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Should I Sit or Stand When I Have Back Pain?

Updated: Jan 11, 2021

This is the most frequently asked question by clients who are in physical therapy. Should I sit or stand when I have back pain. The answer to this question is fairly simple, yet somewhat complicated. It depends...

In another blog post we cover several of the main causes of back pain in more detail. For this post it is just important to note the main causes are: Derangement (including disc herniations, pulled muscles, sprained ligaments...or I just woke up with back pain), Dysfunction (scar tissue build up from a past injury or derangement preventing you from bending in one direction), and postural. Another big cause to back pain is stenosis (true boney stenosis).

For most clients, standing will be more comfortable than sitting. If you have true boney stenosis sitting will definitely be more comfortable than standing. But, here is where it gets complicated, some people may have stenosis that is not boney, but is caused from a disc herniation which is narrowing the spinal canal. In these clients, standing usually will feel better than sitting.

All in all, it really depends on your condition, narrowing down the cause of your back pain to have a true answer. For the most part, standing will be more comfortable and tolerable than sitting for the majority of back pain causes.

If you are in a work setting you could apply the 20:10:2 principle. Sit for 20 minutes, stand for 10 minutes and walk or move for 2 minutes every 30 minutes or so. This way you are not staying in a static standing or sitting posture/position for too long.

If you would like to learn more about what may be causing your back pain and learn how to fully reduce and resolve your symptoms, give us a call at 847 920-7110.

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