Published on June 17, 2022

Lower Back Pain From Too Much Sitting? Here's How to Manage It

Back Pain

Lower back pain is one of the most common ailments, affecting nearly everyone at some stage of active adult life. Sitting with poor or slouched posture is one of the biggest causes of back pain. Since the beginning of the COVID pandemic, we have become more sedentary. Typically, your back pain will be worse after sitting for prolonged periods of time. This includes driving, watching movies, or working from home - things we are very familiar with nowadays.

The human body is not made to sit for such lengthy periods of time- the longer we sit, the worse our posture becomes. A normal, healthy lumbar spine should have a small curve, or lordosis, that keeps us upright and stable. When we slouch, this curvature reverses, and the ligaments become overstretched and fatigued. Poor posture can result from sitting on a couch or recliner, or any non-ergonomic chair. This may lead to difficulty rising up from the sitting position and several minutes spent trying to stand upright properly. Typical patients with lower back pain are better off moving and worse off when remaining in one position for prolonged periods. 

If you suffer from low back pain, especially if you sit at a desk for multiple hours a day, or spend a lot of time sitting down in general, try these hips to help manage it.  

  1. Get an ergonomic chair. Ergonomic chairs are designed for users to sit with neutral lumbar spine posture. This prevents overstretching of the ligaments of the spine and prevents muscles and ligaments from fatiguing earlier.
  2. Get up! Get up out of your chair at least every hour. When you do, place your hand in the small of your lower back, push your hips forward and lean back as far as you can. Repeat this five to 10 times to reset the natural curvature of your spine.
  3. Try simple strengthening exercises. Try exercises such as planks or the superman pose. Doing these exercises at least once a day to strengthen your muscles can act as a preventive measure.
  4. Buy a lumbar roll. If you cannot get an ergonomic chair, this is a great, less expensive alternative.
  5. Consider purchasing a standing desk. This is another great alternative to getting an ergonomic chair. When you are standing, you are able to maintain the curvature of your spine.

Get Ambas, P.T., Cert. M.D.T., is a physical therapist with MyMichigan Health at 304 W. Wackerly Street in Midland. Get is a certified McKenzie therapist and has special expertise in spine care. For more information, please visit www.mymichigan.org/rehab.