How To Cure Lower Back Pain Made Worse By Sitting
A common reason why your back pain hurts more when your seat is bad posture. Sitting in a hunched over position will put stress on the discs the fluid-filled cushions which prevent the vertebrae from rubbing together. Of course, this can be made worse by an underlying health condition. Typically, there are many possible causes of back pain when sitting including sciatica, herniated disc, muscle strain, degenerative disc disease, spinal stenosis, being obese, and poor posture. The best way to cure your lower back pain that is made worse by sitting is to seek immediate medical attention. Of course, one can also use home remedies such as taking over the counter medication, using support, changing positions, and perhaps use an ergonomic office chair.
Self Massage For Sciatica
While the piriformis lies underneath the larger gluteus maximus, it is still relatively close to the surface of the body. This helps make the muscle easier to access by using something like a foam roller, lacrosse ball, or amassage therapy ball.Self massage for sciatica is more about applying prolonged pressure to release these muscles than kneading them with your hands.
While self massage for sciatica pain relief may hurt, it should be more of a hurts so good kind of feeling during and after the release. The pain should start decreasing after 30 seconds if it doesnt, move the tool to a different spot. If at any point you feel a large increase in pain that lingers after the release, you may want to reduce the intensity of the pressure and/or explore a different spot along the muscle. If that increased pain does not go away, please stop and consult your healthcare practitioner.
How Are Sleep And Lower Back Pain Related
Researchers have long seen an association between lower back pain and sleeping problems, and growing evidence points a two-way relationship in which they can be mutually reinforcing.
Discomfort from pain can be a major barrier to sleep. Lower back pain makes it hard to get comfortable enough to fall asleep or may provoke nighttime awakenings when pain surges.
At the same time, people with sleep problems are more likely to start having pain or to have pain get worse. Experts arent certain why this happens, but there are several potential explanations. Sleep deprivation may impair healing, affect mood in a way that heightens pain sensitivity, or disrupt chemicals in the brain that are involved in how we experience pain.
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Home Remedies For Lower Back Pain When Sitting
In addition to improving your posture when sitting, try these at-home remedies for lower back pain:
- Change your position. Consider a standing desk or one thats ergonomically designed to help you maintain good posture by allowing you to adjust the height of your monitor.
- Apply ice.Cold helps reduce inflammation that may be affecting your back. Leave the ice pack on for about 20 minutes, and then remove it. You can do this every hour or so.
- Use a heating pad. After any inflammation is under control , many people find heat soothing. It also promotes healing by bringing blood to your back.
- Take over-the-counter medication.Pain relievers like nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs can reduce discomfort and swelling.
- Use a support. Placing a rolled-up towel or special lumbar pillow at the base of your spine while sitting will help you remember to sit up straight and provide you with some stability.
- Get a massage. This can help loosen and relax tight muscles.
- Consider yoga.Yoga is known for its ability to stretch and strengthen the body. Many programs allow for modification of the poses as needed.
There are several exercises that will help strengthen your lower back. Try these three stretching exercises to help make your back stronger and better toned:
How To Relieve Lower Back Pain When Sitting But Not Standing
While sitting, the best and surest way to alleviate and prevent lower back pain is to maintain the normal curve of your spine. This can be achieved through:
- Putting back support such as a pillow at the curve of your back.
- Keeping your knees and hips at the right angle. If necessary, use a stool or a footrest to ensure your knees and hips are maintained at the perfect angle.
- Sit as little as possible, and always stand and stretch or watch for short periods.
- Use an ergonomic chair to help support your back.
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What Research Is Being Done
The mission of the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke is to seek fundamental knowledge of the brain and nervous system and to use that knowledge to reduce the burden of neurological disease. NINDS is a component of the National Institutes of Health , the leading supporter of biomedical research in the world.
As a primary supporter of research on pain and pain mechanisms, NINDS is a member of the NIH Pain Consortium, which was established to promote collaboration among the many NIH Institutes and Centers with research programs and activities addressing pain. On an even broader scale, NIH participates in the Interagency Pain Research Coordinating Committee, a federal advisory committee that coordinates research across other U.S. Department of Health and Human Services agencies as well as the Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs.
How Is Low Back Pain Diagnosed
A complete medical history and physical exam can usually identify any serious conditions that may be causing the pain. Neurologic tests can help determine the cause of pain and appropriate treatment. Imaging tests are not needed in most cases but may be ordered to rule out specific causes of pain, including tumors and spinal stenosis. Occasionally the cause of chronic lower back pain is difficult to determine even after a thorough examination.
Blood tests are not routinely used to diagnose the cause of back pain but might be ordered to look for signs of inflammation, infection, cancer, and/or arthritis.
Bone scans can detect and monitor an infection, fracture, or bone disorder. A small amount of radioactive material is injected into the bloodstream and collects in the bones, particularly in areas with some abnormality. Scanner-generated images can identify specific areas of irregular bone metabolism or abnormal blood flow, as well as to measure levels of joint disease.
Discography involves injecting a contrast dye into a spinal disc thought to be causing low back pain. The fluids pressure in the disc will reproduce the persons symptoms if the disc is the cause. The dye helps to show the damaged areas on CT scans taken following the injection.
Electrodiagnostics can identify problems related to the nerves in the back and legs. The procedures include:
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Lower Back Pain When Sitting: Causes And Helpful Pain Relief Tips
Have you noticed that back pain appears or worsens when you sit down? Surprisingly, upper and lower back pain in the seated position is a common indicator of a number of more serious health conditions. This is because, when you sit down, your body puts pressure on your spine, squishing disks and causing lingering pain points. At the same time, prolonged sitting can lead to muscle loss and atrophy, which lessens necessary support to the back.
If you experience lower back pain when sitting, youll want to help identify the problem and seek out pain relief treatment options so you get back to feeling like your happy, productive self in no time.
What To Look For In A Mattress
Your mattress matters too.
Doctors used to recommend very firm orthopedic mattresses to people with lower back pain. But dont go out and buy one just yet. Recent surveys have shown that people who use extremely firm mattresses may have the poorest sleep.
That said, a mattress thats too soft wont help very much with alignment.
If you have the funds to buy something new, try choosing a firm or medium-firm mattress made with good-quality innersprings or foam. You may also improve the innerspring mattress you already own by adding a memory foam mattress topper.
It may be difficult to tell if that mattress at the store really feels comfortable after only a few minutes of testing. Some companies let you test out a mattress over a set period of time and then return it if its not for you.
Not in the market right now? You can see if a firmer mattress would help you by placing an inexpensive plywood board under your current mattress. You can even place your mattress on the floor to see if lessening the movement of the springs helps with your pain.
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What To Look For In A Pillow
Your pillow should cradle your head and neck and help to support the upper portion of your spine.
If you sleep on your back, your pillow should completely fill the space between your neck and the mattress. If you sleep on your side, try using a thicker pillow to keep your head in line with the rest of your body in this position.
Whatever you do, dont place your pillow under your shoulders.
For back sleepers: You may do best with thinner pillows and those that have extra padding in the bottom to support the neck.
Memory foam is a good material that molds specifically to your own neck.
A water pillow is another option that gives firm, all-over support.
For stomach sleepers: You should aim to use the thinnest pillow possible or no pillow at all. In fact, you may try sleeping on your side while holding a body pillow. The body pillow will give you the feeling of something against your stomach while helping to align the rest of your body.
For side sleepers: You may want to look for a firm pillow. Better yet, try to find one that has an extra-wide gusset that will help with the space between your ear and shoulder. And dont forget to place a firm pillow between your knees. You may even substitute a rolled towel.
While youre at it, remember to change your pillow every 18 months or so. Those pillow protectors can be a good barrier, but pillows still hold lots of allergy triggers like mold and dust mites.
Vary Your Posture/move While Sitting
This study showed how Dynamically changing the positions of the low back and pelvis during sitting has been found to help reduce posture-related pain.
If youre unable to get up, at least try to change your posture WHILE still sitting.
Move to one leg, rest on the elbow for a moment, etc Remember not to stay in any one of these postures for too long though. Also, try moving Rock in your chair, stretch your arms out, or do some pelvic tilts in place.
The Complete Posture Fix
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When To See A Doctor
If you have lower back pain and/or severe pain during functional movements that is not relieved by self-care and medication, it is advised to seek medical attention. A doctor can help diagnose and treat the cause of your pain and also rule out serious conditions such as tumors, fractures, or infections of the spine.
Avoid Prolonged Sitting When Possible
The best way to prevent buttocks pain or provide relief to existing pain is to cut down the amount of time you sit down every day. If you work in an office, this may be hard to do. You cant exactly stop sitting down. In these cases, you might want to consider switching to a standing desk.
Standing desks are great because they allow you to choose between sitting and standing. If you start to feel like your back or butt is hurting, you can simply switch to a standing position to give yourself a break from sitting.
Of course, standing desks can be expensive, and not all workplaces allow them, so this isnt a viable option for most people.
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The Best Sleeping Positions For Lower Back Pain
The best sleeping position for lower back pain is on your side with a partial bend in the knees. Keeping the knees bent helps balance the body and reduces pressure on the lumbar spine. Many people find it helpful to put a small pillow between their knees to make this position more comfortable.
Unfortunately, many back and stomach sleepers have a hard time changing their sleeping position. Even so, they can take steps to reduce strain on their lower back:
- Back sleepers can put a pillow under their knees, legs, and/or lower back to support the natural curve of the spine and minimize lumbar pressure.
- Stomach sleepers should opt for only a thin pillow under their head and place a more supportive pillow under their hips and abdomen. This works to prevent the lower back from sinking into a U-shape that pulls the spine out of alignment.
Some people with back pain use an adjustable bed that makes it easy to raise the upper or lower part of the mattress in a way that decreases tension in the lower back.
Sitting In A Static Position
While sitting alone is bad, whats even worse is sitting in one position for a prolonged period. Our bodies were designed for movement and sitting in one position for long hours will cause:
Back pain aches and stiffness Muscle tightness Activation of low back muscles Soreness Poor Blood Circulation
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What Can Cause Lower Back Pain
Most acute low back pain is mechanical in nature, meaning that there is a disruption in the way the components of the back fit together and move. Some examples of mechanical causes of low back pain include:
- Skeletal irregularities such as scoliosis , lordosis , kyphosis , and other congenital anomalies of the spine.
- Spina bifida which involves the incomplete development of the spinal cord and/or its protective covering and can cause problems involving malformation of vertebrae and abnormal sensations and even paralysis.
- Sprains , strains , and spasms
- Traumatic Injury such as from playing sports, car accidents, or a fall that can injure tendons, ligaments, or muscle causing the pain, as well as compress the spine and cause discs to rupture or herniate.
- Intervertebral disc degeneration which occurs when the usually rubbery discs wear down as a normal process of aging and lose their cushioning ability.
- Spondylosis the general degeneration of the spine associated with normal wear and tear that occurs in the joints, discs, and bones of the spine as people get older.
- Arthritis or other inflammatory disease in the spine, including osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis as well as spondylitis, an inflammation of the vertebrae.
Nerve and spinal cord problems
Medication From The Store
There are two kinds of over-the-counter pain relievers that frequently help with back pain: nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and acetaminophen. Both have some side effects, and some people may not be able to take them. Talk to your doctor before taking pain relievers. And don’t expect medication alone to solve your pain problem. Studies show you’ll probably need more than one type of treatment.
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Ergonomics For Prolonged Sitting
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.
Besides being uncomfortable, poor sitting posture and workplace ergonomics over time can damage spinal structures and contribute to recurrent episodes of neck or back pain.
Here are some important guidelines to help make sure your work area is as comfortable as possible and causes the least amount of stress to your spine:
Causes Of Lower Back Pain When Sitting
Your spine, also called your backbone or vertebral column, has 26 vertebrae that are separated by soft, spongy discs that serve as shock absorbers. The portion in your lower back area, called the lumbar spine, contains five vertebrae.
“Sitting puts the lumbar discs and other structures in your back under more pressure than other positions, such as standing or lying down,” says Jeremy James, DC, CSCS, a chiropractor who specializes in chronic back pain and founder of FITFOREVER.
Sitting for long periods of time exacerbates this, he explains, because of a condition called “creep,” where the ligaments and discs in your back deform over time when you’re sitting. Once creep sets in, those tissues are in a compromised state that can lead to pain.
Even if you have good posture, you may experience lower back pain if you remain seated for long periods of time because of the pressure it puts on your back muscles and spinal discs. Poor posture can make lower back pain even worse stretching ligaments, straining discs, and even damaging your spinal structures.
These are some of the other possible causes of lower back pain: