Stomach Hurts When Sitting | Doctor Explains Abdominal Pain

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Why Your Stomach Hurts When Sitting

Many people have been affected by stomach pain at some point. If your pain is exacerbated by sitting, you may deal with something more serious. A hurt stomach can make life hard, and sometimes it’s impossible to figure out why!

The stomach is one of the most critical parts of your body. It’s where all that delicious food goes to be digested. But sometimes, people experience pain when they sit. This might mean a problem with your digestive system, like some kind of ulcer infection or colitis.

If this sounds familiar, I recommend seeing someone who deals specifically with stomach problems: an internist, gastroenterologist, or general practitioner/family doctor…you get my point! They can tell if something else is wrong besides a simple tummy ache and help you.

As a general rule, stomach pain while sitting is caused by gas that tends to return to the esophagus and escape through the mouth during belching. The air tends to travel down when lying flat, causing gas in the stomach. It is always a good idea to get a proper medical diagnosis.

The purpose of this article is to provide you with detailed explanations of why your stomach may hurt when you are sitting. The simple recommendations I give in this blog will help you to avoid stomach pains while seated and help you to feel better. Again, it is always a good idea to get a proper evaluation from your health expert. Hopefully, you may find that my experience as an ergonomic advisor and chiropractor helps with stomach pain. Here are some tips for sitting that are supported by research.

stomach pain diagram

I will break down any possible reasons for stomach pain while sitting into two categories, mechanical or medical reasons. I will provide some valuable tips if your pain is produced by a mechanical problem, such as poor posture. Later in this article, I will go through possible medical issues that may be causing your stomach pain. Again, I strongly urge you to consider getting a proper medical diagnosis if you want to rule out any severe condition. This article is not a substitute for a proper medical diagnosis.  

As a rule of thumb, if you’re feeling stomach pain every time you sit down, it’s probably gas. Gas can build up inside the intestines, and sitting puts more pressure on it, so if it gets trapped, it can become painful. It is impossible to tell without an accurate medical history and exam.

Stomach Pain When Sitting: Mechanical Issues

Your body is amazing! Your nervous system controls every part, including your stomach and intestines. It branches out from the lower down of your spine. It travels to all these parts to work how they’re supposed to – like digestion, movement of food through the GI tract (digestive tract), absorption of nutrients/minerals, etc., removing waste products via the intestines, et cetera.

man with stomach pain from mechanical causes

When the vertebrae in your spine are not lined up, they can press against nerves, making it difficult for them to do their job. This leads to abdominal pain, heartburn, or constipation – symptoms of a malfunctioning organ! When you’re feeling tense from sitting at work all day, that muscle tension might affect how well your digestive system gets along with everything else.

2 Simple Ways to Correct Mechanical Abdomen Issues

Chiropractic or Osteopathic Care

A competent Chiropractor or Osteopath may help by reducing pressure on your nerves, joints, and muscles to restore the normal function of your digestive system. Two techniques may be employed to improve spinal column alignment: manipulation with rapid thrusts realigning vertebrae, and mobilization, a slower, more gentle technique. Your treatment plan might include massage therapy and other therapeutic approaches such as non-surgical spinal decompression.

Getting Your Sitting Position Correct

Is there anything worse than abdominal pain? Perhaps the way you are sitting isn’t good for your health. If we don’t do it properly, we will only make things worse and won’t fix the problem if we do it wrong!

For the most comfortable sitting position, you should sit back as far as your seat so that your bottom and back can be supported well. The feet need to stay planted on the floor. Keep in mind to put more height into the chair if possible too! Do not cross legs or flex them under either because it causes tension in muscles used for standing up from a seated position again later when someone may want to leave quickly (or they might get stiff).

If you are into super easy and inexpensive alternatives to office chairs, I wrote a fantastic article on how and why you should consider these options for back pain and I encourage you to read it!

Poor posture can slow your digestion! I have learned how to help with stomach pain when sitting from my experience as a chiropractor and ergonomic adviser. It offers some research-based tips for sitting that can help alleviate discomfort while seated. Here are my recommendations:

Sit With the Correct Angles

The first thing you should do when sitting is to ensure your hips are at a higher angle than your knees. A lack of blood flow from blood pooling can lead to adverse health effects, such as increased abdominal pressure, lumbar spine, and lower extremities.

I was surprised how similar cheap memory foam seat cushions were on Aliexpress from the listing on Amazon!

If we decide where or how to sit for work, the most crucial consideration is the type of chair underneath us: an office chair or an ergonomic seat cushion. It’s also important that the seat support fits your body, along with its height, relative to the hip-to-knee ratio, because if not, your stomach and spine will bear the brunt of the pressure!

man sitting with posture cushion

With stomach pain, while seated, it may be worth considering reclining your chairs as far down as 110 degrees so they can reduce the pressure on your stomach and spinal discs. Sitting up straight increases your risk of getting even more serious problems like herniated discs or pinched nerves!

prssure on body from different sitting angle chart


When you’ve stomach pain while seated, keeping your spine nice and straight is essential. If your posture is slumped forward or stooped over, the spinal cord can get pinched! When this happens, there are significant consequences for all those nerves squeezed in between two spinal bones instead of getting roomy space like we want them to have so they won’t feel too crowded.

I’ve written a complete hands-on review about the best sitting position for sciatica, and here is what I tested best with my sciatica patients.

I found that a good angle for sitting is 110-135 degrees, but sitting in that position all day is not practical. Through my research, I have found that the optimal recline range of 8-13 degrees or 3-4 inches off your knees and hips feels comfortable.

Best Seat Cushion

seat cushion for better posture

As a chiropractor, I have seen firsthand the devastating effects of abdominal pain while sitting. Countless patients have come to me, desperate for relief. I have tried many ‘orthopedic’ or ‘ergonomic’ seat cushions, but I never found one perfect for my patients. I wanted something that would provide support and comfort but also be able to help with spinal alignment.

After doing some research, I decided to design my seat cushion and test it out on people who were looking for comfort and support. After many attempts using various materials and designs, I ultimately created an ergonomic seat cushion that people liked, and now I’m sharing it with the world! My seat cushion is made with natural latex foam, which contours your body and provides support where you need it most. seat cushion

In my design process, I found that natural latex is more supportive than memory foam or polyurethane foams, and it has a higher density that helps to keep the spine in alignment. I also wanted the cushion to have a 4-way stretch vegan leather to be comfortable and durable. After months of testing different prototypes, I finally designed a seat cushion (in the two pictures above) that met all of my criteria. The cushion has helped many of my patients find relief from stomach pain, and I am confident that it can help you too.

I explain the concept of my design on a TV show HERE

Stomach Pain from Medical Issues

According to a recent study by the Department of Health and Human Services, abdominal pain is the single leading cause of emergency room visits in the United States. Although stomach pain is often referred to as abdominal pain, certain other factors can also cause it. Your abdominal area also houses other vital organs such as the intestines, pancreas, liver, gallbladder, kidneys, spleen, and appendix, so you should know what could be causing that ache before going through all those tests!

stomach pain from medical conditions


Are you suffering from dull, achy pain you cannot seem to get rid of? Does the pain come and go, or is it sharp, stabbing? The doctor can learn a lot from this.

The affected area (Upper abdominal pain & left abdominal pain): 

Determining the exact location can be tricky, but you may want to concentrate on the upper abdomen, lower abdomen, or right or left side. There are many organs in the abdomen.

Other symptoms of chronic abdominal pain: 

In addition to abdominal pain, do you encounter nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, heartburn, or nausea? All of these circumstances will be analyzed by your doctor when making a diagnosis.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Stomach pain is a common symptom of people with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). And for many people with IBS, sitting can make that pain worse. That’s because sitting puts pressure on the intestines and can trigger spasms in the digestive system’s muscles. The pain of IBS can range from mild to severe, and it can be incredibly disruptive to daily life. For some people, even a short car ride can be painful. That’s why it’s essential to talk to your doctor about ways to manage IBS symptoms. There are many treatments available that can help minimize pain and other symptoms. You can still enjoy your life despite having IBS with the right treatment plan.

Severe Abdominal Pain, When to worry:

Go to the emergency room if you have:

  • Pain in the abdomen that is constant or severe
  • Fever-related pain
  • Any time the intensity of the pain shifts, such as from a dull ache to a sharp pain or originating in one area and going elsewhere
  • In addition to pain, there can also be other serious or unexpected symptoms such as respiratory problems or mental changes.
  • Localized pain
  • It could indicate appendicitis to find pain in the right lower quadrant.
  • A cholecystitis or gallbladder infection may be seen in the upper right quadrant.
  • Diverticulitis or other infections could cause pain in the left lower quadrant. 
  • Diarrhea. If you have diarrhea (especially vomiting), you probably have a viral or bacterial infection. 
  • Norovirus. Noroviruses are one of the leading causes of gastroenteritis.  By the way, diarrhea is an underestimated symptom of Coronavirus!
  • Kidney stone. Take it from my experience; a kidney stone is the worst pain you may ever experience! Typically comes with stomach pain, nausea, and vomiting.


Don’t be too embarrassed to ask for help! The list of possible reasons why you’re stomach hurts is extensive. In other words, the possibilities are endless–and we must rule out a serious illness or condition when your pain persists and gets intense. 

Many people have been affected by stomach pain at some point. If your pain is exacerbated by sitting, you may deal with something more serious. A hurt stomach can make life hard, and sometimes it’s impossible to figure out why! 

To find the most beneficial guidance on ergonomic information, visit my blog for helpful posts like this one and other health-related topics that will help keep your body healthy.



  1. Can J Gastroenterol. 2011 Jan; 25(1): 39–40. doi: 10.1155/2011/910469, Chiropractic treatment for gastrointestinal problems: A systematic review of clinical trials
  2. Schiller, L.R., 2000. Diarrhea. Medical Clinics of North America84(5), pp.1259-1274.
  3. Wilcox, C.M., Yadav, D., Ye, T., Gardner, T.B., Gelrud, A., Sandhu, B.S., Lewis, M.D., Al-Kaade, S., Cote, G.A., Forsmark, C.E. and Guda, N.M., 2015. Chronic pancreatitis pain pattern and severity are independent of abdominal imaging findings. Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology13(3), pp.552-560.
  4. Adekoya, N., 2010. Reasons for visits to emergency departments for Medicaid and State Children’s Health Insurance Program patients: United States, 2004. North Carolina medical journal71(2), pp.123-130.
  5. Macaluso, C.R. and McNamara, R.M., 2012. Evaluation and management of acute abdominal pain in the emergency department. International journal of general medicine5, p.789.
  6. Elwood, D.R., 2008. Cholecystitis. Surgical Clinics of North America88(6), pp.1241-1252.
  7. Humes, D.J. and Simpson, J., 2006. Acute appendicitis. Bmj333(7567), pp.530-534.
  8. Klopfenstein, T., Royer, P.Y., Toko, L., Gendrin, V. and Zayet, S., 2020. Diarrhea: An underestimated symptom in Coronavirus disease 2019.
  9. Boyden, E.A. and Rigler, L.G., 1934. Localized Pain Accompanying Faradic Excitation of the Stomach and Duodenum. Proceedings of the Society for Experimental Biology and Medicine31(6), pp.655-656.
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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.

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.

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