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Sitting and back pain

  • April 29, 2016

Perhaps in the history of humanity, for the first time, humans have been working whole day sitting at one place. Not long back, just few decades ago, people had to move around to accomplish their daily work, but now, we do everything from our chair, be it talking to someone or shopping. In our offices, we sit continuously for hours together, often in bad postures. Sitting puts a lot of pressure on our spine and legs and you may end-up having back pain at early age.                                    

“Sitting puts a lot of pressure on our spine and legs and you may end-up having back pain at early age.”

How sitting affects the body?

Sitting for long time, especially with improper posture creates imbalance in weight bearing by spine and legs. When every part of the body is properly aligned, the joints and muscles of back can share the burden of supporting the body weight. When the posture is improper the burden is passed on to a specific part of the back, based on posture, causing back pain. Poor posture, on the long-run, can damage the structure of back bone as well.

How to sit properly?

1. Sit straight: Keep you back bone straight, head high and shoulders relaxed

2. Choose chair with care: The chair should have firm and upright back support. The chair should also have arm rest

3. Place the chair correctly: The chair should be positioned in such a way that the arm rests are at the level of the desk and your feet can be comfortably placed on the ground

4. Place legs correctly: Your knees should be slightly above the level of hips and your feet should be flat on the ground

5. You may keep a cushion: A firm cushion kept between low back and chair can help to you keep your spine straight


What else you can do?

1. Stand or walk while talking to someone on phone

2. Walk with your colleagues and discuss instead of gathering in conference room

3. Take stairs instead of lift or escalator

4. Get up every 30 minutes and take a walk break

5. Walk to colleagues desk instead of emailing or calling 

6. Visit an orthopaedic if back pain is too much

So, if you want to avoid back pain, walk as much as you can and avoid sitting continuously for more than 30 min. The research says, for every 1 hr of sitting one must stand for 15 min.

The content developed by Scientific Angle Publications LLP

Disclaimer: This article is for educational purpose only. Please consult a qualified doctor before taking any decisions regarding recommendations in the article or for more information.



1. Posture: Slouching toward back pain. Health and wellness tips from Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield.

2. What are the risks of sitting too much? Mayo Clinic.

3. Why sitting too much is bad for your health. NHS Choices.

4. Karakolis T, Callaghan JP. The impact of sit-stand office workstations on worker discomfort and productivity: A review. Applied Ergonomics. 2014;45:799–806.