Prolonged Sitting and Back Pain

You probably already know that sitting for long periods of time is not good for you, but you may not realize all the problems it can cause, including chronic back pain. When you sit for long periods of time, you tend to slouch, which puts stress on posterior passive tissues like the posterior ligaments. These are connective tissues in the spine. Sitting for long periods in a slumped position also causes the sacrum to be tucked (counternutated) and creates lumbar flexion.

Finally, slumping also increases posterior annulus strain, which damages the annulus of the disk and increases intradiscal pressure.

Prolonged Sitting and Back Pain

You might find relief from taking a brief walk, stretching, or getting a short massage. But over time, sitting for long periods with poor posture can cause damage to your spine, put pressure on your muscles, and cause your spine to become misaligned, which can contribute to a host of other problems.

Seeing a chiropractor near Mesa can provide some back pain relief and get your spine back where it should be. Here are some other things you can do to make sure that you are in the proper position if you have to be sitting for long periods:

Arm Position

You should sit as close as possible to your desk that you don’t have to extend your arms to reach your computer or your writing instruments. Your upper arms should be parallel to your spine, and your elbows should be at a 90-degree angle to your body. If your arms are not in this position, it means you need to be closer to the work surface.

Sit in a chair that has an armrest, and adjust the armrest so that it lifts your arms just slightly. Doing so will lift your shoulders a bit, which will take some of the tension off your neck and shoulders.

Leg Position

Your feet should rest on the floor. When your feet are in position, your fingers should easily slide under your thigh at the front of your chair. If they cannot, you need to lift your feet slightly with a foot rest or block. If you have space for more than a finger under your thighs, you need to raise your chair and your work surface.

When your feet are in position, you should also be able to push your buttocks against the back of the chair and lean over to pass your clenched fist between the front of the chair and the back of your calves. If you can’t do this, the chair is too deep – the seat is too large. You will need to place a cushion or other lumbar support at the small of the back to move your body forward.

Back Support

When you get tired, you start to slump in your chair, which pushes your lower back out and puts strain on your spine and the connective tissues. With proper lower-back support, you can prevent this. A small cushion at the lower back will force your back to arch slightly and prevent it from slumping outward.

Computer Height

Prolonged sitting and back pain

Your computer monitor should always be at eye level. To test this, sit at your desk and close your eyes. Open them. Your gaze should be right in the middle of your monitor. If it’s not, you need to adjust the height of your work station.

If you wear bifocals, you will need to adjust your workstation so that you don’t have to tilt your head back to read what’s on the computer.

In addition to setting up your desk to support the appropriate posture and relieve tension on your back, you can also guard against the dangers of prolonged sitting by taking frequent breaks. Get up and walk around for a minute or two at least every hour.

At BodyWorkz in Arizona, we offer Mesa chiropractic care for back pain relief. On your first visit with a back pain chiropractor, you will receive a complete exam to determine the source of your pain and what might be causing it. Your chiropractor will perform a series of adjustments to align your spine and relieve tension on your discs, tissues, and muscles, and may recommend lifestyle changes or exercises that can help, as well. BodyWorkz is more than just a chiropractic clinic. We offer other services that can provide pain relief, including massage therapy and acupuncture. Call us in Arizona to visit a back pain chiropractor or to learn more about our other services.


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6610 E Baseline Rd #103
Mesa, AZ 85206

Office: 480-245-4995