Why Is My Back So Uncomfortable When I’m Sitting Down?

Category: Back Pain | Author: Stefano Sinicropi | Date: July 11, 2022

Young woman suffering from back pain in office

Sitting is supposed to be a relaxing position for our body compared to standing or walking, but for many people, sitting is anything but a relaxing experience. If you’re experiencing back or neck pain when you’re sitting down, you owe it to yourself to get to the bottom of your discomfort and begin a treatment regimen so that sitting down is no longer uncomfortable. In today’s blog, we take a closer look at why the seated position can be hard on your spine, and how you can make sitting down a more comfortable experience.

Why Sitting Down Is Painful

Sitting can be an uncomfortable experience due to a number of different underlying conditions, and these conditions tend to be worsened as a result of the extra stress that is put on your lumbar spine when it is in a seated position. Even if you have ideal posture, the stress of your body weight is being handled by your lumbar spine when you’re seated, and that only intensifies if you are sitting on a hard surface or you have poor posture.

But what types of conditions can be worsened as a result of your positioning when seated? Some of the most common conditions that can lead to pain and related symptoms when seated include:

  • Sciatica – Your sciatic nerve is the longest nerve in the body, and we’ve talked about how it can lead to back pain on the blog in the past, but it’s more likely to be compressed when you’re in a seated position. If you have inflammation or shifted spinal discs that compress your sciatic nerve, sitting can be quite uncomfortable.
  • Bulging Or Herniated Disc – Speaking of shifted spinal discs, the intervertebral discs that help to provide cushioning for our vertebral segments can sometimes wear down and shift out of place. When they bulge or herniate, they can irritate nearby nerves. Because sitting puts excess pressure on your lumbar spine, it’s not uncommon for discs in your lumbar spine to compress nearby nerves when you’re in a seated position if you’ve experienced some disc degeneration.
  • Spinal Stenosis – Bones in your spine form a passage through which nerves traverse in order to reach areas like your arms and legs, but if this tunnel shrinks for any reason, nerves can be compressed. This is known as the foraminal space, and sitting can sometimes shrink the passage. If you are already dealing with inflammation, bone spurs or disc issues that impede on this space and you add sitting to the equation, you may notice some uncomfortable symptoms.
  • Spinal Instability – Finally, your core muscles play an important role in supporting your spinal structures, and if your muscles can’t adequately support your spine, sitting can become uncomfortable. Working to improve your core strength can help to stabilize your spine and better prepare it to handle the stress you throw at it when you’re moving or sitting.

If sitting has become an uncomfortable experience, it’s important to reach out to Dr. Sinicopi and the team at the Midwest Spine & Brain Institute. He’ll talk with you about your symptoms and use a physical examination or imaging tests to figure out exactly what’s going on in your spine. From there, he can set you up with an individualized treatment plan to help strengthen your spine or target the underlying disc or nerve issue.

In many cases, pain relief can be found without the need for surgery through a combination of techniques like anti-inflammatory medications, physical therapy, gentle stretching and posture improvements, but Dr. Sinicropi is also well-versed in a multitude of minimally invasive procedures that can help you find relief as well. He won’t stop until he finds a solution for you.

For more information, or to get back to sitting without pain, reach out to Dr. Sinicropi’s office today at (651) 430-3800.

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