If you suffer from back pain when you sit down, you’ve joined the ranks of some 31 million Americanswho suffer from lower back pain.
Suffering from constant back pain can become a difficult burden. Like many lower back pain sufferers, your pain may be more pronounced when sitting down. And if you must work sitting down, getting through the workday is a daily challenge.
Various conditions can cause lower back pain. And depending on the cause, the solution may be simple. In most cases, issues can be resolved without medication or surgery.
Read on to learn more about possible causes of back pain when sitting and how to resolve them.
Good Posture Makes a Difference
We all remember movies with the scene of a young woman learning good posture by walking with a book on her head. While that technique may not be the ideal way to improve posture, good posture is essential for a healthy back.
When you sit or stand correctly, your spine is properly aligned, and muscles and joints are not stressed or stretched out of alignment.
When you’re standing, imagine drawing an invisible vertical line from your ear through your shoulder, hip, knee, and ankle. When sitting, both feet should be flat on the floor with knees slightly apart. Your back should be straight with a slight arch at the small of your lower back.
When you slump or slouch, you strain your muscles to stay balanced. Muscles may become shortened and get stiff. This leads to back and neck problems, pain, stiffness, and sometimes headaches.
The Consequences of Inactivity
Our bodies were made for movement. Movement is one of the fundamental elements of wellness. Inactivity causes several problems. Here are a few:
- Loss of muscle strength and endurance
- Weaker bones
- Poor blood circulation
Our bodies were not designed for sitting all day. Sitting for hours at a desk will cause you to slouch, resulting in misalignment of the spine over time and back pain when sitting.
Back pain is the number one cause of disability in the world. The back has many moving parts that can cause pain when damaged.
Disks, muscles, ligaments, and joints work together for full functionality. When one becomes misaligned or weakened, it affects the whole back.
Keeping your body moving with exercise helps to improve the functionality of your back. Here are three things you can do to support your back:
- Use a lumbar roll to support the small of your back when you sit.
- Get up every hour, place your hands on the small of your back, push your hips forward, and lean back to realign the natural curve of your spine
- Do strengthening exercises for your back
Increased activity also improves blood circulation, which promotes better heart, brain, and digestive health.
Ergonomics and the Human Body
If your work requires you to be in a chair all day, taking breaks and exercising are common-sense solutions for reducing back pain when sitting. Another very important factor is adjusting the ergonomic setup of your workstation.
Ergonomics is a process used to create a workspace to fit a worker’s body instead of trying to make the body to fit the workspace. The design of your workstation should provide ease of use and cause no stress to your body.
Poorly adjusted office equipment and workstations cause musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) like back problems and conditions like carpal tunnel syndrome. Nearly 600,000 MSDs are reported each year, leading to $15-$20 billion in workmen’s compensation costs and millions of dollars more in productivity loss.
Good ergonomics reduce costs and increase productivity. Employees who aren’t suffering from back pain are more energetic, creative, and engaged on the job. And that impacts their quality of life at work and at home.
Lifestyle and the Link to Back Pain
It’s possible to find relief from back pain by being proactive. Posture, movement, and ergonomics are critical elements for correcting lower back problems. And taking steps to introduce practices to correct and improve these issues is relatively simple in most cases.
However, there are factors related to lifestyle that may be causing back pain. Resolving these factors may present a challenge.
After working all week, we feel our leisure time is precious. So, doing things we don’t like to do during our personal time is not motivating. But good overall health and wellness require the following lifestyle principles:
- Eating a healthy diet
- Eliminating stress
- Avoiding toxins
Sitting on the couch watching TV and eating fast food on weekends or staying up late playing video games can take a toll on the body. Weight control is a big factor in maintaining a healthy back. Excess weight puts a burden on the spine that can cause structural damage.
Take up weekend activities like golf or simply go for walks. Begin substituting water for sugary drinks. These choices are a way of starting small and building up to a healthier lifestyle. Investing in a back support belt can help relieve your back pain as you increase your activity.
Signs of More Serious Issues
Most lower back symptoms you experience are not serious, but it’s a good idea to get medical advice. For example, tenderness and pain in your back and lower legs may be an indication of a blood clot. Here are some other examples.
- Bladder issues
- Chronic pain
Also, it’s normal to feel tenderness after exercise, but if you have inflammation, pain, and swelling, or feel heat in a joint or muscle, it could indicate infection.
Getting negative results on medical exams can eliminate the concern of a more serious health condition.
Eliminating Back Pain When Sitting
Getting relief from constant back pain when sitting is a priority when you live with daily pain.
While finding the solution that’s right for you may require seeking medical advice, there are several simple solutions you can try to alleviate your pain.