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My chronic lower back and tailbone pain is exacerbated by long days sitting at the computer. For years, I have been on a quest for the perfect seat cushion to relieve this pain.
I currently own five cushions from five different companies. One lives in my office chair, one in my car, one in the backyard love seat, and two rotate around as needed.
Lower back pain is one of the
Today, I’ll explore six different seat cushions to help you choose the best option for you.
So, I am something of a self-appointed expert when it comes to pain-relieving seat cushions. Here’s how I rounded up the products on this list:
- Features: I included multiple sizes, a variety of firmness and support levels, different materials, and various price points.
- Clinical research and expert insights: I looked at peer-reviewed studies and research for scientific and medical recommendations. For example, one
2018 studycompared foam and gel seat cushions in 80 people who drive for work. While both types of cushions improved lower back pain, the gel seats were found to be significantly more effective.
- Personal experience: Since I’ve tried multiple seat cushions, I included a few of my tried-and-true favorites.
- Company reputation and transparency: We vetted each company and product, and made sure there were no Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warnings, class action lawsuits against the company, or recalls, among other criteria.
- Customer reviews. I narrowed my search to products with at least 4-star ratings and used Fakespot to weed out phony reviews.
Best for the office
I recently bought this product, and it quickly became my go-to seat cushion. In fact, I am sitting on it as I type this!
It uses a special hyperfoam, a soft rebounding memory foam that conforms around the legs and hips, which makes this cushion standout compared with similar designs. I also really like how the back curves up to cradle and support the tailbone.
Even after sitting on this for hours, I’m left with significantly less tailbone and lower back pain than I get when sitting without the extra cushion.
The hyperfoam is infused with odor-reducing charcoal, and the cover is machine-washable and available in 11 colors.
It’s pricier than similar products, and the site is often sold out of popular colors.
Best for lower back pain
Unlike most gel- or memory foam-based cushions, the BackJoy SitSmart Posture Plus is made out of ethylene-vinyl acetate, or EVA, a rubber-like material. This firmer substance and the shape of this cushion tilt your hips upright, which can relieve pressure and strain from your lower back.
EVA is also waterproof and easily washable, making this a good choice for camping or other outdoor activities.
The elevated back lifts your pelvis slightly above the seat, which protects your tailbone and promotes proper posture. With over 1,300 Amazon reviews, the Posture Plus has an average rating of 4 stars. The reviewers particularly like that it’s lightweight, durable, and provides back pain relief.
SitSmart is available in four colors. BackJoy also has a slightly more molded model that they call the SitSmart Posture Core, which costs $10 more than the Posture Plus.
This is the firmest option on the list, so I don’t recommend it for recent tailbone or hip injuries. Even if you’re not recently injured, the SitSmart is simply too firm for some people.
Best seat cushion for biking
Made to work with both indoor and outdoor bikes, this gel seat cover is wide and designed to relieve pressure on your tailbone and spine. The anti-slip bottom surface, along with adjustable straps and drawstrings, keeps the cushion securely on your seat.
It also comes with a heat-resistant carrying case and has a 4.3-star Amazon rating based on nearly 10,000 reviews. Several reviewers note this is a great option for Peloton bikes.
The recurring theme in the 5 percent of reviews that are 1 star is that it’s not that comfortable and didn’t provide pressure or pain relief. Over 80 percent of reviewers rate it at least 4 stars, so your mileage may vary.
Best for long drives
Purple, the company known for its mattresses, also makes seat cushions. Like their mattresses, the cushions are made with their Purple Grid material, a hyper-elastic polymer that is breathable, pressure-relieving, and durable.
Designed for 8-plus hours of sitting, the Ultimate Seat Cushion is Purple’s deepest, widest option. It’s popular among truckers, delivery drivers, gamers, and people in larger bodies that may need extra support. The contoured groove promotes good posture and proper spinal alignment.
Try it risk-free for 30 days, enjoy free shipping and returns, and take comfort in the 1-year warranty.
At 7.3 pounds, this cushion is not the most portable. It’s also the priciest option on this list. If you’re not a career driver or a hardcore gamer, there are many other cushion options.
Best for travel
This is another cushion that I have in my arsenal. It’s the ideal option for budget-friendly, suitcase-friendly pressure relief on the go. When not inflated, it’s small enough to fit easily in a purse or carry-on bag. I mostly use this on planes and when sitting on hard benches at restaurants, bars, or parks.
It inflates easily with a few breaths and weighs less than 8 ounces. It has a 4.5-star rating with over 1,250 Amazon reviews, based on its portability, affordability, and convenience.
It’s a simple cushion that is best for traveling, but it’s not a good option for the office or car. If you want a cushion for everyday use, this is not the choice for you.
Best for tailbone relief
Donut-shaped pillows have been a standard recommendation for tailbone injuries for decades. In the past, they were often inflatable and those options are still around.
The AnboCare cushion is sturdy, as it’s made of memory foam with a gel layer on top. This donut can be used in office chairs, cars, wheelchairs, planes, sofas, and more. With nearly 2,000 Amazon reviewers, it has an average rating of 4.4 stars. Reviewers rave about its ability to relieve pain from spinal injuries, postpartum soreness, and tailbone, or coccyx, injuries.
The removable cover is machine-washable and features a carrying handle.
Since it’s designed for injuries, it’s necessarily firm. This probably isn’t the pillow for you if you don’t have a tailbone injury, hemorrhoids, or another medical need.
Cushions are just one tool in your toolkit for chronic back pain. If you need more relief than a seat cushion provides, try these tips:
- Take regular breaks from sitting. Don’t sit for more than 30 minutes at a time. We know that this advice isn’t always practical but changing up your activity and position as often as you can is helpful. Set timers to remind yourself to move, stretch, or walk around.
- Change your chair. The fanciest seat cushion in the world won’t make up for an unsupportive chair. If your chair is old, damaged, poorly made, or just not comfortable for you, consider upgrading to a more supportive option.
- Work on your posture. Proper posture through improved core strength may relieve lower back pain, reduce headache frequency, and ease tension in your shoulders and neck. To improve your posture, consider a posture corrector, see a physical therapist, and work on strengthening your back and shoulder muscles with exercise.
If you spend a lot of time sitting down, your body deserves a seat cushion to relieve that pressure. Go for the option best suited to your body’s needs, whether that’s pressure relief, posture support, or portability.
Whatever you choose, I hope it helps you sit straighter, and most importantly, feel better.
Ash Fisher is a writer and comedian living with hypermobile Ehlers-Danlos syndrome. When she’s not having a wobbly-baby-deer day, she’s hiking with her corgi, Vincent. Learn more about her on her website.