At some point in life, about 80 percent of adults will experience lower back pain. For approximately 20 percent of adults, this will develop into chronic low back pain. This common problem can make it difficult to get through your day. It is even worse when you are sitting for work or just to relax. The good news is that the better you understand why lower back and hip pain when sitting occurs, the faster you can work to alleviate it.
Your lower back has five spinal vertebrae. These five vertebrae make up your lumbar spine. This spinal region is responsible for supporting most of your upper body weight. Between each of the vertebrae are spinal discs. These function as shock absorbers, and they have a rubbery consistency.
Ligaments are bands of tissue that work to keep your vertebrae in place. The muscles that attach to the spinal column are held in place by the tendons. There are also nerves in this area that work to send signals to the brain and control body movements.
Lower back pain can stem from any of these lower back components. These structures can become stressed, resulting in pain and stiffness. Injuries can also affect these components of your lower back, causing discomfort.
It is important to strengthen and stretch your spine and the attached soft tissues. Conditioning these elements helps to keep them healthy. When they are healthy, they are more resistant to stress and injury. This could reduce your risk of experiencing lower back pain when sitting.
Knowing the most common causes of lower back pain can help you to reduce your risk of experiencing them. In most cases, low back pain is due to a mechanical cause. These can include:
The chair you sit in has a major impact on your lower back. A good chair can promote proper posture and help to alleviate your pain. Make sure that all of your office furniture is ergonomic to reduce the stress on your back. Using ergonomic office furniture offers the following benefits:
When it comes to your chair, there are several tips to use to choose one that will benefit your back the most. Consider the following:
Whether you are sitting at your desk or driving long distances, posture aids can help you to sit more comfortably. When you are using proper posture, your spine is stable and strong. When you are stooping or slouching, this causes strain on the soft tissues and vertebrae in your lower back.
Posture aids work to reduce pressure on your back while supporting proper sitting posture. Many people are unaware that they have posture issues. To see if your posture is proper, sit in your chair as you usually do and have someone take photos of you from both sides, the front and the back. If you notice slouching or stooping, your posture needs correction. Also, make sure that your chair height is proper using this method.
There are different types of orthopedic cushions depending on your needs. The following are common types:
Consider the low back pain you experience when you are sitting to make the right choice. For example, if proper posture is a problem, a lumbar cushion is a good choice. If your low back gets sore due to prolonged sitting, a sitting cushion is ideal. You can also use more than one cushion to improve comfort when you are sitting.
There is a certain way to sit in a chair or vehicle driver’s seat that will ensure that you are using proper posture:
Posture can be due to a bad habit, or because of the following:
Working on the flexibility and strength of these muscles can help you naturally develop a healthy sitting posture. You can also use posture aids and orthopedic cushions to make using proper posture easier and more comfortable.
When muscles are not flexible, they can develop trigger points. These are areas in the muscle that feel like knots. Even light touch can cause them to be painful. Improving the strength and flexibility of your muscles is the best way to reduce the pain associated with trigger points.
There are stretches you can do without ever getting out of your chair. You can perform these stretches several times a day to help improve your flexibility and alleviate low back pain. The stretches include:
An ergonomic workstation allows you to interact with your workspace in a way that is safe, healthy and efficient. This can help to reduce your risk of low back pain and aid you in being more productive.
In addition to your chair, you have other workspace elements to alter to ensure that everything is ergonomic. These include:
You can add a few ergonomic accessories to your workstation to ensure proper posture. The following are beneficial:
When you sit, this can put pressure on your back. In fact, compared to standing, when you are sitting, there is about 40 to 90 percent more pressure affecting your back which can contribute to pain. This pain can be made worse when you use improper posture when you are sitting.
Every one to two hours, standing for just two to three minutes can alleviate the lower back pain you experience when you are sitting. You can set an alarm to remind yourself to stand up at regular intervals.
At work, just standing up at your desk and gently stretching is beneficial. If you can move around, taking a two-minute walk can help to reduce your pain. The key is to get up on a regular basis to help alleviate some of the pressure on your lower back when you are sitting.
Consider this information and think about which techniques will best help you to learn how to ease lower back pain. Most people find that using several of these methods helps to calm their pain and keep them comfortable.
Dr. Svetlana Parshenkova received her M.D from Kuban State Medical University (KSMU) in 1998 and her Executive MBA from Antwerp Management School in 2012. She has served as a Medical Information Manager for a large pharmaceutical company Les Laboratories Servier for over 20 years. In her free time she enjoys blogging about health, wellness and orthopedics.