spends 9 hours a day seated.

What are the benefits of using a seat wedge?

A seat wedge will elevate your workplace setup in more ways than one. Here are some of the key benefits:

  • Reduces desk-related pain including lower back and hip pain
  • Relieves sciatica and nerve pain  
  • Improves posture
  • Provides support and comfort for the pelvis and gluteal muscles
How can a seat wedge improve my back pain?

Back pain affects 568 million people globally. It’s a common beast amongst desk workers and a seat wedge can help you keep it at bay.

Most cases of back pain are caused by poor posture whilst working at a desk. The inclination on a seat wedge allows you to sit more upright without excessive pressure on your spine, making it harder for you to slouch and improving your posture. The sloped surface allows your pelvis to tilt forward and improves the inward curve of your spine.

Good posture reduces stress on your discs, ligaments and muscles surrounding your spine, as your weight is evenly distributed amongst your joints. This often plays a huge part in helping to alleviate your back pain.

How can a seat wedge improve my hip pain?

If you have hip pain, a seat wedge can help to open the front of your hips when sitting. This reduces compression around the side of your hips, as your weight is evenly distributed on the wedge.

Sitting with your knees higher than your hips for prolonged periods can cause irritation at the front of your hips, leading to conditions such as osteoarthritis, hip flexor related pain, gluteal tendinopathy or trochanteric bursitis. A seat wedge elevates your hips above your knees and opens the front of the hips, relieving tension around the side of your hips.

Most people roll their pelvis back when sitting, which puts more pressure on your lower buttock muscles and nerves that pass through your buttocks to your legs (e.g. piriformis syndrome). This can irritate the nerves in your buttocks and cause pain, which may be worsened when sitting for prolonged periods in this posture. A downward sloping wedge cushion can help prevent nerve pain of this nature.

How to choose a good seat wedge

There are a few factors to consider when choosing a seat wedge:

  1.  Your sit bones should rest comfortably on the cushion to reduce pressure on your gluteal muscles.
  2. Your hips and knees should slope downward to increase your trunk-to-thigh distance and provide adequate support.
  3. It’s best to choose a seat wedge made of a multi-density foam, for better support and good air circulation. Seat wedges of this material will also provide an additional layer of comfort on top of a firm foundation. Some cheaper products are made of foams which could retain heat and cause discomfort.

For more information on how to adopt good posture while sitting at a desk, download our handy infographic for free! 

Content Marketing Manager

Marisa has over 7 years of experience writing about a range of clinical topics including DSE, hybrid working and employee wellbeing. Check out more of Marisa's articles on the Vitrue Health blog!

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