“you can’t sit like that until I’ve left the room” if you have visited me in the clinic you may have heard me say this which brings me to my point, sitting well can be very difficult to do.
I say this as the way you sit can have a big impact on your spine and back pain? It’s true! Poor sitting posture can put a lot of strain on your back, leading to discomfort and even long-term problems.
Did you know that sitting for prolonged periods can put more pressure on your spine than standing or lying down? Yes, it’s true! When we sit, the pressure on our spinal discs can be higher compared to other positions, which can contribute to spinal issues over time (3).
So, let’s dive into this interesting topic.
Most of us know and have experienced a stiff back when we sit for long periods or slouched on the settee, more so as we age and especially when done badly for extended periods, we all know it’s important to maintain good posture. But what does that mean? Well, good posture involves keeping your back straight, shoulders relaxed, and feet flat on the floor. When we slouch or hunch forward, it can cause our spine to curve unnaturally, leading to increased pressure on the discs and muscles of the back.
Research studies have shown that poor sitting posture can contribute to back pain and spinal problems. A study published in the European Spine Journal found that individuals with a slouched sitting posture had a higher prevalence of low back pain compared to those with a more upright posture (1). Another study published in the Journal of Physical Therapy Science discovered a significant association between forward head posture while sitting and increased neck and shoulder pain (2).
So, what can we do to improve our sitting posture and prevent back pain? Here are a few tips:
Sit up straight: Keep your back aligned and supported. Avoid slouching or leaning forward excessively.
Use a supportive chair: Choose a chair with proper lumbar support to maintain the natural curve of your spine.
Take breaks: Stand up, stretch, and walk around every 30 minutes or so to relieve the pressure on your spine.
Strengthen your back: Engaging in exercises that strengthen your body, including the back muscles can help support your spine and improve posture, the stronger, more mobile you are the better the body can handle day to day activities.
Habit: you cannot create good habits if the body is unable to perform the movements comfortably, this takes us back to the previous point, we need to train the body.
Don’t live with it: Most back pain is non serious and responds to treatment, something as an osteopath we see a lot of. It is worth noting that no resolving leads to musculature adaptations and compensation patterns that can become harder to resolve the longer they are there.
Remember, maintaining good sitting posture is essential for the health of your spine and can help prevent back pain. So, the next time you find yourself sitting, make sure to sit up straight and take care of your back!
Any questions, feel free to send them along.
Keep Well, Stay Active
Korovessis P, et al. (2000). Natural history of low back pain in adults: An 11-year follow-up study. European Spine Journal, 9(3), 242-245.
Kim EK, et al. (2016). The effects of forward head posture on neck and shoulder muscles and pain levels in university students. Journal of Physical Therapy Science, 28(2), 610-613.
Wilke HJ, et al. (1999). New in vivo measurements of pressures in the intervertebral disc in daily life. Spine, 24(8), 755-762.