Best Sitting Position For Lower Back Pain
For starters, lower back pain may be alleviated by changing your posture when you sit.
“The best position is to sit tall, with your chest up and shoulders down and back,” James says. “There should be a slight curve in your low back. Try to keep your head over your shoulders and not leaning forward.”
A small 2006 study in Scotland using magnetic resonance imaging found that sitting upright at a 90-degree angle put unnecessary strain on the backs of 22 healthy participants. Slouching reduced the height of their spinal discs, which could lead to wear and tear. The researchers concluded that the ideal sitting position is reclining backward at a 135-degree angle with your feet on the floor.
Common Posture Mistakes That Lead To Back Problems
So many of us are guilty of the same common mistakes that increase postural stress and ultimately cause back pain. Over our lifetime, subconscious habits form and make it easy for us to miss when we’re putting additional stresses on our bodies. Here are the most common causes of back pain and what you can do to correct them:
1. You’re looking down at your screen, phone, or desk, and your head tips forward.The human head weighs, on average, 10 lbs. Any slight angle forward puts a strain on the muscles of your neck and upper back. The further that you lean your head forward, and how long you keep that straining posture, determines how much extra work your neck and upper-back need to do.
2. Your shoulders are rolled forward. Some of the most common causes of lower back pain are a lack of lumbar support from a chair thats too soft or one that doesnt encourage good posture, a muscular imbalance in which your pectoral muscles are stronger than your back muscles , or habit. If youre wondering if youre guilty of this, stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and let your arms hang down at your sides. If your thumb points forward, youre probably balanced. If your palms are pointing behind you, you probably have an imbalance.
3. You’re leaning forward from your lower back. This posture puts even more pressure on the vertebrae of your lower spine , as it compresses your disks.
Is Walking Good For Lower Back Pain
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Read on for our selection of the best office chairs for back pain and say goodbye to soreness once and for all.
- Best Overall: Herman Miller Embody Chair.
- Best Budget: AmazonBasics Mid-Back Mesh Chair.
- Best Solid Back: AmazonBasics Mid-Back Office Chair.
- Best High Back: AmazonBasics High-Back Executive Chair.
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How Can You Prevent Back Pain When Sitting All Day
The most common cause for lower back pain is poor sitting posture. Poor posture while sitting puts too much strain on your back which in turn results in excess pressure on the joints, discs, muscles, and discs hence the pain. The best way to prevent back pain when sitting all day is the surest way to prevent back pain. You also need to do simple exercises such as walking for a few minutes before sitting again.
How To Manage Back Pain From Sitting All Day
While the complications of sitting down all day can be very serious, patients can often treat or manage some symptoms at home. With enough forewarning, advice from a doctor, and active attention to their daily routine, its possible to reduce or ease back pain associated with sitting down.
Here are some adjustments that you can make to your lifestyle to prevent back pain:
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Some Conditions Can Be Aggravated By Sitting So After The Initial Pain Subsides Aim To Move More Not Less
Sitting down is supposed to be a way to relax after a long day on your feet. But for many women, sitting for any length of time is painful. It aggravates pain in the back instead of relieving it.
If this sounds like you, the problem could be one of several common conditions, says Dr. Steven J. Atlas, an associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School.
One of these conditions is a problem involving one of the discs that act as pads between the vertebrae in your back. In particular, a disc can become herniated, meaning it develops a bulge that can pinch a nearby spinal nerve, causing pain.
“There have been some studies that measured the amount of pressure on the discs,” says Dr. Atlas. “Not surprisingly, the pressure is lowest when you’re lying down.” But there is more pressure on the discs when you’re sitting than when you’re standing. “In fact, if I come into the exam room and a patient is standing, rather than sitting, my suspicion that the person has a disc herniation goes up a lot,” he says.
Disc problems can cause back pain alone, but when the pain moves into the legs, this may be the nerve pain known as sciatica. Sciatica sometimes occurs when a herniated disc pinches one of your sciatic nerves. These are the longest nerves in your body, running from the lower back into each leg. People with sciatica typically report a burning pain that involves the lower back, the leg, and sometimes the foot.
If You Experience Lower
If you work a job that requires sitting at a desk for the majority of the day, then you know the never-ending battle of lower-back pain. All it takes is a few days of sitting in a slightly off-kilter position, and boom – low-back pain for a week. Accidentally slip into a habit of having bad posture or slouching? You might be looking at a few weeks or months of back pain if untreated.
The intensity of the pain might vary, but one thing remains true: how you sit really does affect the health of your back, especially when you’re sitting for most of the day. Lower-back pain can happen from leaning too far forward or slouching back, from not giving your lower back enough support, or from placing your keyboard and mouse just a little too far away. The frustrating part is that a lot of the time, unhealthy sitting postures don’t even feel bad, at least not at first. “It’s very common to kind of slip into some of these positions because, at the time, they can feel super comfortable,” says Supreet Shah, DC, MS, CCSP, a chiropractor at TruSpine in San Francisco. But slumped or slouched posture can put a strain on your muscles and make it more difficult to activate them when you get up and start moving again, which is when pain in your lower back can occur.
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How To Stand Up If You Have Lower Back Pain: Your Top Questions Answered
This article was co-authored by Jarod Carter, DPT, CMT and by wikiHow staff writer, Hannah Madden. Jarod Carter is a Physical Therapist, Consultant, and the Owner of Carter Physiotherapy, a manual physical therapy clinic in Austin, Texas focused on manual therapy as well as telehealth services to resolve pain and injuries. Dr. Carter has over 15 years of professional physical therapy experience. He received a DPT and an MTC from the University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences. Dr. Carter also holds a BS in Kinesiology from the University of Texas at Austin. This article has been viewed 2,560 times.
Everyone experiences back pain now and again, but severe lower back pain can seriously disrupt your daily life. Standing up from a sitting position or standing for long periods of time without hurting your back can be tough if youre already dealing with discomfort. Weve answered some of your questions about lower back pain so you can sit, stand, and walk while taking pressure off your spine to lower your pain levels throughout the day.
Stop Trying Passive Treatments
Passive treatments like heat, ice or ultrasound may feel good, but their effect is usually only temporary. Most research indicates that active self-care exercise and postural correction is an effective remedy for low back pain.
A visit to your physical therapist can help determine which exercises are best for your specific condition.
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Is Heat Or Ice Better For Back Pain
For some people, sleeping on their back may be the best position to relieve back pain:
Is Standing Or Sitting Better For Lower Back Pain
Generally, being in a better physical condition will help reduce lower back pain, and this implies that standing is better because it makes you active. Also, sitting puts excess pressure on your lower back compared to when you are standing. However, this does not entirely imply that standing alone can be the answer to your back pain problems. Just as its painful to sit for extended hours, so too can standing to be painful when you have been in the same position for an extended period.
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What Can I Do If I Have Acute Low Back Pain
The following advice will benefit a majority of people with back pain. If any of the following guidelines causes an increase of pain or spreading of pain to the legs, do not continue the activity and seek the advice of a physician or physical therapist.
The key to recovering from acute low back pain is maintaining the normal curve of the spine . Supporting the hollow of your back will help decrease your recovery time.
Follow these guidelines for 10 to 20 days after you experience acute low back pain:
- Sit as little as possible, and only for short periods of time .
- Sit with a back support at the curve of your back.
- Keep your hips and knees at a right angle. Your legs should not be crossed and your feet should be flat on the floor.
Here’s how to find a good sitting position when you’re not using a back support or lumbar roll:
Correct sitting position without lumbar support.
Correct sitting position with lumbar support.
- Use a back support at the curve of your back. Your knees should be at the same level or higher than your hips.
- Move the seat close to the steering wheel to support the curve of your back. The seat should be close enough to allow your knees to bend and your feet to reach the pedals.
Stooping, squatting, and kneeling
Sleeping and lying down
Other helpful tips
If you sleep on your back, put pillows under your knees and a small pillow under the small of your back.
What Causes Lower Back Pain When Sitting
According to the American Chiropractic Association, around 31 million Americans experience common low back pain at some point in their lives. Its a pervasive condition that affects a persons mobility and quality of life. Both acute and chronic pain in the lower back are symptoms of different musculoskeletal problems that worsen without the right treatment.
But before finding the best treatment for lower back pain, its important to identify the problem first. Here are ten possible reasons why youre experiencing severe lower back and hip pain when sitting:
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Alternate Between Different Neutral Sitting Positions
Even if youre already in the ideal sitting position, alternating between different positions periodically is important, especially if you have back pain. Changing your position shifts where the stress points are located, giving other key areas in your back and legs a quick break.
Here are the 4 best neutral sitting positions you can adopt into your daily sitting patterns if you have back pain:
Reclined Sitting:- This posture is characterized by a backward-angled trunk. Since some of the upper body weight is supported by the backrest, this option has the lowest back muscle activity and, as such, reduces back fatigue.
When doing active work, set your backrest angle between 100 110 degrees. When doing passive work such as taking a call, set your backrest to 135 degrees, which studies have shown to exert the least amount of pressure on your spine out of all the reclined angles.
: The highlight of this sitting position is a forward-angled trunk. The forearms are rested on the desk, and the thighs angled downwards. The back remains straight.
A study by A.C Mandal showed that declined sitting posture can significantly reduce low back fatigue, by making it easier to maintain the lumbar curve, plus shifting part of the body weight to your thighs. This is why students naturally tilt their chairs forward at school when sitting if their back is tired.
Supine workstations generally dont come cheap, though you can always go the DIY route.
Keep All Important Things Within Reach
In a bid to ensure you are not consistently slouching, begin your day by pulling all essential office equipment closer to you. Your mouse and keyboard are a few devices you want to ensure are in close proximity. This will significantly reduce the number of times youll be overstretching to have them nearer.
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Should You Wear A Lumbar Back Brace
Lumbar back braces are designed to stabilize the spine and reduce muscle tension. Depending on the cause of pain, they may also speed up healing from back injuries.
These accessories may improve mobility and reduce friction between the discs. At the same time, they reduce spinal pressure and limit painful movements that can worsen your symptoms.
The question is, do you really need one?
It depends on your condition. While some people swear by back braces for pain relief, these products may not work for everyone. If you only have occasional pain, you probably don’t need a lumbar back brace.
It’s important to understand that back braces only provide temporary relief. They are not meant as a long-term solution to lower back pain. What matters most is your posture and lifestyle habits.
Adjust You Work Station
To get optimal lumbar support and comfort, youll need to adjust some more things:
Adjust your armrests and chair height
Your ergonomic seat should have adjustable armrests that allow you to set your preferred height. Adjust them slightly to fit your shoulders. And when sitting, relax your shoulders in an upright manner, and set your head directly over the shoulders. Doing so helps in reducing the strain, heat, pressure, and pain placed on the shoulders. It also prevents you from slouching forward.
Adjust your backrest
Since the spine and back leans on the backrest, youll need to make them as comfortable as possible if youre looking to relieve sciatica and back pain. Your backs calf should be a fists gap away from the seats front. But if you dont have sufficient space for the fist, adjust the backrest forward. And if you still cant adjust the backrest, consider using your therapy cushion to achieve a comfortable low back support.
Adjust your computers monitor height
This is something youll need to try out until you achieve the perfect computer monitor height. Some physicians recommend closing your eyes then opening to see where the eyes will first focus. Your eyes should be at the center of the monitor and not on one side. It is also bad to lean towards the computer as this causes eyestrain.
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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.
How Best To Adjust Your Car Seat For Lower Back Pain Relief
This article about eliminating lower back pain was written by Gary Guerriero, Physical Therapist at U.S. AthleticTraining Center
If you have lower back pain, you may dread driving in the car even for shorter durations because it becomes uncomfortable fast. You try to stretch it out, but space is limited. Back pain leads to neck pain which can lead to leg and arm pain and even hand and foot pain. Its all connected, and you may not even realize it.
Your lower back begins to ache you just cant seem to find that right position. And a drive that lasts longer than a few minutes may seem next to impossible when you have a car seat causing lower back pain. This doesnt mean car seat in the sense that a babys on board, but becoming a parent often leads to the need for pain relief after pregnancy in other ways, too.
But there are ways you can help yourself, as well as make it through that next big road trip you and your family already have planned.
Weve got the tips and tricks you can use to eliminate and reduce your lower back pain from a car seat. For instance, a car seat adjustment for lower back pain goes a long way. So does having good posture and sitting in a comfortable position. What are you missing when it comes to lower back support for driving? Read on!
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