If you suffer from lower back pain, the most common type of back pain, you know that sitting in a chair for a long period of time can make it worse. Why is lower back pain so common? And when sitting is unavoidable, especially at work, what can you do?

Why is Lower Back Pain so Common?

Picture your spine. It is a column, and the lower back carries the load of it. The lower back goes through more stress than other parts of the spine. Sitting for a long period of time can really worsen lower back pain.

Everyday stressors can take a toll on the lower back. Some of the main causes of lower back pain include:

  • Aging – Unfortunately, this happens to all of us. As we age, our backs have gone through lots of wear and tear. And discs, which cushion the bones (vertebrae) in the spine, begin to dry out. This means they are doing less cushioning, and bones can rub against each other.
  • Being overweight – Obesity has a proven link to back pain. More weight can put more pressure on the spine.
  • Heredity – Some lower back pain and conditions can be hereditary.
  • Overuse – Repeated physical labor, as in certain professions, involving bending, twisting, and lifting can exacerbate lower back pain.

Some other causes of lower back pain include conditions such as arthritis, a herniated disc,spinal stenosis and even nonspecific back pain. There are many conditions and factors that affect lower back pain, and sitting is certainly high on the list.


Sitting for too long, as we know and as is reported in the media, is bad for your back. Researchers have found that sitting for too long can also increase the risk for high blood pressure, high cholesterol, cardiovascular disease and excess body fat around the waist.

For many people, though, sitting is unavoidable. So what can you do to prevent lower back pain while sitting?

  • Walk around – walk as much as you can, and get up often so you break up your sitting session.
  • Try a standing desk – many offices are coming around to standing desks. Working at a standing desk is good for your health, and keeps your spine aligned.
  • Support your lower back – Roll up a towel and place it behind your lower back.
  • Practice good posture – Practice good posture while you are sitting. Do not hunch forward, and pull your shoulders slightly back.
  • Get a new chair – There are all kinds of ergonomic chairs now that claim to help with back pain. Sitting on a balance ball desk chair can help. And new inventions such as the ChairBot and Back App could be worth a try.

If lower back pain is affecting your daily life, contact us. Or call our dedicated Medical Concierge at 800-890-1964.