Everyone knows what it’s like to stand up and realize your back is stiff from sitting too long, or to fidget in your desk chair because you can’t find a comfortable position.
But when those sensations are happening every day, or when you’re experiencing frequent and distracting low back pain, it’s probably an indication of a larger issue.
The reality is, our bodies are not designed to sit for long periods of time.
How to Manage and Reduce Low Back Pain
So whether you’re working at a desk for 8 hours every day, or sitting down on the couch to rest and watch TV for a few hours after a long shift on your feet, extended periods of sitting down can harm your back over time.
Fortunately, there are things you can do to protect your back from these issues. And if your low back pain is too much to manage on your own, or you suspect it’s a symptom of a larger problem, an experienced chiropractor can help you find relief.
Why Sitting in a Chair Hurts Your Back
Sometimes low back pain results from a traumatic injury or a serious degenerative condition. But often, low back pain occurs simply because the way you’re sitting does not support your spine.
In general, the spine and all the joints and muscles that support it need regular movement to stay flexible and healthy. When you sit in the same position for hours at a time every day, it can cause the muscles that stabilize your spine to atrophy.
And if you spend some of that time slouching or hunching over to look at a screen, that places extra pressure on the discs that provide cushioning between the vertebrae in your back, which over time can cause them to wear down.
How to Stop Your Lower Back from Hurting When You Sit
You may not have control over the amount of time you spend sitting each day, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t take action to. Whether you already experience low back pain or you just want to be proactive in preventing it, here are a few key areas to focus on:
- Improve Your Posture
When you think of perfect posture, you probably imagine someone sitting perfectly straight, but this is actually not accurate! Good posture is about allowing your back to maintain its natural, relaxed curve.
Paying attention to and correcting your posture is a habit, and just like any other habit, you can get better at it with practice. Whenever you think of it, check in to see how you’re sitting. If you’re slouching, crossing your legs, or sitting in an unusual position, take a minute to adjust. Over time this will start to feel more natural and you’ll start to do it subconsciously.
- Adjust Your Work Setup
Most people’s desk and chair setups do not encourage good posture or support your lower back. With a few small changes, you can make your space more comfortable and ergonomic.
Start by looking at your desk chair. If it doesn’t have support at the small of your back, add a pillow or a rolled-up towel to fill in the gap. This will make it easier for you to sit without slouching.
You should also take a minute to adjust your chair height. Ideally, your feet will comfortably be able to rest on the ground, while your elbows will sit at the same height as the desk. When you reach out to type or write, you should be able to keep your arms and legs at 90 degree angles.
Then, make sure your computer monitor is at eye level, so you don’t have to spend long periods of time looking down.
If you use a laptop, consider investing in a separate keyboard and a computer stand, so you can raise your screen height and still keep your keyboard level with your elbows.
- Take Frequent Breaks to Stand and Move Around
No matter how ideal your desk setup is, you also need to stand up regularly. Try to get up at least once every hour to stretch, get a drink of water, or take a short walk.
- Exercise to Better Support Your Back
Many people struggle with posture because sitting properly requires you to constantly engage your core and back muscles.
Exercises that both strengthen these muscles and improve your flexibility will allow them to better support your low back while you sit.
How a Chiropractor Can Help with Low Back Pain from Sitting
Even if your lower back pain seems relatively minor, it’s never too early to visit a chiropractor.
Chiropractic adjustments can not only provide relief from your discomfort, but they can also help prevent more serious degenerative conditions that can stem from sitting too long or placing too much strain on your lower back.
A great chiropractor will have a variety of tools at their disposal to help you manage your back pain, but the most common is chiropractic adjustment (also known as spinal manipulation).
This is when a chiropractor manually applies controlled force to a part of the body. An adjustment can help improve your mobility, which in turn will lead to less stiffness and soreness.
It also takes some of the pressure off of the nerves in your back that may be causing pain, and it makes sure your spine is properly aligned, so it’s easier to maintain good posture.
Spinal decompression or traction can also help you find relief, especially if your pain is caused by a disc that has slipped out of place or worn down.
This therapy gently stretches your spine so that the disc can slide back into place naturally, and it increases blood flow to the area to speed up the body’s natural healing process. which can promote faster healing, and it realigns the joints so your mobility can improve.
Both of these treatment methods are completely non-invasive and don’t come with the side effects that accompany many of the medications doctors prescribe for low back pain.
If you spend long periods of time sitting and want to make sure you’re not causing damage to your back, then there’s no better time than right now to schedule a chiropractic adjustment. Give us a call today at 954-432-5006 to schedule a consultation.
Dr. Rush is a 1994 graduate of the University of Florida where he earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Exercise Sports Science and Wellness.
Dr. Rush earned his Doctor of Chiropractic Degree at Life University in 2000 where he was honored with magna cum laude. Dr. Rush was born and raised in South Florida where he returned after graduation. He currently practices in Pembroke Pines, Florida where he owns and operates Rush Chiropractic and Rehab at Pembroke Pines FL.