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How To Sit If You Have Lower Back Pain

Other Types Of Diagnosis

Lower back pain when sitting? 3 Tips from a Physical Therapist
  • A chiropractor will diagnose through touch, or palpation, and a visual examination. Chiropractic is known as a direct approach, with a strong focus on adjusting the spinal joints. A chiropractor may also want to see the results of imaging scans and any blood and urine tests.
  • An osteopath also diagnoses through palpation and visual inspection. Osteopathy involves slow and rhythmic stretching, known as mobilization, pressure or indirect techniques, and manipulation of joints and muscles.
  • A physical therapist focuses on diagnosing problems in the joints and soft tissues of the body.

How Do Sleeping Positions Affect Lower Back Pain

Another link between sleep and lower back pain is tied to how sleeping position affects spinal alignment. Although posture is typically associated with sitting and standing, its also critical when lying down.

A sleeping position that involves twisting, contorting, or otherwise putting pressure on the lumbar spine can cause pain and stiffness. This pain is often worse in the morning but may persist throughout the day.

How Is Low Back Pain Diagnosed

Visit your doctor if you have low back pain. He or she will review your symptoms and health history and do a physical exam. Based on this information, your doctor may perform tests. These include an X-ray, computerized tomography scan, or magnetic resonance imaging . Tests help to diagnose the cause or rule out other causes.

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Best Ways To Sit With Lower Back Pain

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Considering most of us spend half of our waking hours sitting, if you suffer from lower back pain, learning the dos and dont of how to sit is pivotal for not only preventing your condition from getting worse, but potentially even improving it.

In this post Ill share some best practices when it comes to sitting backed by research that will bring relief to your back pain.


Causes Of Herniated Disc

Lower back pain remedy: an illustrated guide

A herniated disc can cause severe pain. The most common cause of the herniation of your discs is aging. As you age, your discs will become thin and less flexible. This condition is generally called disc degeneration. This increases the chance of the disc getting ruptured due to pressure or sudden shock.

Sometimes, using your back muscles instead of leg muscles to pull or push heavy loads can cause damage to the discs. In rare cases, severe shock, blow, or fall have caused the disc to rupture. There are some other causes that, although they dont directly cause rupture or herniation of your discs. However, they can increase the chance of your disc getting ruptured.

Following are some risk factors that you should be aware of:


As you know, weight causes stress on discs. So if the weight of your body is above average according to your height. Then, this will exert extra pressure on your disc while working or sitting. As a result, it will increase the chance of discs getting ruptured.


Many occupations or jobs increase your chance of getting a herniated disc. If your work is physically demanding, like lifting, working in tight places, or other strenuous work. Then the chances of your discs getting ruptured will increase.



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How To Relieve Lower Back Pain When Sitting

The best strategy for preventing lower back pain when sitting, James says, is to get up and move around every 20 minutes, which is the length of time it usually takes for the creep process to set in.

If you’re unable to do this, James recommends changing positions as you sit, such as crossing one leg over the other or leaning to one side. “This will change the tissues in your back that are under load, which can prevent pain and delay the creep process,” he says.

You can also help relieve your lower back pain with the following:

Stretching. Doing stretching exercises that put your body in positions opposite of the sitting position may also help, James says. Researchers have found that just 15 minutes of daily stretching exercises can help increase your flexibility and reduce your lower back pain.

For one example, the American Academy of Family Physicians recommends laying on your back with your knees bent and slowly raising your left knee to your chest, holding it there for five seconds. Do the same with your right knee. Repeat this exercise 10 times for each leg.

Over-the-counter medications. Analgesics like aspirin or Tylenol , or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like Advil or Aleve may help relieve pain and inflammation.

Symptoms Of Low Back Pain

Low back pain varies by person. It may be a dull ache or a sharp, stabbing pain. It could be acute or chronic . You may have pain in other parts of your body as well as your back.

  • Your pain goes down your leg below your knee.
  • Your leg, foot, groin, or rectum feel numb.
  • You have fever, chills, nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, or weakness.
  • You have trouble going to the bathroom.
  • Your pain was caused by an injury.
  • Your pain is so intense that you cant move around.
  • Your pain doesnt improve or gets worse after 2 to 3 weeks.

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Learn How To Sit With Good Posture

As with sleeping, you probably know which sitting positions cause you pain. But do you know the best sitting position for lower back or hip pain? According to the Cleveland Clinic, the key to recovering from lower back or hip pain is maintaining the normal curve of the spine.

That said, proper sitting posture is going to make a difference in the aches and pain you have on your body, particularly in your lower back. Here is a detailed guide from physical therapists Bob Schrupp and Brad Heineck to help you understand good sitting posture:

Sit in a well-designed ergonomic office chair, instead of a regular office chair. The best computer chairs are built with proper cushioning to support your lumbar spine. Not only will ergonomic chairs provide comfort, but they also promote alignment of your body to ensure healthy blood circulation.

If you work in a communal office and cannot change the furniture, you can buy a reliable lumbar cushion to help support your lower back. Doing so will help maintain neutral posture throughout the day without much effort on your end. Remember to not sit in one position for more than 20 minutes at a time.

Chronic Or Acute Pain

How To Sit Properly When You Have Back Pain
  • Acute pain starts suddenly and lasts for up to 6 weeks.
  • Chronic or long-term pain develops over a longer period, lasts for over 3 months, and causes ongoing problems.

If a person has both occasional bouts of more intense pain and fairly continuous mild back pain, it can be hard for a doctor to determine whether they have acute or chronic back pain.

Back pain usually resolves with rest and home remedies, but sometimes medical treatment is necessary.

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Carefully Move To A Bed Or Comfortable Flat Surface To Remain Temporarilyimmobile

That spasm that you have is a nasty but very clear warning sign that you must not continue to move. Your body is literally locking up to guard you against injuring another part of your back that is weakened or injured.

Although this locked up muscle may hurt as it tightens, it is not usually the source of the injury.

By laying down, you can help to stop triggering these muscles and can reduce the intensity and duration of the pain.

You can lie on the floor using cushions and pillows as a support and just be patient. Its better for you to focus on being somewhere calm so you can make yourself the priority.

Remember though that this is only a temporary measure as prolonged immobility could make things worse.

Did your contraction happen while reaching for, or lifting something? Did it happen just out of the blue and during a very simple activity? If so, you should follow this One Simple Rule to help reduce your chances of back spasms.

Iii Apply A Cold Pack

For the first 48-72 hours, carefully apply a cold pack to the area to reduce any inflammation present. Protect the skin from any risk of ice burn with a thin towel before applying the pack. Apply for 20 minutes and use every 1-2 hours as needed.

Caution:Not everyone benefits from a cold pack. If you find applying cold only numbs your pain while you are still stiff, then either reduce the length of time you apply it, or avoid cold treatment. Some people are more likely to feel even stiffer with cold treatment. The goal is to relax the muscle, not shock it.

I recommend that you go with what works for you. Personally, I prefer heat instead, but everyone has their own preferences.

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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.

Dont Sleep On A Mattress Thats Too Soft

Lower Back Pain

Some people prefer mattresses that are softer than the average, but those with lower back pain need to be careful. A too-soft mattress wont be supportive enough and can lead to extra strain on your spine.

If you have a very soft mattress thats causing you pain and you cant get a more sturdy one right now, you might consider trying sleeping on the floor. It sounds odd, but a sturdy floor can actually be better than a soft mattress for those who needs the structure.

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Get Help From A Professional:

Massage – Getting pain treatment through massage is another great way to get rid of pain. While this may be a luxury approach, a monthly massage can be affordable and effective. There are many types of massage options, so be sure to ask about targeting your areas of pain. With the rising accessibility of massage guns, you can also get a frequent and affordable targeted massage. You can get a very high-quality massage gun for a few hundred dollars.

Go to a Chiropractor – Finding a good chiropractor can be the key to relieving your pain. Chiropractors are trained in musculoskeletal manipulation and can identify the cause of your pain and specifically treat areas of pain with specialized procedures. They can also advise you on managing your pain in your day-to-day life and suggest other activities that may help.

Physical Therapy – Often treating patients that have suffered trauma or recovering from surgery, physical therapists and their staff are also more than qualified to help treat back pain. Overlapping with treatment from a chiropractor, seeking help from a physical therapist can be another highly effective option for treating back and neck pain caused by sitting.

Additional Tips For Proper Posture While Sitting

Finding the neutral pelvis is indeed the best sitting position to avoid lower back pain, but there are a few other tips to keep in mind while you are sitting. They can help make sure that you hold back pain at bay for good.

  • Make sure your body weight is positioned evenly across your hips.
  • Do not cross your legs.
  • Keep your knees even or slightly above your hips. You may need a stool to achieve this.
  • Leave your feet flat on the floor.
  • Do not sit in the same position for longer than a half hour at a time.
  • Keep your workstation set up so that you can rest your arms and elbows on your desk or chair relaxing the shoulders.
  • Sit up close to your workstation and have your work pointed up at you instead of you looking down at it.
  • Dont twist or pivot in your chair at your waist. Move your entire body around with each motion.
  • Before you stand up, move up to the front of the chair. Straighten your legs to stand up. Do not bend at the waist.
  • For an added benefit after standing, do a quick stretch of 10 backbends.
  • Use a rolled up towel or a lumbar support pillow if you cant achieve these positions on your own.

The best way to avoid back pain because of poor posture from sitting wrong would be not to sit. If your job requires you to, that could be difficult to achieve. When its out of the realm of possibility for you to avoid sitting so much, make sure that you are exercising properly to strengthen your back and move around as much as you possibly can.

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You May Need To See Your Doctor For These Potential Underlying Illnesses

Dont just treat a back spasm as temporary discomfort. It may not merely be muscular in nature as they are often a big warning sign.

There may be something more serious that you are not aware of. This may be what your body could be reacting to.

In cases where treatment does not help, it is possible that you may have a disc issue such and a bulge or herniated disc. It is important to know when you should see a doctor to diagnose any serious injury that may be an underlying cause.

  • Herniated Disc

What Are The Most Common Lower Back Surgery Procedures

How to Sit Pain-Free in an Office When You Have Back Pain/Sciatica

Spine surgery is not necessary for most people who have lower back pain. If you do need it, your doctor will recommend an appropriate procedure to address your specific symptoms and medical situation. Common spine surgeries include:

Spinal Fusion. Two or more vertebrae are permanently fused together to limit excess spinal motion. Your surgeon will use a combination of bone, bonelike material, screws, plates and rods to hold the vertebrae together so they can heal into a single unit. Spinal fusion may be done to correct spinal deformities or to increase the spines stability in severe cases of spinal osteoarthritis or herniated discs.

Laminectomy and laminotomy. Laminectomy is a surgery in which your surgeon removes the back portion of one or more vertebrae to create more space for the spinal cord or other nerves. In people with severe arthritis, bone spurs within the spinal canal can grow large enough to press on the spinal cord, causing pain and limiting mobility. In a similar surgery known as laminotomy, your surgeon will remove a small piece of bone called the lamina from the back of the vertebra.

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What Are The Causes Of Lower Back Pain When Sitting

Lower back pain is a common health condition typically affecting the lower portion of the spine and can stem from an injury , or a spinal problem such as arthritis or sciatica. Common causes of lower back pain when sitting include prolonged time spent in a chair, lack of regular exercise, and poor posture.

When To See A Doctor

In most cases, you should be able to manage back pain by yourself. Modify your activity and slowly work toward regaining function, says Dr. Steven J. Atlas, an associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School. However, you should see a doctor if the pain isn’t improving after you’ve modified your activity for a few weeks. You should see a doctor right away if your pain is extremely severe, if it gets better but comes back, or if it occurs after an injury such as falling down a flight of stairs, being in a car accident, or slipping on a patch of ice. That’s different from back pain that begins during the course of regular movements, says Dr. Atlas. In other words, if your back starts to hurt when you lean over to tie your shoe, that’s not an injury.

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What Is The Best Sitting Position While Driving

If you are suffering from lower back pain, driving can prove to be a real challenge. To maintain a good posture, sit up straight with your knees slightly raised than your hips, and keep your chin pulled is to allow your head to sit straight on top of your spine. You should also make sure that your back is aligned against the back of your seat, and if possible, add extra support t your cars seat. There are a lot of specialized pillows and cushions which you can use to ease lower back pain as well.


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