Best Ways to Sit for Lower Back Pain

We spend a lot of our days sitting: driving, watching T.V., surfing the web, and working. Unfortunately, if you suffer from lower back pain, you may find it difficult to get comfortable when sitting down. It’s understandable, as sitting adds 40 – 90% more pressure on your back discs than standing does!

If you work an office job or spend a lot of time sitting in front of a computer, this can only exacerbate your lower back pain. Luckily, a physiotherapy expert can suggest ways to support your spine. These methods will protect your lower back and encourage healing.

Here are some of the best positions for sitting with lower back pain, along with some tips to help you manage your symptoms.

Support the Spine’s Natural Curves

When you sit down, your spine naturally curves and has a “hollow” spot. This section of the spine, known as the lumbar spine, should be supported to maintain the spine’s correct natural position and encourage a swift recovery.

To see if your chair has the proper lumbar support, sit in the chair and scoot your hips back so your buttocks touch the backrest. If there’s space between the backrest and your lumbar spine, you’ll want to add some support!

You can buy backrest pads that slide onto the chair and offer the proper support. If you can’t find a pad, a rolled-up towel between your back and the chair can achieve the same effect.

Recline Your Seat

If you spend a lot of time in an office chair, the backrest may be set to 90° degrees. However, this could encourage slouching forward, worsening your back pain.

Instead, try reclining your seat! Reclining your seat even by ten degrees can reduce pressure on your spinal discs and relieve your lower back pain. For maximum pain relief,
recline your backrest to 120°.

Get a Padded Chair

Sitting all day on a hard chair is a recipe for lower back pain, so it may be time to invest in a padded chair if you don’t already have one! Ample padding on your seat is important when dealing with lower back pain. Adequate padding will take pressure off certain joints and muscles, making sitting more comfortable.

A chair should have at least four centimetres of padding, with thicker padding towards the back of the seat. Avoid chairs with too much cushioning, as this will cause you to sink into the chair, putting pressure on the
wrong areas and limiting your ability to move.

Rest Your Elbows Properly

You may not realize it, but keeping your elbows in the correct position while sitting can help you manage your lower back pain. Proper support for your upper extremities will keep the pressure off your back.

You want your arms close to your body, so when sitting at a desk, make sure your elbows are bent at about 90° and keep your shoulders relaxed. Consider investing in wrist supports if you do a lot of typing.

Elevate Your Knees

The position of your knees while sitting can affect your back. It’s a good rule of thumb to sit with your feet flat on the floor. Your knees should be level with your hips. Using a footrest can be helpful if your legs are too short for this.

Be sure not to cross your legs, as this will make it easier to rest your weight on one side of your body. Keeping your weight evenly distributed across your hips is crucial to avoid further injury and promote healing.

Change Positions Throughout the Day

No matter how you sit, staying in the same position for too long can cause muscle stiffness and exacerbate your back pain. As such, it’s important to change your position throughout the day. Lie flat on the floor for a few minutes if you can.

If you have a desk job, it may be difficult to sit in any position besides the typical sitting position at your workstation. If this is the case, stretch and move around for a few minutes every hour.

This will keep your muscles from stiffening up, reduce pressure on muscles and joints, and prevent more pain later
on. Another option is to get a standing desk to alternate between sitting and standing throughout the day.

Don’t Slouch

When it comes to lower back pain, one of the worst things you can do is slouch! This will be painful and make your recovery process longer. If you can, make adjustments to prevent yourself from slouching forward.

If you work an office job, this could include sitting the correct distance away from your computer and raising your computer to eye level.

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