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Why Is My Lower Back Pain Worse When Sitting?
Back pain is one of the most common forms of discomfort experienced by the general population. Whether it’s your mom, your coworker, or yourself, it seems we all know someone who’s plagued by intense back pain. What’s more, the lower back is the most common area for this sensation to occur, which can be particularly problematic.
Your lower back, also known as your lumbar spine, is essential to the integrity of your posture. It evenly distributes the weight from your upper body to your lower body, giving you the ability to sit or stand up correctly.
Back Pain: How It Feels
Lower back pain can present itself in a variety of different ways. It can stop you in your tracks and send you to the floor, or it can come on gradually over time.
Back pain ranges widely, from mild discomfort to unbearable agony. It can be sharp or dull, hot or cold, and in severe cases, issues that stem from nerve damage can appear as acute numbness and loss of feeling.
The Causes of Back Pain
The truth is, a lot of different sensations fall under the category of lower back pain. While the severity of the pain generally alerts you to the seriousness of the injury, knowing the possible causes of back pain can help you understand what’s going on with your body. Here are some common problems that can cause acute or chronic back pain.
Often, back pain comes down to poor posture. Sitting in front of computers or hunching over smartphone screens can be a slippery slope. Proper posture while sitting, standing, and walking is crucial to avoid lower back pain. Bad posture can be a key culprit for lower back pain if you sit for long hours every week.
Sciatica affects the sciatic nerve causes discomfort from the lower lumbar area down both legs. The sciatic nerve itself travels through the lumbar region of your back and splits down both legs.
Another form of lower back pain comes from trauma, such as falling down a flight of stairs, being in a car accident, or slipping on a patch of ice. These injuries can be small or large, and we can feel their effects on our backs for a long time. Something as simple as bending over incorrectly to pick up an Amazon package can cause lots of pain and can develop into a larger problem if left untreated.
Your Level of Physical Fitness
Being physically fit is crucial for good back health. You don’t need to have a Hollywood physique or become a marathon runner out. Simply having an active lifestyle, a good diet, and time spent outside can make a huge difference in back protection.
Muscle strain is one of the most common causes of spasms in the lower back. This usually has a sudden onset and can last a matter of seconds, minutes, or even longer.
Muscle strain can have a variety of different causes. Athletes can experience strain due to overuse during training, and office workers can experience it from daily repetitive tasks. If you aren’t taking time to stretch and get proper rest, a muscle strain spasm can be a real issue.
A herniated disk is no joke. This condition occurs when the disks that help support and separate your vertebrate experience damage and cannot function properly. This damage is usually the result of traumatic injury, but it can also stem from overuse. It can be extremely painful and lead to long-term discomfort.
Scoliosis is a condition in which the spine has a slight curvature that affects the body’s proper alignment. Scoliosis can occur due to health issues like muscular dystrophy and cerebral palsy, but most cases develop from unknown causes.
Other Medical Conditions
Many medical conditions can put you in a place where your back isn’t feeling like it should. Your back itself houses some of the most significant weight and stress in your body, holding together your moving parts throughout the day. In addition to medical problems, injuries that develop into inhibiting conditions are also common.
The truth is, chronic low back pain may require physical therapy, over-the-counter or prescription pain medications, or surgery once Ibuprofen and an ice pack no longer do the trick.
Sometimes, though, the cause of your back pain is surprisingly simple—your chair.
You’re Using the Wrong Chair
As we’ve seen, posture and physical activity are imperative to maintaining a healthy back.
However, you probably can’t change the sedentary nature of your work, especially if you work in an office. While some occupations keep you moving and come with their own set of challenges, many people sit for large portions of their workday. For this large segment of the population, their office chair is a significant cause of their back pain.
While lower back pain usually clears up through exercise and improved posture, noticing back pain symptoms from the onset can help prevent further damage.
Signs of lower back pain may include:
- Muscle spasms
- Constant ache, dull ache
- Painful back muscles
- Muscle weakness
- Pain from buttocks down to the back of the leg and even into the calf
- Loose bladder or bowel function
Solutions & Prevention
Just because you used a bad chair in the past doesn’t mean you’re resigned to back pain forever. If you spend most of your week sitting down, investing in a professional-grade chair only makes sense. Even better? It isn’t hard to find chairs made to support your lower back health and improve your quality of life.
Best Ways To Sit For Back Support
When sitting, you should be cognizant of a few key areas, most importantly the lumbar spine and pelvis. Typically, the classic ‘slouch’ causes lumbar spine and pelvis pain. Your vertebrae are meant to stack in a precise way to help distribute your upper body weight evenly over your lower body while sitting. Slouching defeats this ideal posture.
all33 has worked hard to create a one-of-a-kind design that keeps you from slouching while facilitating hip movement so that you can be comfortable and healthy for hours of sitting.
Another area of concern is how far away you sit from your desk. Bringing the equipment to you rather than vice versa will allow you to sit up straighter, so you’re not hunched over your laptop. Make sure that your keyboard positioning keeps your elbows bent at a 90-degree angle to prevent your shoulders from slumping. Position your computer screen at eye level and arm’s length so you aren’t straining to see it.
Stretch, Exercise & Take Breaks
Sitting for long periods can be a major cause of back pain because it increases stress on the back, neck, arms, and legs. It adds a significant amount of pressure to the back muscles and spinal discs. Sitting for an extended time can slow your metabolism, which in turn can slow body fat breakdown and affect your body’s ability to regulate blood sugar and blood pressure.
Regardless of the equipment you're using while you sit, you still need to move! Moving and stretching throughout the day will help keep your joints, ligaments, muscles, and tendons loose, which in turn will help you feel more relaxed and comfortable while working.
You can do this on your time and your terms. Maybe you work for a company that allows you to catch some waves when the surf is good, or you can take ten-minute walks around the office. Maybe you can leave the desk for a highly mobile half-hour lunch break to stimulate circulation.
Getting up from your seat and stretching your legs is a great way to help your heart pump fresh blood throughout your body and help keep your muscles and back healthy.
When To Seek Treatment
For many people, simply investing in a good chair and exercising can make a world of difference when it comes to lower back pain. However, you should seek professional medical treatment if there is a suspected injury or a pain that doesn’t dissipate no matter what measures you take.
While it’s not easy to know what exactly is going on with your lower back, if the pain is immobilizing or you lose feeling in either of your legs, you should seek immediate medical help to devise a comprehensive treatment plan.
Care for Your Lower Back the Right Way
If you care for your lower back, your lower back will care for you. Often, the reason it hurts is that it has to hold more weight than it was designed to, due to poorly designed chairs and lack of exercise.
all33 has created chairs that support your back, help your back evenly distribute your weight, and let you move right from your seat. all33 chairs will help promote back health and strength within your daily routines.
Learn more about our chairs today, and get one step closer to alleviating lower back pain once and for all.