Causes, Treatment, Prevention and More

The cause of lower back pain while sitting can be posture, injury, or health condition.

Back pain is one of the most common medical problems in the United States. About 1 in 4 adults in the country will experience back pain for at least 1 day in a 3-month period.

Here we describe the causes, treatment and prevention of back pain when sitting.

Back pain can be acute, then sudden, and usually last a few days or weeks. Or the pain can be chronic and last longer than 12 weeks.

Lower back pain can be sudden and sharp, or a dull, constant ache.

A variety of factors can cause lower back pain when sitting, and the best approach to treatment will depend on the cause.

Treatment plan may include over-the-counter pain relievers, physical therapy, a new exercise routine, surgery, or a combination.


Poor posture can cause or worsen lower back pain. Posture improvement involves changing a person’s position while sitting or standing. It can often relieve or relieve the pain.


A person could injure their lower back if they lift something incorrectly, resulting in a strain or sprain in the area.

Instead, the injury may result from trauma sustained, for example, while exercising or in a car accident.


Sciatica occurs when something presses on the sciatic nerve that travels through the buttocks and extends across the back of the leg, and the problem can cause pain throughout the area.

The pain can be intense and feel like an electric shock, or it can be a dull ache.

disc prolapse

A herniated disc refers to a disc in the spine that bulges outward and presses on a spinal nerve. Any disc in the spine can be affected.

Treatment for this condition usually includes medication and physical therapy.

Disc disease

Disc disease, also called degenerative disc disease, is actually not a disease. Usually it results from aging.

It occurs when the intervertebral discs between the vertebrae of the spine wear down.


In spondylolisthesis, a vertebra in the lower spine slips and pinches neighboring nerves.

A person may not need professional treatment for back pain while sitting.

Often times, a person at home can take steps to ease the pain and prevent it from returning. Some strategies include:

Stay active

Resting as much as possible can be tempting, but the medical community recommends staying active to relieve lower back pain.

However, try not to do too much at once. Instead, try combining physical therapy or one of the recommended forms of exercise listed below with other home treatments.

Use heat and cold

Switching between heat and cold can often help relieve lower back pain.

Taking a hot bath or using a hot water bottle can help relieve the pain. Heat can also increase blood flow to the area and promote healing to the muscles and tissues of the back.

Applying ice packs or bags of frozen vegetables to the area can also relieve pain, but wrap them in a cloth first.

Heating or cooling sprays are also available without a prescription and can stimulate the nerves in the area.

Taking painkillers

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or NSAIDs, can help relieve lower back pain. Many, like ibuprofen, are available without a prescription.

People tend to take these drugs orally, but they also come as creams, gels, patches, and sprays.

Stretch and train

Exercises and stretches can help strengthen your lower back and prevent pain.

Routines that focus on working the core or abs can also help speed recovery from chronic lower back pain.

For example, yoga can help relieve lower back and neck pain, and other forms of exercise that can help include:

Stretches that can help relieve lower back pain include:

  • Deep lunge: Kneel on one knee with the other foot in front. Lift your back knee forward. Hold the position for 5 seconds.
  • Back stretch: Lie on your stomach and use your arms to push your upper body off the floor. Hold the position for 30 seconds before relaxing your back.
  • Strengthening the sagittal core: Stand 3 feet from a wall with your feet should be wide apart, contract your abs, then reach through your legs to touch the wall, keeping your hips and knees bent. Push your body back to a standing position with your hips, then straighten your arms and reach over your head and back slightly.

A person can also benefit from seeing an osteopath, chiropractor, or physical therapist. These treatments work with stretches and exercises to relieve lower back pain.

Lower back pain is more common in obese people and smokers.

People who are rarely active are also more likely to have lower back pain, as are people who tend to be inactive but occasionally do strenuous exercise.

The best sitting position

The Department of Health and Human Services warns against slouching and recommends sitting up straight with your back on the back of the chair and feet flat on the floor.

They also recommend keeping your knees slightly higher than your hips when sitting.

To determine the cause of back pain, a health care provider will ask the person about their medical history and do a physical exam.

If the pain is acute, further examinations are usually not required unless the pain results from an injury.

Treatment for chronic pain depends on the cause, and surgery can be an option.

See a doctor if lower back pain is severe and persistent or doesn’t get better with stretching, exercise, and other home care techniques.

Also, if the pain is related to an injury, see a doctor.

Back pain is one of the most common reasons people see a doctor or miss work days.

Although school-age children can be affected, the problem tends to occur and gets worse with age.

A person can take steps to prevent back pain, such as: B. improving their posture. When the pain occurs, various grooming techniques, including stretches and exercises, can often help.