FAQ056: Why does it hurt to sit for people with discogenic low back pain?

Discogenic Low Back Pain aka Pain from a Bulging Disc

Discogenic low back pain refers to people who have a disc herniation aka a bulging disc. For people who have just injured themselves, sitting for long periods of time can be excruciating. I know for me when I hurt my back, my drive to work was the worst! My drive to SEE a physiotherapist would be extremely painful.

A Disc Often Bulges Towards the Back

When we think about disc herniations (and if you haven’t seen our FAQ on it, you can check it out here), we know that most happen towards the back of the spine. This means that when we are leaning BACK it is often pain relieving. When we are flexing forward, the pain is often worse.

As a physiotherapist, I will try to get my clients spending time in standing or on their stomach in order to relieve their discogenic low back pain. I will also try to get them to avoid flexing forward because I know it will make the pain worse.

Our Posture When We Sit is Often Not Perfect 

When we sit for long periods of time, we often end up slouching. What that means is that we are doing a slight flex. See the connection?

That slight flex that develops in your back essentially acts as like a pinching on the vertebrae. It put pressure on the front part of the bones in your spine. What this does is it places more stress towards the disc herniation. It makes it feel worse.

Check out that video and let us know what you think. Is this you? If it is… using something like a standing desk or changing positions frequently will definitely help!

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Christina Prevett

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