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Stomach Hurts When Sitting | Doctor Explains Abdominal Pain

Why Your Stomach Hurts When Seated

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.

Unveiling a Hidden Culprit

Prepare to be amazed as I uncover the hidden cause of your stomach pain when sitting. Discover how poor seated ergonomics affect your belly. I’ll reveal the secrets behind this connection. Improper posture and slouching compress your stomach, disrupting digestion. Reduced blood flow hampers food breakdown, causing discomfort. Prolonged sitting weakens abdomen muscles, worsening digestion. Fear not, I’ll provide tips to combat pain. Let’s unravel this enigma together. You’ll gain the knowledge to transform your seated experience and bid farewell to stomach pain. Your stomach will thank 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.

I will 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 a practitioner with over 30 years of practice, and training as an ergonomist and author on sitting, I’m well-equipped to provide valuable insights. My contributions to this field have been well-received, with TV appearances, my Youtube channel, and a successful Kickstarter campaign for my ergonomic seat cushions. If you’re searching for answers, I’m confident that I can offer meaningful guidance.

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.

Abdominal 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, cramps, abdominal discomfort, 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!

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

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 your 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’re struggling with back pain, I wrote an article on how to manage your pain and why you should do these important steps 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.

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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 lower abdominal pain and pressure!

Increased intra-abdominal pressure can exacerbate certain types of abdominal discomfort or pain, particularly those related to digestive disorders or certain types of hernias. Let’s break this down to understand why this could be:

Body posture and intra-abdominal pressure: When you sit at a 90-degree angle, your organs are compressed, increasing the pressure within your abdominal cavity (intra-abdominal pressure). This pressure can irritate certain conditions or exacerbate feelings of discomfort. In contrast, when you stand, your organs have more room and the pressure within your abdomen decreases.

Digestive conditions: If a person has a condition like gastritis, ulcers, or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), increased intra-abdominal pressure can push stomach contents and acid upwards into the esophagus, causing discomfort or pain. Similarly, conditions like diverticulitis, where pouches in the colon become inflamed, may also be aggravated by increased intra-abdominal pressure when sitting.

Hernias: Hernias, particularly inguinal and hiatal hernias, can be sensitive to changes in intra-abdominal pressure. Increased pressure may push the herniated tissue further out of place, resulting in increased pain or discomfort.

Sitting at a 110-degree angle, in contrast, can reduce intra-abdominal pressure. This posture more closely resembles a standing position in that the organs have more space and are less compressed. It can also improve digestion by reducing pressure on the stomach and encouraging the downward flow of food and stomach acid, which may reduce symptoms in people with GERD or other similar conditions.

Finally, adjusting your body position can also affect how you perceive pain. Certain positions can help distract from the pain or make it feel less intense, while others might make you focus more on the discomfort. Therefore, finding a comfortable sitting position, such as an ergonomic seat cushion to achieve a relative 110-degree angle, may help alleviate stomach pain.

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 and less abdominal pain stomach.

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posture before and after seat wedge

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.

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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

Abdominal Pain from Medical Issues

According to a recent study by the Department of Health and Human Services, abdominal pain and cramps 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, cramps, 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 or  stomach ache 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.

Stomach Discomfort When Seated but Not While Upright

I empathize with your situation, those abdominal pains seem to worsen when you’re seated, don’t they? It’s quite perplexing, but lend me your ear. In my medical practice, I’ve encountered this situation; it’s not as uncommon as one might assume. At times, the root cause of such a stomach ache could be traced back to our spine and core. Subpar spinal alignment and a weakened core can significantly contribute to this predicament.

When we are seated, our abdomen can experience increased cramps due to a non-standard distribution of pressure, something that doesn’t transpire when we are upright. These cramps could transmute into severe abdominal pain if we don’t maintain proper posture.

Discomfort in Upper Abdomen When Seated

You may be wondering, why does your upper abdominal pain seem to intensify when you sit? Based on my clinical experience, the act of sitting can often make any pre-existing tummy ache worse. It comes down to our bodily structure and its functions.

It’s imperative to comprehend the purpose of each expiry session you have with your healthcare provider, be it with a provider like Google expiry or YouTube expiry. These sessions function like your personal arsenal to tackle chronic abdominal pain.

Stomach Discomfort When Seated or Lying Down

If you find yourself dealing with abdominal discomfort when you’re seated or reclining, this could be a signal of inadequate core strength or imbalance. This might imply that your body is finding it difficult to support your spine in these positions, leading to discomfort in your abdomen.

In this case, your user video player could be a lifesaver. Try searching for an embedded YouTube video demonstrating basic core strengthening workouts. This could potentially revolutionize your approach to managing abdominal pain.

Abdominal Discomfort When Applying Pressure to the Midsection

Ah, the classic ‘press test’. If you experience pain when you exert pressure on your abdomen, this could signify a range of potential problems. One of them could be irritable bowel syndrome, which frequently displays symptoms of abdominal pain.

Make sure you have such issues medically reviewed. It’s essential to remember that this is about your health.

Lower Abdomen Sensitivity to Touch

Experiencing lower abdominal pain, particularly when sensitive to touch, can be alarming. It’s as if your body is sending you a signal for attention. This could be something as routine as irritable bowel syndrome or as serious as left abdominal pain, which might be a sign of a more severe condition.

Make sure you liaise with your healthcare provider and set up regular health check-ups. By doing so, you can stay ahead of any potential problems before they get worse.

Remember, a robust core and a correctly aligned spine can substantially aid in managing your abdominal pain. These are your primary defense mechanisms, so it’s crucial to focus on them. After all, our bodies deserve the utmost care possible.

Stomach Pain When Sitting but Not Standing








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Experiencing stomach pain when sitting but not standing can be linked to the abdomen’s positioning and how it affects internal organs. The abdomen houses numerous organs, and the alteration of pressure between sitting and standing positions might cause discomfort. Chronic abdominal pain that feels worse when sitting could signify a deeper issue such as an irritable bowel syndrome or other digestive conditions. If this type of lower abdominal pain persists, it’s crucial to seek medical advice.

If you’re struggling with back pain, I wrote an article on how to manage your pain and why you should do these important steps and I encourage you to read it!

Upper Stomach Hurts When Sitting Down

Upper abdominal pain when sitting down may be associated with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). When you sit, the angle of your abdomen might cause stomach acid to push upwards, leading to pain. The abdomen’s discomfort could worsen if you recently consumed food, as digestion puts additional pressure on the abdomen.

Why Does My Stomach Hurt When I Sit or Lay Down

This abdominal pain could be a symptom of gallstones or pancreatitis, particularly if the pain is located on the left side of your abdomen. Gallstones can cause severe abdominal pain that worsens when you change positions, while pancreatitis often results in pain that worsens after eating. Irritable bowel syndrome can also cause tummy ache when sitting or lying down.

My Stomach Hurts When I Press On It in the Middle

This could indicate an inflamed appendix, especially if the painful spot is in the lower right quadrant of your abdomen. However, stomach ache when applying pressure in the middle could also be a sign of an ulcer, gastritis, or irritable bowel syndrome. If the pain persists, it’s vital to get it medically reviewed to diagnose the cause and begin appropriate treatment.

Why Is My Lower Stomach Tender to Touch

Tenderness in the lower abdomen can be caused by numerous conditions, such as ovarian cysts in women or a urinary tract infection in both genders. Other conditions that may cause lower abdominal pain include diverticulitis, endometriosis, or chronic intestinal conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome or Crohn’s disease.

In conclusion, if you’re experiencing consistent abdominal pain, it’s essential to seek medical attention. There could be a variety of causes, from temporary discomfort to serious conditions. It is always better to get a professional evaluation to identify the cause and start the right treatment.


Don’t be too embarrassed to ask for help! The list of possible reasons why you’re stomach ache 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 stomach medically reviewed 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. Stomach medically reviewed.
  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. Pain medically reviewed.
  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. Symptoms abdominal pain.
  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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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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