Lower Back pain


Suffering Back Pain When Sitting

Suffering Back Pain When Sitting

Suffering with low back pain when you are sitting is a very common complaint

This is because sitting places an increased amount of stress through your lower back, which in turn aggravates the already sensitive structures, therefore causing you pain

So why is it so painful then

Sitting is naturally a flexion dominated position. By that, I mean it encourages your body to 'curl' or 'slump'. This is the opposite to standing, when we naturally tend to be more upright and the back adopts a more 'neutral' posture

Especially if the chair you are sitting in is not very well supported, this flexed position becomes exacerbated, all the time placing more stress across your lower back

I am sure you can picture it now, you are sitting in a very soft, deep settee and your lower back is just sinking into the back of the chair. This position which your low back is adopting is the flexion stress I am referring to. The longer you sit there, the more stress there is being placed across your back and therefore the more potential for pain

If you stand up to get out of the chair, although it may seem very difficult and painful at first, it is likely that once you straighten up and get moving the pain begins to ease. This is because you have removed the increased flexion stress across your low back, due to standing being a more upright position. Consequently, the pain will begin to reduce

So what is the answer then

The answer is to decrease the flexion stress being placed across your lower back. This will not only reduce the pain you are suffering, but will also give the body a chance to heal itself.

All the time you are placing increased stresses across your lower back, you are interfering with the body's ability to heal itself (I often use the analogy here of scratching or picking a cut which is beginning to heal. If you do this, the cut which the body is trying to repair will take a lot longer to heal).

In order to try and decrease this stress across your lower back, you need to reduce the amount of flexion being placed across it while sitting. This can be achieved in the following ways:

 Sit in a better chair for your low back.

The softer and deeper the chair you are sitting in, the more your lower back is going to suffer a flexion stress across it. This is because a soft and/or deep chair will encourage your lower back to 'slump' into it, increasing the flexion stress across your lower back as described above.

Provide your lower back with some support.

In addition to sitting in a firmer chair, a good idea would be to place a rolled up towel or lumbar roll in the small of your back. Once again, this will decrease the chances of your lower back slumping backwards into the chair.

 Avoid sitting for too long.

The longer you sit for, the more likely your lower back is going develop a flexed type posture. This in turn will place more stress across your back and the injured structures concerned. This simply means more pain and less healing

If you can take a break little and often from sitting, even if that means just standing up and taking a few steps up and down the room you are in, this will be continuously be taking stress away from your lower back and therefore it will give the body more chance to heal itself

As a rule of thumb, you should try to avoid sitting for any longer than about 15-20 minutes without standing yourself up. Remember, this 'standing up' doesn't have to be for long, a simple walk up and down the room you are in will be suffice. Just try to give your low back a break from the prolonged position it has been in

There is obviously a lot more to curing your low back pain than just sitting in a better chair, providing some support for you lower back and giving yourself breaks little and often

Ultimately, you need to get to the cause of the problem and begin addressing that as well. This will involve a simple but effective exercise programme

Nevertheless, the advice given in this article is a start. If you can begin easing your low back pain by taking in to account the above and then also begin to address the true cause of your problem with an appropriate exercise programme, there is no reason at all why you will not be able to cure the pain you are suffering with

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