Back pain while sitting is a very common complaint. This is especially true for people who sit for prolonged periods of time due to their work. We always associate sitting as a means of relaxing our feet from prolonged standing, but improper posture and prolonged sitting may also cause damages to our body leading to back pain. Sitting can actually put strain over the lumbar area of our spine contributing to muscle sprains and other injury to the soft structures with the result of producing back pain.

How does Back Pain while Sitting Arise?

Sitting is dominated by flexion, which means that your back naturally assumes a curled position. The lumbar area is the most common location where flexion is seen because it is the point where the back and the hips connect.

During sitting for prolonged period, the back normally slumps. This creates more severe flexion to the lower back. Due to this, the first area to experience pain is the lower back or the lumbar area. While the lumbar portion is flexed, the upper areas of the back compensate to support the body. As a result, there is also increase strain placed on the upper portions of the spine. This is the reason that prolonged sitting may eventually lead to tired shoulders. Once you stand up, the back pain is commonly relieved because the flexion along the lumbar area is also reduced.

Back pain while sitting normally happens during sitting for prolonged periods; however, it can also happen faster when one sits with poor posture or there is inadequate support from the seats.

What are the Possible Effects of Back Pain while Sitting?

When you feel pain while sitting, the injury doesn’t stop with the presence of pain. Other more severe injuries can also happen along the back. For instance, it may lead to more permanent posture problems as the body assumes a slumped position. There can also be cervicomuscular strain affecting the neck area.  Prolonged sitting may also cause the development of muscle knots that serve as trigger points for pain in various areas of the body.

How Can We Manage Back Pain while Sitting?

Back pain while sitting is easily prevented and managed. Since the root cause of pain is the prolonged flexion of the back, easing flexion and maintaining a neutral position may help relieve back pains. Most common approaches include;

  • Getting an ergonomic chair

Ergonomic chairs are especially designed to provide adequate support to the natural curves in the spine to maintain the neutral position of the vertebrae while sitting. If you can’t have an ergonomic chair, you can actually use a rolled towel behind your lower back.

  • Avoiding prolonged sitting

The longer you sit the more tension your back receives. If you are working in front of your desk or computer, it is essential to stand up and walk around every hour to lift the pressure on your back regularly.

  • Seeking chiropractic care

Chiropractic care manages back pain by improving the alignment of the spine. It also includes special massages and physical therapy to improve the flexibility of the joints in the spine and relax the surrounding muscles.

Back pain while sitting may be a minor complaint; however, the increasing number of people experiencing it and the disability it gives proves that proper posture and back support are all essential to promoting a healthy back.