Ergonomic Solutions for Lower Back Pain When Sitting in the Office
Work Wellness

Ergonomic Solutions for Lower Back Pain When Sitting in the Office

|Apr 17, 2024
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Whether you're living a sedentary lifestyle in the office or experiencing postural stress, lower back pain when sitting can have an adverse impact on your life. The constant discomfort may prevent you from bending and performing certain tasks. Fortunately, there are many ergonomic solutions on the market that can help alleviate the strain on your muscles.

In this guide, we will discuss the key reasons why you may be experiencing pain in your lower back when sitting. Keep reading until the end, as we will also explore the best ergonomic furniture and accessories to reduce discomfort.

Let's get started!

Why Does My Lower Back Hurt When I Sit?

Are you experiencing pain in the lower back above the buttocks when sitting? There are many reasons why you may be facing discomfort in that region, some of which include the following:

Occupational Choices

The type of work you do can impact your physical health. Prolonged sitting can cause your buttocks to remain inactive, forcing your legs or hamstrings to work overtime. This can lead to excessive pelvic tilting.

An ergonomic chair is a great way to ensure proper posture in the office. It distributes the pressure evenly on your back and core, helping alleviate muscle stiffness.

There are many other occupations that can directly strain a person's back muscles. Lifting heavy loads without proper equipment is dangerous.

Most people bend instead of squatting when picking something up, which can cause stress on their backs, leading to injuries and pain.

Occupational Choices - Lower back pain when sitting

Sleeping Positions

If you're experiencing lower back pain when sitting, it could be because of your sleeping position. Waking up with discomfort in your spine and difficulty bending down is an indication that you should change the way you sleep.

While sleeping in a particular position might seem comfortable for the time being, it can cause your back muscles to stiffen, leading to pain and discomfort.

Sleeping Positions

Postural Stress

If you're experiencing lower back pain when sitting but not standing, it could be due to the fact that human beings apply about 90% of pressure on their backs when they sit.

By ensuring proper posture throughout the day, you're evenly distributing the weight and reducing the strain on your spine.

Another reason you may experience pain in your lower back when sitting is increased screen time. We often lean our heads forward or stare downwards when viewing our smartphones or laptops.

According to Gitnux, the average head weighs about 10 to 11 lbs. That's a lot of strain on your neck muscles. This can adversely impact your posture.

Fitness

Improperly lifting weights or failing to perform exercises properly can lead to pain in the lower back, above the buttocks, when sitting.

Most people use their back and core muscles instead of their leg muscles when weightlifting or they may have poor form. This can lead to stress and injuries. It's essential to work with an experienced professional to learn more about recommended exercise positions.

A lack of fitness may also lead to severe pain in the lower spine. You must stay fit, as an inactive lifestyle can cause your muscles to weaken over time, making it difficult to stretch or bend. This is why obese people and smokers often experience discomfort in their backbone.

Fitness - Lower back pain when sitting

Sciatica

Does your lower back pain hurt when sitting? Sciatica is a medical condition where the discomfort starts in your spine and goes all the way down to your legs. It can be painful and may lead to long-term problems if not treated immediately.

Throbbing pain can occur if something puts a lot of pressure on the sciatic nerve or the nerve roots in the spine.

Sciatica

Herniated Discs

When excessive pressure causes a portion of the nucleus to push through a crack in the annulus, it could result in a herniated disc. You may experience severe back pain when trying to stand up and numb sensations around your spine.

Although herniated discs are more common in the elderly, as they are prone to slip-and-fall accidents, they can also happen due to sudden trauma or improper lifting techniques.

Spinal Stenosis

In some cases, lower back pain when sitting may be associated with spinal stenosis. Your spine has hollow tubes consisting of nerves. When the space inside the backbone is too small, pressure on the nerves can lead to chronic pain and discomfort.

Different Levels and Types of Pain

When assessing lower back pain, the severity of discomfort experienced can help medical professionals determine the underlying cause. It can also indicate whether you should seek treatment immediately.

Some patients may experience lower back pain when sitting but not standing, while others may find the opposite to be true. The level of discomfort can vary from one person to another and depends on the severity of the trauma.

Here are the different types of feelings one may experience following a traumatic incident or injury:

  • Sharp pain: Instead of dull aches, your lower back may experience pain that feels like jolting electrical shocks. This often happens due to a torn ligament or muscle.
  • Radiating pain: When a nerve compresses due to excess pressure, it can cause radiating pain in the back, which can travel from one part of the spine to the other.
  • Numbness or tingling sensations: If you sit for extended periods of time, your glutes and groin may experience numbing or tingling sensations. In cases involving cauda equina syndrome, it's important to seek medical attention immediately.
  • Incontinence: At times, the severity of the back pain can cause a person to lose control over their bowel and bladder function. This happens due to spinal nerve compression.
  • Sudden leg weakness: Spinal stenosis can adversely impact your ability to walk. Due to nerve compression, you may experience weakness in your legs.

When seeking medical treatment, it's important to distinguish between acute and chronic lower back pain. This can help identify the underlying cause, allowing the doctor to recommend medication, therapy, or surgery.

Different Levels and Types of Pain

Acute Back Pain

Whether you're young or old, acute back pain can occur at any time in your life. In fact, it's so common that most people experience it. It typically manifests as a sudden discomfort that doesn't last a long time.

Acute back pain can occur for many reasons, including strenuous exercises, posture stress, and awkward muscle movements.

Over-the-counter painkillers and cold presses can help alleviate most of the discomfort. If the pain doesn't improve within six weeks, consider speaking to a medical professional.

Hiring a masseuse is also a fantastic way to relieve stress. However, certain techniques that open up the knots in the muscles can lead to temporary pain. This is normal, and there are things that you can do to reduce discomfort.

Don't forget to check out our "Can massage make back pain worse?" guide to learn more about relieving inflammation after a deep tissue massage.

Acute Back Pain

Chronic Back Pain

If the pain in the lower back, above the buttocks, when sitting doesn't go away after six weeks, it could be a sign of chronic back pain, which can adversely impact one's health, mobility, and quality of life. The affected person may require medical treatment.

During chronic back pain, you may experience throbbing discomfort when sitting, bending, or even standing. It could last up to six months or more and gradually increase in intensity.

Home treatments won't do you any good, which is why you must reach out to an experienced medical professional.

Chronic Back Pain

Ways to Alleviate Back Pain from Sitting or Bending

Those experiencing acute lower back pain when sitting or bending may try the following home remedies to soothe or relieve discomfort:

  • Over-the-counter medications: Painkillers, including acetaminophen and ibuprofen, are great for alleviating discomfort. You can buy these at any local pharmacy. Make sure to follow the recommended dosage, as consuming too many pills at once may lead to adverse side effects.
  • Hot and cold patches: Back pain caused by inflammation can be relieved by applying hot or cold patches to the affected area. The changes in temperature can bring comfort and relax the strained muscles.
  • Exercise: In some cases, muscle stiffness can lead to pain. When that happens, doctors may recommend certain exercises to stretch and fortify the ligaments.
  • Products that improve posture: A standing desk and an ergonomic office chair with lumbar support can help maintain good posture at work and reduce the pain in the lower back, above the buttocks, when sitting.

Ways to Alleviate Back Pain from Sitting or Bending

Importance of Ergonomic Seating and Workstation Setup

If your lower back pain hurts when sitting, setting up an ergonomic workstation is one of the best ways to prevent or reduce discomfort in the affected area. Here's why:

  • An ergonomic mesh office chair can ensure proper spinal alignment. The lumbar support in such seating solutions adjusts to a person's spine, providing the support it needs. This reduces the stress on the back muscles and can reduce or prevent pain.
  • Modern seating solutions have many adjustable features that let you find the perfect position. This improves blood circulation and reduces the likelihood of developing stiffness or numbness in the lower back area. You can check out our ergonomic chair for back pain guide for the top seven options.
  • An ergonomic workstation helps you alternate between sitting and standing positions, allowing you to move away from a sedentary lifestyle and reduce the risk of developing musculoskeletal disorders. If you sit for extended periods of time at work, make sure to read our best chair for sitting all day guide to help you find a seating solution that's right for you.

Importance of Ergonomic Seating and Workstation Setup

Ergonomic Furniture and Accessories to Prevent Lower Back Pain in the Office

Are you experiencing pain in your lower back when sitting? Here are some furniture and accessories that you can explore to reduce discomfort while at work:

Ergonomic Chair

Traditional seating solutions do not conform to the natural curvature of your spine. The uneven pressure can lead to back pain and other medical problems.

An ergonomic chair helps with even weight distribution, which can alleviate some of the pressure from your backbone. This reduces discomfort and promotes a better posture.

If you want to buy an ergonomic chair, consider factors such as price, adjustable features, and material quality.

Ergonomic Chair

Standing Desk

Many professionals sit all day at their desks. This not only leads to back pain but also other medical problems associated with an inactive lifestyle.

To stay active in the workplace, you can invest in a standing desk. It allows you to alternate between sitting and standing throughout the day, ensuring better blood circulation and optimal posture.

Standing Desk

Footrest

Most people fail to understand the benefits of footrests in the workplace, which is why they are not commonly found in offices. However, this piece of furniture is great at improving posture, reducing pressure on the lower back, encouraging movement, and promoting better blood circulation.

Active Seat

Transform your traditional meetings into stand-up sessions with an active seat. This ergonomic seating solution keeps your body moving, promoting the same natural shifts in posture that occur when standing or walking. It reduces stress on your lower back and strengthens core muscles.

Seat Cushions

You can further improve comfort while sitting by investing in a durable, high-quality seat cushion. It's great for even weight distribution, which can alleviate discomfort in your back.

Remember to read our best seat cushion for lower back pain guide to help you find the perfect solution for enhancing your comfort.

Lumbar Support Pillow

If you already have an ergonomic chair at work, consider investing in a lumbar pillow. It fits between your lower back and the seating solution, supporting your spine to maintain the optimal sitting position.

Lumbar Support Pillow

Other Products to Reduce Pain in Your Lower Back When Sitting

Here is the list of ergonomic furniture and accessories that you can explore to help reduce the stiffness and discomfort in your spine:

  • Yoga ball
  • Kneeling chair
  • Posture correctors
  • Back support belts
  • Adjustable monitor stands

Best Sitting Positions for Lower Back Pain

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Americans, on average, spend between 6.5 and 8 hours every day sitting down.

By maintaining a proper posture while working, you can reduce the risk of developing lower back pain. Here's what you should do:

  • Refrain from slouching. Go through our best chairs for a good posture guide to find ergonomic options that support your spine and promote proper alignment while sitting.
  • Always sit up straight with your feet on the ground and back against the chair. This ensures even weight distribution, reducing discomfort during long working hours.
  • Ensure that your knees are higher than your hips. You can achieve that by investing in a lumbar support chair for the office.
  • Alternate between sitting and standing positions throughout the day, as it keeps your muscles moving.

Best Sitting Positions for Lower Back Pain

Final Thoughts on Lower Back Pain When Sitting

If your lower back pain hurts when sitting, you're not alone. Many of us fail to ensure a proper seated position during work, and others may suffer from occupational-related injuries.

By focusing on yourself and investing in ergonomic products, you can alleviate the discomfort and ensure a better quality of life.

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