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Long-term sitting is one of the biggest causes of back pain and threats to the lower back, placing extra strain on the lower vertebrae. Luckily, to treat lower back pain when sitting, there is a wide variety of different treatments, stretches, and tips that can make things easier. Take a look at our guide and learn how to manage back pain when sitting.
There are many different factors that may be contributing to your lower back pain when seated. Keep reading to learn the most common ones and what changes you can make to reduce the discomfort.
One of the most dramatic causes of lower back pain when sitting are existing conditions. If you suffer from any of the following back conditions, be sure to talk to your doctor for advice on proper sitting posture.
The radiating pain common in sciatica can affect the back, buttocks, hip, and lower extremities. It can be mild or severe and usually affects one side of the body.
Herniated discs are caused by gradual wear and tear on the back and can lead to a pinched nerve. Pain and numbness are common, especially when sitting.
Strained back muscles are one of the most common types of muscle strain and lead to pain, swelling, and muscle spasms.
Spinal stenosis is a narrowing of the spine that puts pressure on nerves and causes pain. The condition develops over time from changes in the spine related to osteoarthritis.
The loss of cushioning between vertebrae may lead to lowered flexibility and pain while sitting. Degenerative disc disease is age-related and results from wear and tear on the back.
Our sitting posture plays a major role in the development of persistent lower back pain. When we stay in the same sitting position for several hours at a time the lower back can become stressed, leading to lasting symptoms. Long-term poor posture can cause the natural curve of the spine to become deformed, leading to chronic back pain. Remember these 5 factors for good sitting posture:
It’s common to slouch while sitting, and while it may feel comfortable in the short-term, slouching places extra pressure on the spine, leading to herniated discs, sciatica, and other types of back pain. Be sure to sit upright, with your back firmly against the back of your chair for support.
Our necks are made to stay flexible, allowing us to look, up, down, and side to side easily. However, keeping the neck bent for extended periods can cause pain and stiffness over time. Try to keep your neck in a neutral and relaxed position while sitting.
Straining arms and elbows while sitting can place additional stress on the back, causing pain over time. Keep your elbows bent at a 90-degree angle when sitting, with wrists straight in front.
Leaning forward in your chair can throw off your center of mass, forcing your lower back muscles to support additional weight. The most comfortable position for back muscles and vertebrae is sitting fully upright, with the back of the chair supporting some of your weight.
Crossing limbs and joints for extended periods can have a range of negative health effects, like impeding blood flow or straining joints. When sitting for long periods, its best to keep feet flat on the floor, and arms at your sides.
Often overlooked, the ergonomics or layout of a person’s workspace can contribute to back pain. Poor ergonomics leads to repetitive strain injuries and pain in the upper back, middle back, and lower back.
To ergonomically optimize your desk, adjust your computer screen so that it is directly in front of you and at eye level.
Consider the position of the mouse and keyboard and aim to keep your wrists in a neutral position.
Not all seats are good for the lower back. If you suffer from low back pain, try using a lumbar support pillow to encourage the natural curve of the spine. Using a supportive seat cushion is another way to offset the risk of back pain when sitting by properly positioning your spine and distributing weight effectively.
Carrying excess weight places additional stress on the back, and can even tilt it over time. This can lead to a range of long-term health conditions like sciatica and herniated discs. If you carry extra weight, weight loss and strengthening the back muscles is one healthy way to prevent lower back pain, helping to properly support to the lower back while sitting and standing.
Holding your phone to your ear requires flexing the arm and shoulder muscles can actually have an impact on the lower back, and cause lasting pain over long periods. Be sure to take breaks or switch hands during long calls, or try using a headset or speakerphone when possible.
If your job or regular day to day activities require long periods of sitting, there are some steps you can take to prevent, manage and reduce lower back pain.
You may also want to consider using a standing desk or an ergonomic chair to encourage proper posture and better back health
Every 30 to 60 minutes, stand up — even if only for a minute or two. This reduces tension in the lower back and boosts blood flow to the area.
Stretching and exercising on a daily basis can help counteract the negative effects on the heart (and general health) of prolonged periods of sitting, according to some research. You can further improve the health of your back by trying exercises and stretches that specifically target the lower back and core. However, those with severe back pain may need to attend physical therapy, where they can get a tailor-made exercise plan.
Back pain resulting from poor posture while seated may respond well to either hot or cold therapy. Apply either heat or ice (or a combination) to areas of tension and discomfort after a long day at the office.
While both agents can help provide relief, ice and heat should only be applied at certain times. To learn when it’s best to use ice and when it’s best to use heat for your lower back pain, check out our complete article below.
Take time to massage tight areas as soon as you notice them. If you don’t, this muscular tension could cause imbalances in the body, leading to poor posture and worsening back pain. There are many methods of massage therapy, whether professional or self-massage, that can increase blood flow, remove muscle knots, and loosen up stiff muscles.
Prevention is one of the best ways to manage lower back pain, and back braces make this easy. Simply attach around your waist for added support, and protection against daily strains that can weaken your back muscles and vertebrae. Our posture corrector is another good option that promotes good posture for long-term back health.
When driving, be sure to maintain good posture. Adjust your seat so that your back is firmly against the back of the seat, your head is in the center of the headrest, and you do not need to lean forward to reach the wheel or pedals. A lumbar roll or seat cushion is also a great addition to help properly position and align your spine.
If your back pain is severe or does not improve with home care strategies, then you may need to seek medical advice. See a doctor for diagnosis and treatment. They may recommend medication for pain relief, medical therapies, or other interventions. Other back pain specialists that may be able to help include a chiropractor and a physical therapist.
Sources:SHOP LOWER BACK PAIN PRODUCTS
Next Pages:Exercises to Avoid with Lower Back Pain