Sitting should not have to cause low back pain, and there are things you can do to remedy this annoying problem.

Why do some people have low back pain after sitting for a while?

Let’s assume that if your low back hurts after prolonged sitting, it’s not because you recently fell, were in a car or ski accident, or wrenched muscles while lifting something heavy.

“Sitting creates the most pressure on the intervertebral discs,” says Dr. Moshe Lewis, MD, board certified in physical medicine and rehabilitation.

“Solutions include inversion/tilt tables, traction and core strengthening,” says Dr. Lewis.

Inversion/tilt tables and traction are not practical for many people, but anyone can get started on core strengthening.

I recommend core strengthening exercises several times a week.

The core is the low back and abdominal regions. There are many core strengthening exercises out there.

An example is the back extension with leg support (just about every gym has the equipment for this). Do eight to 12 times.

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Another exercise that will engage the core is the “camel back,” illustrated below. Do eight to 12 times.


A third exercise is the kettlebell swing. Start out with a small kettlebell and swing for eight to 12 times, working your way up to 15 times.



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Below is another core exercise. Hold soup cans if you don’t have weights, or extend your arms without any weights.

Do two to three sets of each exercise. If you don’t have access to a kettlebell, you can use a dumbbell if you have one around the house, or an old milk or juice jug filled with water.

A person with a strong, conditioned core will not experience low back pain after long periods of sitting.

Dr. Lewis is the founder and CEO of Golden Gate Institute for Physical Medicine in CA, which provides education and clinical management of pain.
Lorra Garrick is a former personal trainer certified through the American Council on Exercise. At Bally Total Fitness she trained women and men of all ages for fat loss, muscle building, fitness and improved health. 


Top image: shayne_ch13