I have back pain every day, but only after sitting for extended periods. Any suggestions?
– Thanks, Amy S.
Kevin Pyles, PT
Ask The Expert
In today’s sedentary lifestyle, folks often find themselves sitting for prolonged periods, whether it be at work, during commutes, or while relaxing at home. Unfortunately, this prolonged sitting can often lead to back pain due to poor posture. In this article, we will explore effective strategies to help promote a healthy back. (Please consult a medical professional such as the ones at Northern Orthopedics and Northern Rehab before beginning any exercise routines)
It is important to know that God wants you well. Regardless of your symptoms, you were designed in an image of health and happiness. Focus daily on the love and joy that has already healed you and not on “how you feel.”
I have seen how pain steals joy and, over time, can lead to depression. Your body contains the best pharmacy that man has ever seen. The right chemicals, in the right amounts, at the right time. You must have a strategy to foster this. I have found the most effective mental strategies for healing include gratitude, love, meditation (like that taught by Dr. Joe Dispenza), and laughter.
Every day when you first wake up, write down three things for which you are grateful. Read these at night before going to bed. Select a picture that makes you feel love and use it as your screen saver on your phone. You can also print this picture and attach it to your bathroom mirror and in your car to help you hold that feeling. Meditation is not as mystical as you might think. Just find a system that you like and stick with it. A merry heart does good, like medicine. Schedule 15-30 minutes per day of laughter. This could be watching a comedy show, listening to your favorite comedian, or a quick phone call with a funny friend. Consistency is the key.
- Improve Your Sitting Posture:
One of the primary reasons for back pain during prolonged sitting is poor posture. To improve your sitting posture, follow these tips:
- Sit with your back straight and shoulders relaxed.
- Keep your feet flat on the floor or use a footrest if needed.
- Utilize an ergonomic chair that supports your lower back.
- Take regular breaks to stand up, stretch, and walk around.
- Stretch and Strengthen:
Incorporating stretching and strengthening exercises into your daily routine can significantly reduce back pain. Practice these poses:
- Cat/Camel stretch
- Side Lying Quad stretch
- Supine Hamstring stretch
- Prone, Arm Assisted Cobra stretch (back extension)
- Take Regular Breaks and Move:
- Stand up and lightly stretch every 30 minutes.
- On breaks, take short walks maintaining an upright posture to encourage spinal extension.
- If available, consider using a standing desk at times.
- Supportive Tools and Accessories:
- Lumbar Support: When sitting, place a cushion or rolled-up towel behind your lower back to support the natural curve of your spine.
- Ergonomic Chair: If available, try an ergonomic chair that provides proper support to your lower back, neck, and shoulders.
- Sit-Stand Desk: Consider using a sit-stand desk that allows you to switch between sitting and standing positions throughout the day.
I wish you the best.
You can find out more about back pain here.
Disclaimer: This information is opinion only and may not be used as a substitute for professional advice and/or information, as circumstances will vary from person to person. You should not act or rely upon this information without seeking professional advice.