By Greg Illes
For anyone not familiar with the term, “lumbar” refers to that portion of your back just above your waist. The spinal vertebra in that area are relatively inflexible, and they put a lot of pressure on spinal discs when they are stressed. This seemingly minor physiological anomaly leads to one of the most common ailments in the entire human species: lower back pain.
Turns out, one of the most common methods of back pain relief is some method of lumbar support — various mechanical means to take the load off the area and let those much-abused discs relax a bit. Once the discs relax, the surrounding musculature can also reduce its tension. The effects are instant, unmistakable and nearly magical for long-suffering bad-backers (like me).
Enter the lowly camp chair. Historically, these chairs are little more than scraps of cloth slung between aluminum or steel tubes — kind of a hammock for your derriere. Lumbar support? Hardly. In fact, most camp chairs can exacerbate the problem and can actually cause back pain where it did not exist. I’ve spent many hours standing around camp, rather than subject my back to the forced-curvature that most camp chairs impose.
The first manufacturer to make a big difference in this area was Strongback. Their innovative design provides solid lumbar support, and we bought two of them when we first saw the advertisement with video in an RV Travel newsletter. Absolutely everyone who has sat in one has said something like, “Wow! That is really comfortable!” And people with back pain simply went out and bought their own right away.
That was a couple of years ago and since then, other manufacturers have come up with their own designs. Do a web search for “lumbar camp chair” and you will find at least a half-dozen competitors, with prices ranging from $25 and up.
Once you try a lumbar support camp chair, you won’t ever be satisfied with anything less. Even if you don’t have any noteworthy back pain, you will find that the spinal support gives a comfort level you didn’t know you were missing.
Oh, by the way. You may not want to let camp visitors use your lumbar support chairs — they may not want to leave.
photo: Anamatography on wikipedia.com.