How to Sit to Avoid Back Pain

Oct 23, 2020

How to Sit to Avoid Back Pain If you’re experiencing back pain for any reason then you probably know how uncomfortable it can be to sit in certain positions or for long periods of time. It is important to see a spine specialist whenever you have back pain that interrupts how you live your life. There are treatments available to help with different types of back pain, especially if you have had car accident injuries and are still having pain. There are also things you can do at home to help ease your back pain, including paying attention to how you sit on the sofa or at your desk. Here are a few reasons why you may have back pain while sitting and how to sit more comfortably to help avoid back pain.

Reasons for Back Pain While Sitting

Sometimes the reason you may be experiencing back pain can be simply because of poor posture or even being out of shape. The muscles in your back support your spine and help you sit up straight, but if you hunch over your keyboard a lot or relax into a very plush sofa, your back may not be supported well. However, there are other more serious reasons why you may have back pain and talking to a spine specialist can help.


Sciatica is not a specific injury but actually refers to the type of pain you are feeling. When your sciatic nerve at the bottom of your spine is injured or experiencing a lot of pressure, it can cause you to feel pain. The type of back pain you might experience with sciatica is generally in your lower back and even down the backs of your legs. It is important to seek sciatica treatment immediately.

Disc Herniation

A herniated disc can be caused by an injury or through wear and tear on the body as you age. This is also commonly called a “slipped disc” and it means the disc that cushions and absorbs shock in between each of your vertebrae slides out of place or even ruptures. When you have a herniated disc, you would feel pain in that specific area and elsewhere because of how the bones and nerves are affected.

Spinal Stenosis

Spinal stenosis is a condition where your spinal column gets squeezed or starts to narrow. Because your nervous system runs through the middle of your spine, when it is squeezed or narrowing it can put pressure on your nerves and lead to pain. Spinal stenosis pain can even make you feel weak or numbness depending on what nerves are affected.

Muscle Strain

You may have heard the expression “I threw my back out”, which is another way of saying you have strained the muscles in your back. Because these muscles are so important and help support your spine and help keep your body upright, pain in these muscles can really affect your daily life. When you strain a muscle in your back, you will feel pain and even stiffness when trying to move around too much.

Best Sitting Position for Back Pain

There are things you can pay attention to when at home, at work, or in the car that can help relieve pressure on your back and ease your back pain.

Pay Attention to Posture

Sitting up straight and with good posture can help alleviate many types of back pain. When you sit up straight, your spine is in its proper alignment. A properly aligned spine helps keep your nervous system working at its best and your back muscles will support your spine. Try to notice when you are hunching over or slouching, usually when your shoulders and neck are too far forward because this can put added pressure on your spine.

Consider Hot and Cold Treatments

Alternating ice packs and heating pads can also help with pain when you are sitting at your desk or on the couch. Ice helps to reduce inflammation, like when your muscles are sore and may be swelling. When the swelling goes down, heat can be really soothing to your back, especially when your muscles in your back feel tense.

Use Back Support

There are many lumbar support items in stores and online that can you can use on a desk chair or even in the car. You can also make your own lumbar support at home by rolling up a towel and placing it behind you at the base of your spine. Using back supports also help remind you to pay attention to your posture.

Keep Core Muscles Toned

A surprising thing people don’t always consider is your ab muscles! Your core muscles also help support your spine and help you to sit up straight. Weak core muscles can make it easier to hunch or slouch, which can cause pain.

Avoid sitting for long stretches at a time when you have back pain and see a spine specialist if the pain persists and affects your daily activities.



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