Why Sitting Often Leads To Low Back Pain
Four out of five adults suffer from lower back pain at some point in their life. Any pain in the back between L1 and L5 is defined as low back pain, although many people also experience pain that originates in the sacrum. This pain in the lowest part of the spine, near the tailbone, is called sacroiliac pain. It often radiates into the buttocks or the hips and radiates down the legs.
One of the big reasons that people experience back pain while seated is because of poor posture. Especially while working long hours at work, sitting down hunched over, or in a slouched position puts an undue strain on the discs of the vertebrae because of the curve and angle that your back is positioned in for hours. Having a good office chair that offers a mechanism for better lumbar and lower back support can encourage you to have good posture by holding your body in an upright position.
Certain health problems can lead to low back pain. Arthritis, herniated or ruptured discs, sciatica, and cancers of the spine or spinal cord will cause low back pain. Be aware that kidney infections can also cause low back pain, and might mimic pain that is caused by musculoskeletal problems. If you have a fever, painful urination, cloudy or discolored urine, or blood in the urine, you should see your healthcare practitioner to make sure your kidneys are not infected, or worse.
Acute back pain usually lasts a few days, but can last up to a few weeks. If back pain lasts longer than that, it’s likely chronic back pain. Back problems begin to affect adults after the age of 30, due to changes that take place with aging. As we age, our discs become more irritated from trauma or strain, and muscle tone is lost. This can increase the chances of injuring your back.
How To Ease Back Pain While Working
Making sure you get one of the best office chairs that offers proper lumbar back support is a good first step to help with low back pain. Especially while at work, when you are sitting for many hours at a time, it’s important to have a good chair to use that offers the correct support. Making sure that it has a good backrest and headrest can improve how comfortable you are at work, along with any other minor adjustments such as height adjustment, adjustable arms or adjustable seat height. Customization can go a long way in how comfortable you are at work.
Secondly, stretching the muscles that are bothering you is one of the best ways to help relieve back spasms, loosening up tight muscles and helping extend the range of motion.
Stretches To Do At Home
Sometimes you have an especially bad day with a problematic back, and you want to get home to lay down and get some relief. Here are a few stretches you can do while laying down to help loosen the lower back muscles and possibly provide some relief. If you can find an isolated place to lay down and stretch your back while working, these laying stretches provide the optimal ability to help stretch the muscles.
Knee to Chest Stretch
- Lay on your back, and slowly bend one knee up toward your chest.
- Hold your bent leg to your chest with both hands, providing slight traction to hold your leg in while it stretches your back muscles.
- Hold the pose for about 20 seconds and feel a stretch in the lower back, hip, and glutes.
- Repeat on the opposite leg, then repeat 3 times on each side.
You can also hold both legs at the same time, to stretch both sides at once. If you are short on time, you might want to choose that method.
Laying Pelvis Stretch
- Begin the same way as the knee to chest stretch, with your single leg bent up toward the chest.
- Using slight traction, pull your knee across your torso, toward the opposite shoulder.
- Hold it to feel a deep stretch in the lower back, hip, and glutes.
- Hold the stretch for about 20 seconds. Repeat on the opposite leg, then repeat on both sides 3 times.
- Get on the floor on your hands and knees. Your hands should be beneath the shoulders, and the knees beneath the hips.
- While exhaling, tuck in your chin toward your chest, arching your back (like a cat) pushing your back up toward the ceiling. Hold for about 10 seconds as you take a deep breath in,
- Exhaling, drop your abdomen down to the floor, arching your back as your face looks upward. Hold for about 10 seconds as you take a deep breath in.
- Repeat the set of stretches 3 times.
Two-Knee Back Stretch
- Laying on the floor with your knees drawn up toward the chest, let your arms fall along your sides.
- Keeping your knees together, slowly lower both legs at once toward the left. If you want to use your arm to pull the knees toward the floor more, you can.
- Try not to strain your neck muscles.
- Take a few deep breaths as you feel the deep stretch.
- Pull the legs up, and then let them fall to the opposite side. Repeat what you did on the other side.
- Repeat on both sides 3 more times.
How a Good Lumbar Support Cushion Can Help
You may not have a comfortable chair, but you can always purchase a comfortable seat cushion to help provide you with better comfort and support. Our seat cushions are made with memory foam and gel, to keep you supported and cool throughout the day. Finding the best ergonomic office chairs to pair with a cushion can help you get the proper alignment in your lower back to feel more comfortable throughout the day.
Having a good ergonomic desk chair, and a pillow with comfortable fabric that helps cradle and supports the hips and pelvis for proper lumbar support is important when you have to sit for long periods of time. Taking anti-inflammatory pain medicines (if your doctor recommends it) and applying heat to painful areas when you are resting are all good ways to improve painful low back muscles. When used in unison with ergonomic chairs with adjustable lumbar support and adjustable armrests and other features, you can lock in your comfort.
Ruptured Disc: Symptoms, Treatment, Recovery, and More | Healthline
Posture | Better Health
Common posture mistakes and fixes - Exercise | NHS