A Strong Back Is A Healthy Back
Some simple exercises can help keep back pain at bay. These exercises build not only strength, but also flexibility. For more tips and exercises to help your back, check out the Harvard Special Health Report Back Pain: Finding solutions for your aching back .
Lie on your back with both knees bent. Pull one knee toward your chest and hold it for 5 to 10 seconds. Return to the starting position. Repeat with the other leg. Do this 5 to 10 times with each leg.
Lie on your back with both knees bent and your feet on the floor. Pull both knees toward your chest and hold for 5 to 10 seconds. Return to the starting position. Do this 5 to 10 times.
Lie on your back with both knees bent and your feet on the floor. Gently flatten your lower back to the floor and hold for 5 to 10 seconds, then relax. Do this 5 to 10 times.
Lie face down on the floor, your bed, or an exercise mat. Bend your torso upward and rest the weight on your forearms. Gently arch your lower back and hold for 10 seconds, then relax. Repeat 5 to 10 times.
Start on your hands and knees. Lift and straighten one leg, extending it gently backward without lifting it above your body level. Hold the position for 5 seconds. Do this 5 to 10 times with each leg.
Lie on your back with both knees bent and your feet on the floor. Gently raise your buttocks off the floor 4 to 6 inches, hold for 5 seconds, and return to the starting position. Do this 5 to 10 times.
Alternatives To Traditional Office Chairs
While this article is about traditional office chairs, some people prefer more active, ergonomic chairs, such as a Swedish kneeling chair or a Swiss exercise ball.
While a traditional office chair is designed to provide complete support, these alternatives help promote good posture without a back support. They also require more active use of one’s muscles . If you have an injured back or other health problems, it is advisable to first talk with your doctor prior to using one of these types of chairs.
For more information, see Alternatives to Traditional Office Chairs.
There is no single type of office chair that is optimal for all patients, and people should determine their individual preference for comfort while following the guidelines explained in this article to promote good posture and back support while sitting in an office chair.
Try Nerve Flossing For Neck Shoulder And Back Pain
Another common source of pain from sitting or poor posture is tightness in the pectoral muscles of the chest as well as your neck, according to chiropractor Cassandra Schroeder of Kaufman Chiropractic.
You can fix this by finding a wall or beam and placing your palm, fingers facing down, against the surface, with your arm straight and parallel to the ground.
“You’ll know you’re tight if you can’t put your palm all the way against the wall,”
Then, keeping your contact with the wall, turn and walk slowly away to stretch through your shoulder, back and neck in a technique called “nerve flossing.”
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Why Does Sitting Cause Back Pain
Our bodies are designed to move, so we need to make sure we move around to keep our muscles and joints healthy and functioning.
However, when you are sat down your body remains inactive, and this can cause it to weaken and deteriorate.
And this usually results in lower back pain.
But what is it exactly that makes sitting down for a few hours at a time so dangerous for their backs?
Well it basically boils down to three factors:
- Your vertebrae in your spine become compressed as you sit, which can lead to a weakening of your spinal discs over time.
- When you sit down for a few hours at a time your core muscles remain inactive and weaken, meaning they can’t give your back the support it needs.
- Many of us tend to sit in an unhealthy posture which increases the pressure and strain on your lower back.
All of these things combined will mean your back will be placed under far more pressure as you sit, while also receiving less support.
And sitting for long periods can also cause you to develop an unhealthy posture when you’re not sitting too.
Which means your back remains under pressure outside of the chair too.
So if you have to sit for more than an hour each day, you need to learn the ways to minimise it’s impact on the health of your back.
Why Does Sitting Too Much Cause Low Back Pain
Sitting in an office chair for long periods, in this unnatural static posture, increases stress in your back, shoulders arms, and legs.
It especially adds a lot of pressure on your back muscles and spinal discs.
When you sit four hours and hours, you tend to slouch over or slouch down in your chair, which over-stretches the spinal ligaments and strain the discs, musclesand nerves around it.
Below youll find 5 effective and natural ways to prevent and get rid of back pain from sitting, which wont require much effort on your part.
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Common Back Problems From Sitting Too Much
According to UCLA Health, sitting for prolonged periods of time can be a major cause of back pain, cause increased stress of the back, neck, arms, and legs and can add a tremendous amount of pressure to the back muscles and spinal discs. Additionally, sitting in a slouched position can overstretch the spinal ligaments and strain the spinal discs.
Our bodies are built to stand and move throughout the day. When you stand upright, you put the discs in your lower back into proper alignment naturally. Sitting, on the other hand, forces the vertebrae to compress down onto each other and withstand more force, increasing the risk of chronic lower back pain. The muscles that hold these discs in place can atrophy when not used and this leaves the nerves between the discs in a vulnerable position.
Even though sitting can feel comfortable and relaxed in the moment, it puts a lot of stress on your nerves. Sitting for prolonged periods of time can result in pinched and strained nerves that radiate pain throughout your body. It can also put a lot of weight and stress on your cervical spine and neck muscles if youre not sitting properly.
Possible Reasons Why You Have Lower Back Pain When Sitting
The human back is made from complicated structures of muscles, bones, joints, and ligaments. They work together so you can stand and sit properly.
And in general, when you are sitting for extended periods, the body gets accustomed to that position. While you are sitting, your knees flex or bend closer to your chest.
When the knees or lower extremities are in this position, the muscles lock in place, making it tighter and shorter. This is one of the most popular causes of lower back pain when sitting, and it is what we call postural stress the stress that our bodies experience as a result of prolonged sitting in one position, repetitive movements, or non-ergonomic workplace environment.
However, lower back pain when sitting is not always due to postural stress. Other causes may include aging, trauma or injury, sciatica back pain, existing medical conditions, obesity, to mention some.
You can also have lower back pain due to sprain or strain in the musclesfor example, picking up a paper from the floor. In addition, poor body mechanics, psychological stress, and conditions such as arthritis may complicate lower back pain. In some cases, back pain can be a result of a disease or problem in the internal organs, like the presence of kidney stones, infections in the kidneys, a blood clot on the organs near the lower back, as well as bone loss.
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The Best Sitting Posture To Prevent Low Back Pain
Heres how to get into the best sitting posture for your back:
1. Sit at the edge of your chair and slouch completely.
2. Draw yourself up and accentuate the curve of your back as much as you can, and hold there for 2 seconds.
3. Now, release the position slightly
4. Rest your elbows and arms on your chair or desk, keeping your shoulders relaxed.
You are now sitting in the best posture for your back.
You have to keep your hips and knees at a right angle . Your legs should not be crossed and your feet should be flat on the floor.
The problem is:
This takes time to get used to, and when we work we tend to forget about it and unknowingly slouch back to our usual posture.
Either use a good lumbar back support cushion or get a good ergonomic office chair to help you keep the right sitting posture for the entire workday.
What to do if sitting too much has already got your back pain going?
Sitting With Flattened Low Back
Our spines have a natural S shape curve to them Often referred to as the Neutral position. It is generally accepted that this neutral spinal position places the least amount of stress on the joints, muscles and ligaments. However, when sitting many people cave in and flatten their backs . This can cause:
More pressure on the spinal discs Contribute to bulging discs/herniated discs/Sciatica Low back muscle tension Slouching
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Soothe Lower Back Pain Using Hot And Cold Packs At Home
One of the most common non-pharmacologic and non-invasive treatment on how to help lower back pain is the use of ice packs and heat therapy. Studies show that both methods aid in relieving lower back pain.
Some people find that ice therapy is not as effective as hot compresses, but still, it does not mean that it has no value at all. You just have to know when to use ice packs or heat therapy.
Cold application is most beneficial during the first forty-eight hours of injury, such as back strains. It helps reduce acute pain and aids in reducing the effects of inflammation or swelling.
Once the initial or acute phase of injury is over, heat therapy works by accelerating the recovery phase and relieving muscular spams. Hot compress reduces local muscle stiffness, the reason for long-lasting lower back pain from sitting all day.
Don’t Rest An Achy Back
Doctors used to prescribe bed rest for back pain. But now we know that lying still is one of the worst things you can do. It can make back pain worse and lead to other complications. Don’t rest for more than a day or two. It’s important to get up and slowly start moving again. Exercise has been found to be one of the most effective ways to relieve back pain quickly. Try swimming, walking, or yoga.
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Understand The Lower Back Anatomy
Your lower back has five spinal vertebrae. These five vertebrae make up your lumbar spine. This spinal region is responsible for supporting most of your upper body weight. Between each of the vertebrae are spinal discs. These function as shock absorbers, and they have a rubbery consistency.
Ligaments are bands of tissue that work to keep your vertebrae in place. The muscles that attach to the spinal column are held in place by the tendons. There are also nerves in this area that work to send signals to the brain and control body movements. Lower back pain can stem from any of these lower back components. These structures can become stressed, resulting in pain and stiffness. Injuries can also affect these components of your lower back, causing discomfort. It is important to strengthen and stretch your spine and the attached soft tissues. Conditioning these elements helps to keep them healthy. When they are healthy, they are more resistant to stress and injury. This could reduce your risk of experiencing lower back pain when sitting.
Low Back Pain Fact Sheet
If you have had lower back pain, you are not alone. Back pain is one of most common reasons people see a doctor or miss days at work. Even school-age children can have back pain.
Back pain can range in intensity from a dull, constant ache to a sudden, sharp or shooting pain. It can begin suddenly as a result of an accident or by lifting something heavy, or it can develop over time as we age. Getting too little exercise followed by a strenuous workout also can cause back pain.
There are two types of back pain:
- Acute, or short-term back pain lasts a few days to a few weeks. Most low back pain is acute. It tends to resolve on its own within a few days with self-care and there is no residual loss of function. In some cases a few months are required for the symptoms to disappear.
- Chronic back pain is defined as pain that continues for 12 weeks or longer, even after an initial injury or underlying cause of acute low back pain has been treated. About 20 percent of people affected by acute low back pain develop chronic low back pain with persistent symptoms at one year. Even if pain persists, it does not always mean there is a medically serious underlying cause or one that can be easily identified and treated. In some cases, treatment successfully relieves chronic low back pain, but in other cases pain continues despite medical and surgical treatment.
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Lower Back Stretches To Reduce Pain And Build Strength
Lower back pain is a fairly common health concern, as so many things can cause it.
In some cases, it might be a symptom of an underlying condition, like kidney stones or acute pancreatitis. Other times, its simply a side effect of a sedentary lifestyle or repetitive motions.
While stretching isnt a remedy for all lower back pain, in many instances, it can provide relief. If youve been living with some mild discomfort or stiffness, these seven stretches may help reduce the pain and strengthen the muscles in your lower back.
Back Pain Can Be The Result Of A Plethora Of Things
Injury, illness, or even disease can cause your back to be uncomfortable or achey.
Another reason that not many think of is posture. The way that you sit can have a significant influence on the way that your back feels. If you have lower back pain when sitting down, consider trying some different sitting positions that could prevent low back pain.
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How To Relieve Lower Back Pain Fast
If youre like most people, finding this neutral pelvis sitting position might take a little bit of time. It may even feel a little bit awkward at first. You might feel like you are sticking your butt out further than what you should be, but you arent. A chiropractor would give you the following directions for locating the best sitting position so that you can get relief quickly.
Now that you have located the proper positioning, stand up. You might feel a bit like you are pushing your butt out still, but thats where you should have it. One thing to take note of is if your weight is resting on the balls of your feet, theres a high probability that you arent doing it right and tucking your pelvis still.
Stretch #4 Hamstring Stretch
The hamstring stretch is a great exercise to do at home. The reason the hamstrings need to be stretched when lower back pain is present is that the hamstring attaches to the pelvis. If these muscles are tight of experiencing tone they can affect the position of the pelvis which can be related to low back pain. If the pelvis is tilted by the hamstrings over time that position may produce symptoms further up the spine.
These areas are related through a system called the posterior chain. The posterior chain is all of the muscle from the back of the ankle to the back of the head of the posterior, or back side of the body.
This system works together to regulate anterior, or forward movements of the body. If these muscles are tight or weak that can be a source of issues for the spine.
Stretching the hamstrings can be done several ways, but laying on your back with both knees bent and feet flat is a great starting point.
Once in that position, lift one leg straight up in the air leaving a slight bend in the stretching legâs knee and move that leg closer to your body. There will be a sensation of stretch in the hamstrings between the bottom of the glute and back of the knee. You can use a towel of some sorts if you find that useful.
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