Every gamer should know how lumbar support on your gaming chair can prevent back pain, bad posture, and help you be a better gamer.
All that time spent gaming takes a toll. The average person spends somewhere between 6 and 8.5 hours sitting every day, and that number rises when you're a gamer.
The way that you sit, and the chair that you sit in, make a big difference in your overall health. One key aspect of that equation is the lumbar support of your gaming seat.
We're going to take a look at everything you need to know about lumbar support, giving you some insight into ways that you can optimize your health as a gamer. Hopefully, the ideas below improve the way you feel and boost your gaming ability.
Let's get started.
Why Is Lumbar Support So Important?
The lumbar spine is the lower section of the spine, starting at the hips and working its way up toward the sacrum. It's an area that naturally curves forward when we're standing and sitting.
When you sit down in a standard chair, there isn't a curvature in place to support the lumbar spine in its natural forward curve. It's uncomfortable to sit that way, especially after a period of a few hours.
You squirm a little bit, but you find a way to sit that allows the lumbar discomfort to go away. In almost all cases, that adjustment isn't conducive to spinal health. The natural forward curve is offset and might be forced to straighten out a little bit.
We all have to sit in unhealthy chairs now and then, though, and our bodies can accommodate the occasional adjustment. When you're sitting for 8 hours at a time, day after day, that adjustment starts to get a little more serious.
Consequences of Improper Seating
You open yourself up to a lot of potential issues when you don't support your lower back.
For one, it's hard to maintain good posture throughout the spine when your lower back isn't supported. A ripple effect of adjustments occurs throughout the rest of the spine, neck, and upper back. If you're gaming on a computer, there's a near-constant pressure to hunch your shoulders forward as well.
The lower spine is integral to the ordering of the rest of the spine, so issues there tend to have significant consequences elsewhere. Alternatively, hunched soldiers don't have as much of an impact on the lower spine.
Beyond the ripple effect, there's the potential for a significant amount of pain. Lower back pain can be mild, but it can also be excruciating.
There's also a lot of muscular pain that can come from poor posture over long periods of time. The muscles of the back and neck are complex, but it's relatively simple to understand how they might start to hurt.
We can imagine that, without outside interference, good posture allows back and neck muscles to be free and easy. If you go about your day without experiencing injuries, good posture will keep your muscles in good shape.
When we start to compromise posture, though, some muscles relax while others strain. Take hunching forward, for example. The muscles of the abdomen and lower back relax when you hunch, but the muscles of the upper back and neck start to strain.
Those strained muscles are more liable to pulls and other injuries, however small. When one muscle gets injured, others come in to compensate. So, even if your "injury" is undetectable to you, your muscular system is warping and working in different ways to compensate.
The more that certain muscles extend themselves to compensate for others, the more things get out of order.
Compression and Nerve Damage
The lumbar spine hosts a significant portion of the key nerves in your sensory nervous system and the nerves directing function in the lower half of your body. Sciatica, for example, is an issue that comes from compression or damage to the lumbar nerves.
Sciatica leads a person to experience a lot of pain, tingling, or numbness down the side of one or both legs. The spine is a nexus for a myriad important players in your nervous system and compression in the spine can jeopardize their function.
Nerves compress when they're exposed to a lot of pressure or they get squeezed somehow. Compression could come from a physical injury, or it could occur over a long period of light pressure from sitting with no lumbar support.
How Gaming Chairs Help
Gaming chairs, whether you have a luxury gaming chair or another type of gaming seat, should have some form of lumbar support. Some chairs have natural curvature while others might come with a pillow.
You should also have the option to adjust your lumbar support to meet the needs of your body. Everyone's a little bit different, and it helps to customise your chair to the particular curve of your spine.
In addition to lumbar support, gaming chairs accommodate the rest of your spine as well. Your upper back has proper support because the arch of the chair curves with your spine.
In many cases, there's an adjustable headrest on the top of the chair as well or a neck pillow. A headrest allows you to tilt your head in the direction of the screen without straining or holding your head in a particular place.
A little ergonomic adjustment in your chair could make a massive difference in your overall posture.
Finding "Neutral" Seating
The idea of ergonomic chairs is to provide you with a reliable, neutral way to sit. Neutral sitting is simply the act of sitting in a way that doesn't put undue pressure on any part of your spine.
You're using your hands, arms, and legs as you game, though, so it's important that you focus on those areas as well. Your feet should sit flat on the ground and your knees should sit right above your feet.
Your thighs should shoot straight forward. You want to make sure that your knees are at a right angle and your thighs are perpendicular to the floor.
The same idea applies to your elbows and forearms. Your upper arms should fall directly down at your sides, and your elbows should bend forward at a ninety-degree angle with your forearms straight forward.
With the proper lumbar, upper back, and head support, this neutral way of sitting should be the most comfortable. It's also the way to sit that leads to the least muscular problems.
Gamer Tips for Maintaining Back Health
It's important to note that back issues are painful, costly, and difficult to remedy. They're a very real thing for a lot of intense gamers.
No matter who you are or how healthy you think you are, gaming in the same position for eight hours at a time will have an effect on your body. There's no getting around that fact.
The same is true for people who work at a desk, spend a lot of time at their computer, watch a lot of television, or take part in other seated activities. It's not just an issue that affects gamers, gamers are definitely at high risk for back issues.
We should also note that sitting for long periods of time leads to negative consequences in other areas. Studies show that mental, physical, emotional, and cardiovascular health are directly affected by prolonged, uninterrupted sitting.
So what can you do?
Break It up on a Regular Basis
The biggest issues come when you just sit, and sit, and sit. You can counteract the side effects of sitting by doing a number of things.
For one, take regular breaks when you're gaming. If you're a heavy gamer or even a professional gamer, this is even more important. Set timers for yourself every thirty minutes or so.
If you're in the heat of something and you can't pause, just extend that particular alarm out ten or fifteen minutes. When you hear that alarm, stand up and stretch. Spend five or ten minutes stretching.
Get a healthy stretching routine that accesses your wrists, legs, back, and spine. A little yoga never hurt anyone.
Stretching this way improves circulation, eases your tense muscles, and resets any small imbalances you've picked up over the course of your gaming session. You'll feel better when you sit down, and you might even notice that you're more focused when you're done.
Another way to offset your time sitting is through regular exercise. It's generally recommended that you maintain an accelerated heart rate for thirty minutes, five days a week. That's two-and-a-half hours of exercise each week.
Compared to fifteen or twenty hours of gaming each week, that's not a whole lot! In any case, exercise is especially important when you live an otherwise sedentary life. That isn't to shame anyone, either, because most individuals in the Western world live largely sedentary lives.
Exercise improves your mood, your health, and keeps your spine limber. Again, yoga is a great way to keep your muscles and spine in healthy condition, and it certainly counts as exercise.
Maintain a Healthy Diet
It might seem strange to say that gamers need to focus on their diets, but it's true. When we're not fuelled with good food, we start to compromise posture. Plus, we're a lot less likely to get up and stretch at regular intervals when we're hungry and tired.
It's easy to make simple changes that improve our mood, energy levels, and ability to game. If you do, you might not need as much caffeine on those late-night sessions.
Invest in Ergonomics
Aside from healthy lifestyle choices, ergonomics are one of the most important factors in keeping healthy as a gamer.
We say "invest," though, because all ergonomic chairs are not made equal. The term "ergonomic" simply refers to products that are made to be functional without damaging a person's body in some way.
For example, ergonomic keyboards reduce the risk of carpal tunnel. Similarly, ergonomic chairs reduce a person's risk of many back, wrist, neck, and spine issues. Gaming chairs fall into this category.
It's important to take some time looking for the best options available to you. If you're spending a significant amount of time on your computer, you need to protect your back. A shoddy, low-end gaming seat won't protect you.
If you find the best gaming chair for yourself, you'll be able to enjoy your pastime a lot longer with fewer health issues. At the end of the day, what could be more important than that?
If we could see the future and saw back issues, we'd certainly invest a little more money in a gaming chair to avoid pain and suffering later. In contrast to the expense of chiropractors, physical therapists, and prescriptions, gaming chairs are extremely reasonable in price.
How to Find the Best Luxury Gaming Chair
There are a few factors to consider when you're finding the right chair. For one, make sure that it has the fundamental support systems that will help your spine and back.
That means your chair needs a solid lumbar support system. It needs to have height-adjustable seating so you can rest your feet and hands properly. It should also have some form of support for your head and neck.
If you're a little taller or shorter than the average person, you should also make sure that the dimensions of the chair are appropriate for you.
It's also exceptional when your chair can recline or adjust in different ways. You don't want to sit bolt upright for hours on end and sometimes you just need to recline.
Comfort is key as well. When you've found a chair with all of the factors above, you'll be in good shape to game healthily.
Are You Looking for Gaming Chairs?
Hopefully, our look at lumbar support was useful to you. You might think of your posture a little bit differently the next time you sit at the computer.
If you notice that your chair isn't supporting you, we're here to help. Explore our selection of excellent gaming chairs that will provide the support you need to game for years to come.