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Best sitting position for lower back pain



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Lower back pain is a relatively common condition: About 75% to 85% of adults in the United States experience it. Globally, about 619 million or 23% of people experience lower back pain.

The symptoms of lower back pain vary with the individual, depending on the cause, location and duration of the pain before treatment. Here are some common symptoms of lower back pain:

  • Pain when bending, lifting, sitting, standing and lying down.
  • Back stiffness, particularly during the morning.
  • Feeling numb or tingly around the back.

The symptoms listed above can make daily activities — particularly sitting, standing and walking — difficult. If chronic lower back pain is not treated, then a person’s quality of life may decline. 

6 common causes of lower back pain

Lower back pain is related to your lifestyle, family history and past injuries. Here are six common causes of lower back pain:

  • Not enough daily physical activity — Inadequate daily physical activity can lead to your muscles weakening. The weakening of your muscles puts more pressure on parts of your back, including your spine.
  • Muscle strain — Muscle strains in the back may be the result of excessive exercise or of lifting a heavy object that the body could not support. This muscle strain makes it hard to pick up objects. People whose jobs require heavy lifting, such as furniture movers, are more likely to strain their lower back muscles.
  • Degenerative disc disease — Degenerative disc disease refers to the deterioration of the discs between the bones of the lower spine. If the center of a disc is torn, then the blood flow to the disc is blocked. This blockage may cause the center of the disc to put pressure on a nearby nerve, producing pain.
  • Herniated disc — A herniated disc refers to the movement of the center of a spinal cord disc, which may hit a nerve on the spine, potentially causing back pain.
  • Sciatica — Sciatica refers to pressure being placed on the sciatic nerve, which starts from your lower back. The pressure on the sciatic nerve may cause pain.
  • Spinal stenosis — Spinal stenosis occurs when the tube formed by the bones of your spinal cord is not wide enough. A narrow tube places pressure on your spinal cord, causing pain. Spinal stenosis may be caused by arthritis, an infection or an injury. 

Want to prevent lower back pain? Here are 4 sitting positions to avoid

Poor posture can not only cause lower back pain, but also worsen it. Here are 4 sitting positions that you should avoid:

  • Sitting with no back support — Sitting with no back support, such as sitting on a backless chair, places more strain on your spinal cord, which may worsen back pain over time. 
  • Sitting in a slumped position — Sitting in a slumped position for a long period of time does not provide enough support for your back muscles. Repeatedly sitting in this position may lead to a condition named kyphosis, which refers to the upper back being excessively curved forward. Additionally, this position may lead to chronic or long-lasting lower back pain.
  • Sitting cross-legged — According to research, sitting cross-legged for a sustained time period may stretch the piriformis muscle, which begins at the lower spine. This stretching may place more pressure on other muscles, leading to back pain. Additionally, researchers found that sitting cross-legged for a long time — particularly when already experiencing lower back pain — may lead to a greater curving of the spine.
  • Sitting cross-legged on a chair — Sitting on a chair with your legs crossed may lead to acute or short-term muscle fatigue. This position involves the bending of your hip joint, thus rotating both your pelvis and your lumbar spine. While this position may seem natural, it increases your likelihood of having scoliosis, which is a condition that refers to the curvature of your spine.

On the other hand, here are three parts of your sitting position that you can adjust to help improve lower back pain:

  • Sitting upright with back support — Sitting upright on a chair with back support puts less pressure on your spine and back muscles, which may ease lower back pain. 
  • Keeping knees at a 90⁰ angle Research suggests that sitting with your knees positioned 90⁰ from the chair may lead to decreases in your spine curvature.
  • Sitting at eye level of a computer — By looking straight into a computer and not having to keep your head up or down, you are placing less strain on your back muscles.

REPAIR SI can help treat lower back pain

In need of treatment for lower back pain? At REPAIR SI, we offer a variety of services, from physical therapy to acupuncture to fitness training. Our team of licensed physical therapists can help treat lower back pain using physical therapy, active release therapy, the McKenzie Method® and dry needling.

Your treatment at REPAIR SI will focus on the physical, mental and spiritual aspects of your life. We value whole-body treatment, which means that we approach your care with your whole wellness in mind, not just one problem area. This is why we’re working with our community to give you the services that you need.

You can count on REPAIR SI for high-quality care. We’d be happy to answer any questions you may have. Contact our team today for more information or to schedule an initial appointment.