Why Your Low Back Hurts When Sitting

Why Your Low Back Hurts When Sitting

People who come to me for consultations for low back pain typically get this ailment while sitting. If this is you, consider your seat as the primary source of the dilemma. However, there are other factors to consider, such as why that occurs. Let me show you clear steps on preventing low back pain while sitting and precisely what you need to do now if you suffer from low back pain while sitting.

As a general rule, poor posture and prolonged sitting is the leading cause of low back pain when sitting. You should never slouch. Always be mindful of your posture while working. The lower pain in your back could be a lumbar strain or muscle strain. There may be underlying medical conditions that aggravate this.

I will share the same advice with you that I give my patients. If you follow my simple recommendations, chances are you’ll feel better and avoid low back pain while sitting in the future.

Choosing an Office Chair for Low Back Pain

Apart from taking breaks regularly to stretch your muscles and reset your posture, always choose a comfortable and easily adjustable chair. However, the key to adjusting your chair for comfort is getting the height right, ensuring that the armrests are level with your desk and most of all, you get so that your seat pan right in terms of size and appropriate seat angle.

elements a chair must have

6 Elements Your Chair Must Have:

  1. Seat height. You should adjust the seat elevation so that your feet are comfortably flat on the floor.
  2. Lumbar support. Your lumbar support should fit comfortably.
  3. Armrests. Remember to keep your elbows at your side while using your home office chair.
  4. Seat Tilt. Always make sure that your hips are above your knees. As you sit this way, you transfer your weight away from your backbone and back to your core muscles. If your chair doesn’t have a forward tilt adjustment, no problem at all – get a seat wedge cushion. My patients find the most noticeable reduction in back pain when they adjust their seat tilt and seat depth on their office chairs!
  5. Seat depth and width. This seat should be large enough to support you comfortably.2 The distance between the front and rear of the seat should allow you to sit with your spine against the back of the chair while leaving two to three fingers between the seat and the back of your knees. 

How to Prevent Lower Back Pain When Sitting

backrest tilt

Preventing lower back pain while sitting is easier than you might think. Pay attention to your posture and ensure that you are sitting straight with your feet flat on the floor using the backrest to support you. A simple lumbar support can be invaluable in preventing lower back pain as it keeps the natural curvature of your spine.

Why Sitting Causes Back Pain

sitting makes sciatica worse

Sitting on its own doesn’t cause back pain; sitting incorrectly for prolonged periods causes back pain for most people. Poor posture, along with little to no breaks, is generally the leading cause of back pain. Poor posture puts your body in an unnatural position which puts pressure on muscles and joints, which in turn causes inflammation and pain in the strained areas.

Is It Better to Sit or Stand With Lower Back Pain?

woman standing desk

Both standing and sitting incorrectly can put pressure on your lower back. In general, if you stand straight, keeping your posture correct, standing can reduce the stress on your lower back compared to sitting. Opting for a standing desk instead of a traditional sitting desk can be an excellent alternative to alleviate lower back pain. Added benefits to a standing desk include increased productivity and a higher calorie burn than a sitting desk.

More and more people are opting for standing desks as a symptom of their back pain. In my experience, you cannot substitute sitting withstanding. Chairs are not going away, and they are here to stay, and trends come and go. 

A good point about standing desks is that end-users tend to be more productive. This increase in productivity is possibly due to better circulation. However, just like sitting, you may become complacent or sedentary standing as well. I have found this is evident in the rise of neck and shoulder issues with people who routinely use standing desks.

So here is my recommendation for standing desks: Try to incorporate a combination of sitting, standing, and moving. Movement is the key here. You need to move every twenty minutes or so. The mere act of just standing up and sitting back down every twenty minutes inhibits complacent patterns to develop. So, keep moving!

How to Stop My Lower Back From Hurting When I Sit?

man sciatica sitting office chair

If you want to stop your lower back from hurting when sitting, it is essential to pay close attention to your posture. Sit straight with your feet flat on the floor; many chairs come with built-in lumbar support, which supports the natural curvature of your spine. If your chair does not have lumbar support, you can find many lumbar support products or use a rolled-up towel position at your lower back to give this support.

Why My Lower Back Pain Worse When Sitting

woman sitting low back pain

Lower back pain is worse when sitting due to the additional pressure on the muscles and joints caused by poor posture. An excellent option to consider when looking at low back pain is a standing desk which offers benefits to correct the problem or a more suitable chair with lumbar support to correct your posture while you are sitting.

What It Means When Your Lower Back Hurts When You Sit

woman sitting office chair tailbone pain

Lower back pain occurs most commonly when pressure is exerted on the muscles and joints, causing inflammation which in turn causes pain and discomfort. In most cases, it means that your posture while sitting is inadequate and needs to be corrected to alleviate the pain. There are other causes of lower back pain that a chiropractor would help with and provide suitable corrective actions.

Final Thoughts

I’ve worked with countless people, all of whom spend large amounts of time sitting to avoid potential dangers of low back pain issues from sitting with this advice that I imparted with you today. By implementing these simple changes to your sitting environment, you should enjoy long-lasting beneficial effects. 

Numerous other factors may cause lower back problems, as well. The primary reason is that when we work at a desk, we often conform to the workstation rather than making it fit you. If you lean forward to see the screen better; reach for the mouse or keyboard, cross your legs; have the wrong seat pan; sit on a stiff seat; your seat is too low; you do not have forward tilt control. All of these factors put your physical health at risk. 

It is therefore essential to find the best seat for you. What you should remember is that unconscious and complacent movements will eventually make you break down. If you stay active and conscious throughout your day, your low back pain may go away. 


Sitting Posture of Subjects With Postural Backache, Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics, Volume 29, Issue 3, 2006, Pages 213-218,

Roffey, D.M., Wai, E.K., Bishop, P., Kwon, B.K. and Dagenais, S., 2010. Causal assessment of occupational sitting and low back pain: results of a systematic review. The Spine Journal, 10(3), pp.252-261.

Hartvigsen, Jan, Charlotte Leboeuf-Yde, Svend Lings, and Elisabeth H. Corder. “Is sitting-while-at-work associated with low back pain? A systematic, critical literature review.” Scandinavian journal of public health 28, no. 3 (2000): 230-239.

Williams, M.M., Hawley, J.A., McKENZIE, R.A. and van WIJMEN, P.M., 1991. A comparison of the effects of two sitting postures on back and referred pain. Spine, 16(10), pp.1185-1191.

**As a service to our readers, Axial Chairs provides access to our library of archived content. Please note the date of the last review or update on all articles. No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinicians.

Medical Disclaimer: This website is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of a qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

Product Disclaimer: The seat cushion is designed by a chiropractor, but results may vary and are not guaranteed. The product is not intended to diagnose, treat, or cure any medical condition.


   This post has been quality checked in line with our Editorial and Research Policy.

Dr Lawrence Woods DC

Dr Lawrence Woods DC


My goal is to create the highest quality ergonomic office chairs and accessories for unmatched comfort.

With 30 years of spinal healthcare experience in Ireland as a chiropractor, I learned the value of high-quality sitting for living a happy and healthy life.

I have a Chiropractic Degree from Life Chiropractic College West and I am NBCE Physiotherapy certified.


Dr Lawrence Woods

My goal is to create the highest quality ergonomic office chairs and accessories for unmatched comfort. With 30 years of spinal healthcare experience as a chiropractor, I learned the value of high-quality sleep for living a happy and healthy life. I have a Chiropractic Degree from Life Chiropractic College West and am NBCE Physiotherapy certified.

You May Also Like

Share This