Suffering from back or bottom pain while sitting can be a real nuisance, but these pains are actually avoidable. The statistics on the number of people who suffer from avoidable pains around the globe are shocking. In the United States alone, it is estimated that in the region of 50% of the entire workforce suffer from avoidable pains.
A large percentage of these people are office based workers and consequently spend a big part of their day sitting down. Being seated for long periods of time causes a buildup of pressure on the joints, spine, and neck, which ends up causing pain. To make matters worse, most people do not sit properly, something which increases the pressure on these points and eventually leads to pain and discomfort.
The effects of slouching, allowing the neck to hang forward, and not sitting squarely in a seat, contributes to the millions of sick days that Americans take each year. In addition to making sure that you sit in the correct posture, the simple addition of a good quality seat cushion can make a world of difference in reducing muscle, back, and neck pain.
We have put together a list of the top gel cushions to help get rid of your unwanted aches and pains. Before we begin, here is a quick guide to fill you in on what you need to know when choosing a good cushion for aches and pains.
It’s just a cushion, right?
We all think of cushions as being those soft things that we use as head, neck and back supports as we lie around on the sofa or in our beds. Few of us stop to consider that there is actually an incredible amount of research that goes into pillow design. Last year alone, it was estimated that more than 500,000 pillows were sold around the world, something which shows what a retail heavyweight this industry really is.
Today there is a huge variety of different pillows on the market to suit all people’s differing needs. These range from inexpensive general use ones to special orthopedic designs that can end up costing you in the region of $100 or even more. More and more, the world is coming to understand the difference that a good pillow can make a difference in everything from sitting at a desk at work to helping you to get a better night’s sleep.
As this awareness grew, manufacturers began to experiment with a range of different materials to improve the effectiveness of the humble pillow, and to help reduce discomfort related to prolonged periods of pressure that occur when sitting down.
What is a gel cushion?
The advent of the gel cushion was a huge leap forward in pain reducing cushion innovation. They are constructed using a gel, such as silicon, which offers a mixture of comfort and firmness that makes it the ideal substance to use in cushions that need to support a person’s weight.
Health benefits of gel cushions
The American Health Organization, recommends anyone suffering from health problems, such as hemorrhoids, varicose vein, coccydynia, low back pain, leg numbness or degenerative hip disease, use a gel cushion whenever seated for more than 15 minutes at a time. This is important in helping to fight off the pain caused by these conditions.
What types of gel cushions are there?
Though it is possible to use any one gel cushion for any seat, many have been designed for specific uses. For example, there are cushions intended just for car seats, for your work chair, orthopedic designs, and even cushions that are designed to be used in the bath tub. If you find yourself using your cushion a lot, then you can buy a multi-purpose design, so that you can get all your bases covered in one shot.
Our Top Choice
ComfiLife Gel-Enhanced Non-slip Coccyx Memory Foam Seat Cushion
The comfort of this ComfiLife Cushion is enhanced by the fact that its materials act as memory foam, meaning that it holds the ideal sitting shape, even when you move around a bit. This feature encourages the person to maintain the best posture, which in turn helps to reduce pressure points.
The design has a number of other great inbuilt features, such as a non-slip rubber bottom and a built-in handle to make it easy to carry. It also has a cool-off gel layer on the top that helps prevent the discomfort and rashes that come from overheating.
It comes with a zip-off cover that can be wiped clean or washed in the machine whenever it gets dirty. So confident are ComfiLife in the quality of their cushion that they are offering a full money back guarantee should any of their customers not be 100% satisfied with this really great cushion.
Can be used at home, office or when driving
Helps with all lower back problems
Seat provides excellent support and comfort that helps posture
Has non slip under-bottom
Well design and made
Handle comes built in
Machine washable cover
Not ideal for use as a car seat cushion
Sojoy iGelComfort Enhanced Gel Multi-Use Gel Seat Cushion with Memory Foam Silicon Anti-slip
As far as comfort goes, the design uses a combination of foam and gel which allows the cushion to be thinner, while still maintaining a good feeling of comfort. This material composite also allows for the ‘memory foam effect’, so it helps to keep you in the right place in regard to your posture. Another neat thing about this thin cushion is that it can be used as a back support when sitting in a car seat. Since slouching is another major cause of back pain, something that soft backed seats such as those in a car fail to prevent adequately, being able to use this cushion to help prevent this from happening is a real added bonus.
This is definitely a really good option for people who want a portable seat cushion that they can carry with them without much hassle. It is ideal for use with car seats or with office chairs also. If, on the other hand, you want a single use cushion that you only plan to use at work, then you would definitely be better off with the ComfiLife design.
Inbuilt Cooling gel design
Thin cushion – 1.4 inches thick
Helps with the effects of car seat vibration
Helps to lower fatigue
Waterproof to help with spills
Size not suitable for larger seats
TravelMate Coccyx Orthopedic Gel-enhanced (Medium-Firm) Comfort Memory Foam Seat Cushion
This cushion has smooth round edges to improve comfort yet more and built-in air channels that increase air flow, thereby reducing sweating. The main benefit of the TravelMate Cushion is that it has been designed to be orthopedic, so is excellent at helping people who suffer from conditions such as sciatica, pressure ulcers, injured tailbone, or pain in the hips from prolonged sitting on chairs.
It has been described as a ‘life-changer’, by many of its satisfied customers, which is no doubt the reason as to why it is also one of the top selling gel cushions on the market today. Thanks to the high-quality foam/gel composite, there is little chance of this cushion forming foam bubbles or becoming misshaped after prolonged use. This will give added peace of mind that it is really going to last a very long time.
This is an excellent cushion that we would recommend for people who sit in hard-bottomed chairs around the home or at work. Though it is portable, due to its thickness it is not as easy to throw under one arm and carry everywhere you need to go as many of the other cushions on this list.
Foam/Gel hybrid for maximum comfort and support
Reduced pressure on lower back and hips
Good at reducing spine and back discomfort
Comes with zip off cover and carry handle
Easy to clean
The thickness raises the seat height by 3inches so is not ideal for car use
Firmer than other designs
CONFORMAX Anywhere, Anytime Gel Car/Truck Seat Cushion
It is another hybrid gel/foam composite that is super comfortable and very importantly, thin. It contains ½” of Ultrasoft viscoelastic and a Ultragel layer, which results in a total thickness to only 1.5 inches. It comes in two different sizes to best suit the size of the seat you need it for; the larger is suitable for trucks and large cars such as SUVs, while the smaller is suitable for most small to medium cars.
The composite makeup will keep you in the best possible posture position and at the same time help to reduce the effects of road and vehicle vibration. Though seats on larger trucks and buses already have inbuilt shock absorbers, the extra protection that this cushion brings will still make a big difference.
Made in America
Contains gel/foam hybrid for best comfort
Thin construction – 1.5 in. total thickness
Reduces effect of vehicle vibration
Helps fight fatigue
Removable zip cover
Comes with grip bottom to prevent sliding
Available in 2 sizes – 18 inch and 20 inch pads
Fully machine washable
Not suitable for long term use in hard bottom chairs
Kieba Coccyx Seat Cushion, Cool Gel Memory Foam Large Orthopedic Tailbone Pillow for Sciatica, Back, and Tailbone Pain
The other drawback is that it doesn’t have any air channels to help reduce heat. Many users have reported this as an issue that they felt ultimately let the design down. This is otherwise an excellent cushion that really offers a high level of comfort and pain reduction. Many of its customers report in the region of 60% to 70% reduction in overall pain, which is a resounding success in anyone’s book. The cushion has the usual machine washable cover that can be zipped on and off in a matter of seconds, so you don’t need to worry about having to buy one.
Designed to relieve lower back and hip pain
Made from high quality foam and gel for maximum support and comfort
Grip bottom to prevent slipping
Excellent at distributing weight and pressure
Designed to suit most seats and chairs
Fully removable cover
Gets hot due to lack of air channel
Size is a little small
Wondergel Original Gel Seat Cushion
Made from an ultra-modern copolymer, it uses traditional cushioning memory foam to create comfort zones that encourage the person to maintain a good posture. The lattice construction, when combined with the spring motion of the gel, provides an excellent level of air circulation that far exceeds what is produced by any other cushion on this list.
These features certainly make this the best option for people who intend to use a cushion in a hot environment, such as in a truck in which the engine compartment is positioned near to the seat, where heat dispersal is more important. The only drawback to this cushion is that it is more costly than most, which is something you need to consider.
Excellent design for preventing sweating and excess heat buildup
Designed to easily take the shape of the person sitting in it to maximize comfort
Always returns to normal shape ensuring no permanent warping
16 inches wide, so it’s suitable for most seats
Sharper Image Multi-Use Gel Seat Cushion
This cushion has been mainly designed for use in cars though it certainly can be used in most other seats should you need to. It is not too thick, so it won’t affect your driving position much, and it offers a good level of all-important comfort. Since it has been designed as a more general use cushion, it shouldn’t really be considered a good solution for people who suffer from anything more than mild levels of pain and discomfort.
Gel design for better comfort
Suitable for most chairs
Good level of pressure point distribution
Not suitable for larger people
Not suitable for people suffering from higher levels of pain
Drive Medical 14886 Skin Protection Gel “E” Wheelchair Seat Cushion
Inside there is a removable gel bladder that offers extra support and comfort. The top cover is made from urethane to help prevent sweating and to help deal with any liquids that might end up on the seat. When it comes to the top seat cushion for a wheelchair, this is the one that beats all the others. It is inexpensive, comfortable, prevents ulcers and won’t cause any sweating either.
Interior gel bladder for maximum support
Top of cover is waterproof
18 inches wide so it fits most wheelchairs
Suitable for people weighing up to 275 lbs.
Designed for wheelchair use only