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I personally use one of these for the car: SimplePosture Lower Back Pain Relief Lumbar Support Pillow/Cushion [link]
Unfortunately, this turned into a very long post. I really expected it to be more concise. If this is too long, sorry. Skip to the TL;DR for the summary. Also, if you already know all of this, sorry. :/
First off, I am not a licensed professional, just a dude with back problems, so take everything I say with a grain of salt. If you want advice tailored toward you, please go see a doctor. I only have experience dealing with my own back pain, and because back pain is somewhat of a nebulous thing, it's hard to give general advice on the subject. I've had chronic back pain for about a year and a half now and have picked up some things that seem to work for me. However, I cannot guarantee they will work for you.
Back Pain and Sitting
Sitting for long periods of time is bad for you in the long run.There is no way around it. Not enough people will tell you this. Certainly, not enough people told me because I spent many days sitting 4+ hours with bad posture on top of that. The easiest way to counter the nasty stuff that sitting does to your body is simple. Get up. Walk around. That's it. Even when I knew this, I continued to be lazy and would sit for many hours a time. I have learned my lesson the hard way. Now, I get up and walk around at least a couple of minutes every hour or so. This sounds more like motherly nagging than health advice, but you will be surprised at just how detrimental sitting for 2, 3, 4+ hours a day 5 days a week for 10 years is. Even if you're super fit and run marathons on the weekend, sitting for extended periods of time is doing damage to your back. In relation to back pain, sitting puts the weight of your upper body on your lumbar spine and sacroiliac joints, which can cause massive discomfort in the long run (I can attest to that firsthand). Also, a lot of nerves run through the pelvis area, such as the sciatic nerve, which is one of the biggest nerves in the body and often causes problems for people. My tip here would be: Don't wait until your back starts to hurt to get up. Get up as a preventative measure. Try to simply stand up from your seated position once every thirty minutes. Squeeze your glutes and abs. Sit back down. That's it. This takes less than 10 seconds, so there's really no excuse not to do it. Then, once every 1-2 hours, try to take a walk for 2-3 minutes. The longer the better. This alone may save you much pain and frustration in the future.
When you simply can't avoid sitting for long periods of time (e.g. movie theater, class lecture, meeting at work) make sure to maintain proper posture. Even if you're not sitting for long periods of time, maintain proper posture. Any time you deviate from this model, you're compromising your body's ability to support itself and making your condition worse. If you spend and hour or longer a day driving, invest in a back pillow now. Car seats are incredibly unaccommodating to the lower back and can greatly exacerbate existing conditions. I can vouch for this one personally, although there are definitely cheaper ones out there. This one has material that is akin to something like memory foam and compresses to match the curve of your spine and it has a strap so you can fix it to an office chair. I love it. It takes some adjusting to get it right in the car, though, and may feel awkward at first.
Posture and Pelvic Tilt
Your standing posture can be a major factor in back pain. Figure out if you have any kind of pelvic tilt, as that is a very common contributor to back pain. Alan Thrall has two good videos on this, and offers some solutions:
There's a lot more that can be said about this, unfortunately (or fortunately, in my case) I do not suffer from any major pelvic tilt, so I do not have much to offer in this area. You're on your own with this one.
Hip Mobility and Stretches
Stretching is important because, as I understand it, if you don't use your body to its full range of motion, it becomes as flexible as it can get away with. A few years ago, the extent of my body's daily flexibility, so to speak, was going up 2 steps at a time at my school instead of 1. So, slowly but surely, my flexibility worsened. My hamstrings became tight. My glutes became tight. My hip flexors shrunk. My shoulder muscles seized up. And why wouldn't they? I was hardly using them. If you don't stretch, you start to shrivel up like some raisin of a human being. At least, that's what it felt like for me. And then even basic things, like walking up 2 steps instead of 1, becomes difficult. So, you have to push your flexibility further than what you need to function. Because then, functioning will feel like a breeze.
These days, I do several stretches daily and try to get at least 3 hours of cardio a week, so by body doesn't struggle to function properly. Incorporate some basic daily stretches because the cause of your back pain may be caused or exacerbated by tight muscles surrounding the lumbar spine. Back pain may not necessarily mean the problem lies with your back muscles. Alan Thrall talks a bit about this, but that's just the tip of the iceberg. Good hip mobility is essential here. Here's a basic checklist:
Can you touch your toes without excessive lumbar flexion?
Can you comfortably squat with your feet flat and your lumbar spine neutral? (The first picture is correct form)
Can you perform a deep lunge?
This one is a bit long, but it's the easiest way to test internal and external hip rotation by yourself. Discovered it at this website, which is a great resource, btw.
> Take a seat on the ground with both knees bent about ninety degrees. In a windshield wiper motion, keeping the knees bent at ninety degrees rotate your knees back and forth allowing the knees to touch the floor. The right hip is in external rotation and the left hip in internal rotation. (see illustration below)
If you have problems performing any of these movements, then your hip muscles are not functioning optimally that's not helping your back pain. It might even be the cause of your back pain, but it is likely not the only culprit.
Here are the stretches I do every morning, in addition to planks, that might help you with your hip mobility.
bonus: a very masterful routine that focuses on hamstring mobility (requires elastic band)
Foam rollers are an amazing tool for loosening tight muscles. The simple ones are cheap on amazon. Less than $10. The fancy ones will cost you. Just don't foam roll your lumber spine. That's a noobie mistake.
A lacrosse or tennis ball goes a long way when trying to work out those small knots in your butt.
Foam roller exercises
Lacrosse ball exercises
The dude in these videos is an awesome, knowledgeable redditor and mod on /r/flexibility. Go check it out.
Seeking a Professional's Help
There came a point where I reached the limit of how much I could accomplish by myself. So, I went to my doctor, had an MRI done, and took that to a physical therapist. I didn't feel like I was getting the support I needed, so I went to a chiropractor. That was a notably more positive experience, but still, he was not right for me. It was only on the third time that I found an osteopath who I felt understood my condition enough to provide me with proper treatment. And thus, here we are. My back issues aren't completely fixed. Every once in a while, I get some nagging pain here and there, but for the most part, I've got it under control. I have descent mobility. I know my weaknesses and I know my limits, but I'm constantly striving for improvement. I strongly recommend going to a doctor if you have back pain
Go see a doctor/physical therapist/chiropractor/professional licensed medical person, etc
Break up long sitting sessions by getting up every hour or two and walking for a couple of minutes. Don't wait until your back hurts to get up.
Develop good sitting and standing posture.