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Sitting Can Make Your Low Back Pain Worse

Back Pain

Did you know that the way you sit could make your low back pain worse?
Disc herniations can occur due to any number of reasons – picking up something too heavy, car accidents, sports injuries, etc. The two most common intervertebral discs in your low back to become herniated are the L4/5 and L5/S1. The way we position ourselves can exert undue pressure on these discs making a herniation more likely or make existing low back pain even worse.
Remember when your mother would tell you to sit up straight? Well she was right…when you slouch in your chair it can almost double the amount of stress and pressure on the discs in your low back. This means a herniated disc will have even more force exerted on it causing it to bulge even further.
What other positions are bad? Slouching while you are standing, lying supine with your legs elevated, lifting objects with your back or arms outstretched.
So what positions are good? Lying flat on your back on a firm surface or on your side can decrease the pressure in the discs by up to 75%. If these don’t do the trick, try elevating your legs with your knees bent to 90 degrees.
Are there any exercises that can help? Yoga and pilates are excellent for strengthening your core and helping give you a better posture.

Dr. Corey Hunter is a nationally recognized interventional pain physician and the founder of Ainsworth Insitute. His publications have appeared in textbooks on treating pain and he is a regular contributor in leading pain management journals.