Suppose you are like me, whose job requires you to sit for long hours on the chair. Then you might have experienced strain or pain in your back, for the most part on your lower back.
If yes, then like me, you may have searched for the exercise for back pain due to sitting long hours.
With my search and experimentation, I have found how to reduce or relieve the pain most of the time, which I will share with you.
So please keep reading.
There are many factors which cause back pain like
- Spine related problems
- Herniated or slipped discs
- Degenerative disc disease
- Accidents and Injuries
- Sprains and strains
- Does sitting all day make your back hurt?
- How should I sit to relieve back pain?
- Best exercises for back pain
- Back support for the office chair
- Conclusion of Exercise for back pain due to sitting long hours
- Frequently Asked Questions
Before looking into the solution, we need to understand
Does sitting all day make your back hurt?
According to an article published on ScienceDirect, You can suffer from back pain due to sitting for long hours because of the low activation of lumbar muscles.
Due to which the lumbar spine may incline into de-conditioning.
For people who are already suffering from back pain (like me), Sitting all day long in the wrong posture can make things worse.
And for others sitting in the right posture can suffer from lower back pain from sitting too much.
But sitting all day long or living a sedentary lifestyle is even worse for anybody.
“Sitting is worse than smoking, Sitting is a disease, Sitting kills.” said Dr. Gerard Malanga in his Article.
Further, he explains that “spending too much of your day in seated position can leave your spine sore, stiff and in pain.”
The reason he gave behind this is too much sitting puts pressure on the muscles of the back.
The longer you stay seated, the more likely you let your posture slide, which can cause spinal ligaments to stretch beyond their healthy limits.
While we are walking, our body weight is distributed. And all our body parts keep our body in the correct position.
While in sitting position. Since the body is not moving, we need fewer muscles.
And with the wrong posture, we put extra pressure on our lower back muscles.
If the posture is correct, this is fine, but the problem starts with prolonged sitting.
According to Uclahealth, “No matter how comfortable you are at your desk. prolonged static posture is not good for your back.”
Now the next obvious question is
How should I sit to relieve back pain?
As we have already discussed, we can have lower back pain from sitting too long, But we cannot avoid sitting, Because we sit for a living, isn’t it?
To reduce back pain due to sitting long hours, we need to keep our posture correct.
So what is the Good posture
The things you should keep in mind while looking for the best sitting posture at work.
- Ensure that your hips and knees are at about 90-degree angles.so that they remain in a neutral position. So adjust your chair as per your height to achieve the desired angle.
- Keep your feet flat on the ground. If you are tall, use a chair that little bit higher, and if you are short, use a footstool.
- Keep your back in a natural position, which means keeping your back straight. You can use a rolled towel to support your lumbar region. Or you can use a chair back cushion.
- Keep your elbows at 90 degrees while typing on the keyboard.
- Keep the laptop screen at eye level to not have to slump forward to look at the screen. You can do so by keeping books under your laptop to raise it to your eye level.
- Your ear should line up with the shoulders to keep your neck and shoulder in a neutral position.
UclaHealth has given the guidelines about how to sit. you can read the article here
Please watch the youtube video below by Bob & Brad to get more clarity.
And here is an excellent ted talk by Esther Gokhale.
One Final thought. There is no scientific evidence that any posture is perfect for prolonged sitting. We, by nature, change our stance when we get tired.
So it’s better to get up from your seat after every 30-45 minutes and walk.
You can also do some stretching exercises, which we will discuss next.
So now we are coming to our main topic.
Best exercises for back pain
While in the office, you can do a few simple stretches for back pain relief. which you can do while sitting or while standing.
Let’s discuss some of them.
1 Mountain Pose/Palm Tree Pose ( Tadasana)
It is a standing pose. This pose helps you get the body back to its natural alignment, Which gets disturbed due to sitting in the wrong posture or prolonged sitting.
This pose helps in Improving posture and strengthening of thighs, knees, and ankles.
Caution-: if you are suffering from low blood pressure, headache, and insomnia, avoid this pose
Let’s see the steps involved in this simple but very effective pose.
- Start with a standing position with your feet hip-width apart. With your weight divided on both feet.
- Raise your arms and interlock your fingers and turn the palms upwards.
- Focus on one point ahead of you and concentrate.
- While Breathing, raises your hands above your head.
- Bring your weight a little forward onto your toes and raise your heels off the ground.
- Tighten your elbows, keep your hand straight and look ahead.
- Breathe in when stretching upward. And breathe out while coming back to the starting position.
Watch the video below to get more clarity.
2 Standing Backbend Pose( Anuvittasana)
This pose is straightforward with significant benefits in dealing with back pain, and you can perform it anywhere.
This pose is beneficial to your shoulders and spine. It stretches your spine and helps in maintaining better body balance. It also boosts your respiratory system.
Caution-: If you have a head, neck, or back injury, avoid this pose. also, avoid this If you have vertigo or high blood pressure
Now let’s see the steps
- Stand with your spine erect and feet hip-width apart.
- Place your palms on your lower back with your finger facing downwards.
- Inhale and slowly arch back, holding your back as far as you can.
- Push your hips forward and feel the stretch in your lumbar area
- You can also bend your knees if you feel uncomfortable.
- Exhale and relax from the position.
Watch the video for a better understanding.
3 Basic Chair Pose (Utkataasana)
This posture is excellent to tone your thigh muscles and it strengthens your lower back muscles. It Stretches your Shoulder and chest also.
Caution-: avoid this pose if suffering from headaches, insomnia, and low blood pressure.
Let’s look at the steps
- Stand while keeping your feet slightly apart.
- Slowly push your hips back and bend your knees. Remember, your knees should not cross your toes.
- While holding this position, inhale and lift your hand and keep them close to your ears.
- You can also join your hands if you are not comfortable keeping it open.
- Try to stay in this position as per your comfort.
- Now Exhale, drop your hand down, and come back to the starting position.
Please watch the video to get more clarity.
4 Lateral Arc Pose ( Ardhakati Chakrasana)
This easy to perform pose is excellent for the spine. It also improves body balance and stretches your arm and shoulders. and regulates blood pressure
Caution-: Avoid this pose if you have a back, neck, or shoulder injury.
Now let’s understand the steps to perform this pose
- Stand with your feet hip-width apart and hand by the side of your thighs and finger pointing downwards.
- Raise one arm to the side perpendicular to the body and turn the palm over
- Raise the hand straight up so that is by the side of the ears.
- Now inhale and lean to the opposite side as much as you can. Do not bend your knees.
- Exhale and come back to the starting position.
- Now do it on the other side.
Watch the video below to understand the pose better.
5 The Tree Pose ( Vrikshasana)
Pardon me, but you need to remove your shoes if you are in the office to do this pose.
The reason behind including this pose in the list is that it is beneficial in strengthening your lower back, thighs, calf, ankle, and groin. But it also helps in improving body balance and your concentration.
Caution-: During headache and if suffering from insomnia, please avoid this pose.
This pose can feel difficult initially, but with a little bit of patience and practice, you will be able to do this.
Now let’s see the steps involved to practice this pose
- Stand in normal position with feet slightly apart.
- Shift the body weight on one leg ( Start with left leg; this will make it easy to lift the right leg)
- Lift the heels on your right foot and come on your toes. Now open the knee out.
- Now lift your heels, grab the ankle and place the heel against your left thigh close to the perineum.
- Now while maintaining your balance, join your hands in a namaste pose.
- Find a focus of attention and concentrate there. It will make it easier to balance.
- If you still find it challenging to balance. Open your arms perpendicular to the body and use them to maintain balance.
- Keep your hips aligned and pelvis is neutral.
- Now come back to standing position and repeat on the other side.
To understand it better, watch the video below.
These are some beneficial standing exercises which you can perform in your office. by taking short breaks.
They will not only help you in dealing with lower back pain from sitting too much. But also improve your concentration and body balance.
We have also covered some sitting lower back stretches and much more in one of our articles. It will help if you read it to get more benefits.
Aside from taking care of our back, we can also use back supports to relieve the back pain lets discuss them.
Back support for the office chair
The lower back part, also known as the lumbar region, has a natural curve inward. When we sit for a long duration, we tend to slouch, disturbing this curve’s natural position.
Lumbar support for an office chair can help maintain our natural posture by filling the gap between the lumbar region and the chair.
According to Spine-health, The different type of lumbar support for office chair are
These have a lumbar support curvature built in the chair. Since the support is not adjustable, you should first test it before buying.
Adjustable back seat chair
As the name suggests, these chairs have a seatback that you can adjust. Adjust the seatback to support the lower back curve.
Portable lumbar support for office chairs
These are Curved cushions or rolls, Which you can place on the chair to support the lumbar region. They are portable so you can use them on any chair.
Besides the above option, You can also use a rolled towel or lumbar support pillow for the office chair to support the lumbar region.
You can also use a sitting posture corrector or chair massage cushions to avoid back pain due to sitting long hours.
Different types of posture corrector available hold your back in an upright position And prevent you from slouching.
Please read this post to know about the Best massage cushions for back pain.
Conclusion of Exercise for back pain due to sitting long hours
In modern times we spent most of our time in seated positions. Either we are working in front of a PC or laptop, reading books, or watching our favorite show on TV.
Due to this habit, we may develop back pain due to sitting long hours.
We will suggest getting up from the chair after every 30-40 minutes. And do any of the exercises for lower back pain cited above.
We hope that you will try the simple exercises suggested in this post, along with the excellent posture suggestion.
Do write in the comment section on how your experience was. And which one you feel is the best exercise for back pain due to sitting long hours.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is bed rest good for back pain
If you are suffering from severe back pain or you feel more pain while sitting or standing. You can take bed rest to give yourself a break.
But laying on the bed for a longer duration is not advisable in back pain.
According to an article published in PMC, Bed rest in back pain is associated with the intensity of pain and disability.
Contrary to that, active exercises have shown better results in dealing with back pain.
How should I lay with lower back pain
The best position is to Lay on your side with your knees bent and pulled slightly towards your chest. Keep a pillow between your knees to maintain the alignment of your spine.
This position helps keep your hips, pelvis, and spine in better alignment and helps open up the joints in the range, helping relieve the lower back pressure.
Is walking good for lower back pain
Walking can be one of the most accessible forms of exercise that can help you relieve back pain.
Walking helps you in stretching the muscles of the lower back, legs, and buttocks. It also helps in increasing the blood circulation in the lumbar region and spine.
But some precautions are also required, like maintaining a good posture while walking and avoiding ill-fitted or inappropriate footwear, which can increase the pain