Sitting puts a lot of stress through the lower back. It is no secret that sitting and lower back pain do not mix. Our Oakville chiropractors say if the lower back is not properly supported, or you sit for too long, it can lead to all kinds of pain and dysfunction in the back. Our Oakville chiropractors are seeing a lot of this at the clinic, especially during covid. Working from home is keeping people at the computer for longer hours with less break! If this sounds like you – get in for treatment at our Oakville chiropractic clinic today!
How Does Sitting Cause Lower Back Pain?
Pressure on Lumbar Discs from sitting!
Pain can arise from the joints, muscles and nerves in the lower back. Sitting can become problematic for multiple reasons. The pressure placed on the discs in the lower back are highest during sitting. This increase in pressure can irritate discs that are bulged or herniated, and cause aggravation of the nerves associated with those spinal levels.
Lumbar Muscle Spasm and pain!
Prolonged sitting can also cause muscle spasm that can lead to pain. The increased strain placed on the spine can bother many muscles in the lower back, including the QL and the lumbar paraspinal musculature. When the body is inactive and the muscles do not move, they can spasm and cramp. Sitting for longer than an hour keeps the muscles inactive and they can start feeling tight. Prolonged positions are not good for our muscles – our bodies were made to move – so taking frequent breaks to stand, walk or stretch is very important!
Tight Hip Flexors from sitting too much!
Sitting can also cause lower back pain by causing the muscles in the front to be in a shortened position. The hip flexor muscles include the psoas muscle an the rectus femurs (one of the four quad muscles). The psoas muscle attaches to every level of the lumbar spine and into the inside aspect of the upper thigh. The rectus femoris muscle attaches from the front of the pelvis into the knee. When the hips are flexed (as they are with sitting) the hip flexor muscles are in a shortened position. Standing up causes these muscles to lengthen, and if they’ve gotten too comfortable in a short position they can spasm and cause discomfort in the lower back.
Stretches for Lower Back Pain From Sitting
Glute Stretches for low back pain.
Laying on your back and pulling your knees in towards your chest can feel great after a prolonged period of sitting. This movement helps to pull the spine into the opposite direction as sitting. It helps to lengthen the muscles of the lower back and glutes (which are often sources of lower back pain!)
Hip Flexor Stretches for back pain!
Sitting keeps our hip flexor muscles in a shortened position. When these muscles are short, and then we try to stand up, they can become very uncomfortable and cause lower back pain. Hip flexor stretching should be a consistent part of a stretching routine for any person who sits at a desk all day!
Exercises for Lower Back Pain From Sitting!
Cat Cow for low back pain from sitting!
These classic yoga poses help to keep the spine mobile. After sitting all day, it is so important to get the spine moving. These simple exercises help to improve mobility through the lower back, and encourage movement in a safe way!
Plank – to strengthen your core!
The plank is a classic core exercise that can be modified from beginner to advanced levels. The plank exercise activates the deep core musculature and helps to build a strong and stable core. Strong core musculature is the key to protecting and stabilizing the lower back and helping prevent lower back pain.
How To Prevent Lower Back Pain From Sitting
- Proper Chair – your spine will thank you for investing in an ergonomic chair. Supporting your lower back properly while you sit can make a world of difference! Everybody is different, so trying the chair before you buy is always a good idea. Find a chair that is adjustable, so that it can be tuned to fit you! Desk ergonomics are so important!
- Take Breaks! This is so important. Sitting for 6-8 hours a day is not healthy for your lower back. You need to take breaks. Get up. Stand. Go for a short walk. Set a timer on your phone if you need to be reminded to move!
- Build a Strong Core – Strengthening is the best way to keep our lower backs healthy. Maintaining strong core musculature helps to protect the lower back, even when it is in a vulnerable position (like prolonged sitting!)