Prolonged sitting can contribute to all sorts of issues including back pain, sciatica, tailbone pain, poor circulation, and so on.
Today I share how orthopedic seat cushions can help with these and other conditions. They can also make working from home more comfortable. Let’s get started.
Types of Seat Cushions
There are several different seat cushions available on the market. They come in various shapes and are made of different materials. Let’s check them out one by one!
1. Donut-Shaped Cushion
This type of cushion is primarily used for hemorrhoids and coccyx pain. It can also be used by women who have recently given birth.
Typically these cushions are made out of memory foam but they can also be inflatable which makes them easier to carry around (especially if you need to travel frequently).
Memory foam donut cushions are more comfortable and tend to offer more relief as a result. Unlike the inflatable donut cushions, memory foam donut cushions come with ergonomic features such as orthopedic indentations for thighs and coccyx. Their front part is usually thinner. This design feature helps to promote good posture and actually helps to reduce back pain as a result. The memory foam version also comes with a non-skid cover that you can remove and wash every once in a while.
All in all, a donut-shaped cushion made of memory foam is the better option from both, comfort and quality, perspectives.
2. Wedge Cushion
Another type of seat cushion used primarily for coccydynia and tailbone pain.
While being different from the donut cushion, wedge cushions work similarly.
First, it rotates your pelvis in the direction that helps to promote a healthy posture so you end up sitting straight without even trying to do that. This “adjustment” helps to reduce (and sometimes completely eliminate) a slouched posture reducing tension in the upper back just as well as in the lumbar spine.
Wedge cushions are normally used for coccyx issues but not every one of them has an indent that allows the tailbone to, essentially, hang out there without touching the cushion itself. Some women find this indent extremely helpful for their coccydynia symptoms or the consequences of trauma. However, you don’t always need to have it if you are only looking to improve your posture.
3. U-Shaped Cushion
The third type of seat cushion is a U-shaped seat cushion. These are orthopedic cushions that, just like the other two, are there to help people with sciatica, coccyx discomfort, and back pain. These cushions are typically made from memory foam but some variations can also include a layer of a special gel that helps with the cool off.
Unlike wedge cushions, U-shaped cushions always have a cushion-free area under the tailbone which eliminates any pressure in that area.
The only seat cushion on this list that doesn’t qualify as orthopedic because purely gel cushions are not great at maintaining any shape or form but…they can be very comfortable!
Gel cushions are very soft to sit in. They are easier to carry around because you can roll them together and they are lightweight.
They also maintain their form longer than memory foam cushions unless there is too much heat involved (say, if you forget it in your car). Heat deforms gel cushions and they become useless.
Gel cushions also help to improve the airflow and circulation to the legs and feet. They also improve the blood flow and that helps to keep the tiredness at bay.
All in all, gel cushions are great at reducing fatigue from prolonged sitting, reducing muscle strain, and relieving some of the symptoms associated with a sedentary lifestyle.
What To Take Into Account Before Buying a Seat Cushion
First, what do you need the cushion for? If you are experiencing tailbone pain, then the wedge cushion might be your first choice. If you are experiencing the symptoms of hemorrhoids, then try the donut instead.
Second, do you need to carry it around? If you have to travel frequently and need to have the cushion with you, look for models that are easy to carry and have a handle attached. You might also want to get a cushion that is more transportable (e.g. an inflatable donut or a gel cushion).
Third, try to see different models and try them out before buying. Some people, even if they have similar conditions or requirements, end up preferring different types of cushions for their reasons. Sometimes it’s their frame, sometimes it’s the feel…sometimes it’s other conditions (e.g. they can be allergic to a certain type of chemical in memory foam). This is why I always recommend trying before buying.