Posture and Low Back Pain

Do you ever feel like your lower back tighten up while you are sitting or standing for any length of time?

This is unfortunately too common and as it turns out quite costly.  According to the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation between 1996-2016 treatments for lower back and neck pain cost nearly $77 billion by private insurance, $45 billion by public insurance, and $12 billion out of pocket by patients themselves in the U.S.

Those numbers likely don't include over-the-counter medications and some non-medical treatments for pain.

While injury, surgery, and other physical trauma can be sources of back discomfort there are many lifestyle or habit-driven activities that over time can be the main driver of back pain, tightness, and discomfort.

Let's start with an easy not-so-easy....posture.

  1. Easy, because for many of us, it is something we can readily fix.  Not so easy because
  2. You have to wade through the plethora of conflicting information.
  3. The information may not be wrong and at the same time, not right for you.
  4. Finally, you have to be consistent if you want to experience lasting relief.

Let's start with sitting posture and low back discomfort.

Do you find yourself sitting and your back tightens up, you adjust yourself, get some relief, and shortly thereafter you have to adjust again?  Does it seem like you just can't ever be comfortable for any period of time?

While sitting for too long is never ideal, how you sit, is important for comfort and frankly for the health of your spine and hips.  Look at the two sets of photos below, what do you notice about the two photos labeled 'this'?


In the 'This' photos both models are sitting up on what we call their SITS bones.  These are the bones at the bottom of your glute area.  Both models in the 'Not That' photos have their SITS bones tucked way underneath them and are sitting more on their tailbones.  

When you sit up on your SITS bones, you are sitting on the broadest part of your pelvis best for weight bearing and at the same time supporting the natural curves of your spine like the gentle lordosis or curve of the lower back or lumbar area of your spine.  

When the SITS bones are tucked under you, you put excess pressure on small areas like the tailbone and sacrum while putting the lumbar spine in a reverse curve which then leads to pressure on the discs between your vertebrae.  Hopefully, you can start to see what can start to cause tightness and pain over time when sitting like this.

We have more tips coming up this month about how you can make easy modifications along with doing some simple exercises to help with back discomfort.

If you are searching for individual strategies for you, reach out.  We can work together to create the best plan for you.





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