Do you suffer from lower back pain?
Lower Back pain is incredibly common. In fact, it has been identified as the leading cause of ongoing disability and poor health in Australia. The World Health Organisation (WHO) attributes this increased prevalence to people sitting for long periods at work, exercising less and having increased body weight. Put simply, the less active we are, the more likely we are to experience back pain.
At City Baths Spinal & Sports Medicine, we see people with back pain every day. They are quick to identify sitting as a part of the problem and often blame “bad posture” rather than the amount of time they spend sitting.
Back pain can be complicated and multifactorial, but when it results from sitting it is commonly due to increased sensitivity of tissues in the back. These include discs, ligaments, joints, and muscles. Different postures can result in the sensitisation of different tissues, but the outcome is still the same – pain. If you pull your finger backward for hours, it will hurt. Our backs are the same!
A slouched posture increases the pressure within the discs in your lower back and it can stretch spinal ligaments, both of which are potential sources of pain. Alternatively, sitting upright can fatigue muscles and irritate spinal joints.
So if you sit for long enough, any posture can cause back pain. The key to avoiding pain is sitting in a relaxed posture, where you avoid end-range positions, and sitting less. Try to get up and move around regularly at work. If that isn’t always an option then do some stretches in your chair. Bending forwards, arching backward, rotating to each side – they’re all good options! Outside of work, try and prioritise regular exercise.
If you work in Melbourne’s CBD and would like some guidance on appropriate sitting positions, or you’re getting pain sitting at work, see one of our physiotherapy team.
They can provide evidence-based treatment and may recommend our Clinical Pilates programs to assist you in preventing and addressing postural issues.