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Mastering the best sitting position for lower back pain

You can improve your posture and strengthen your back over time. However, you can get instant relief with the best sitting position for lower back pain.

Back pain can be the result of a plethora of things.

Injury, illness, or even disease can cause your back to be uncomfortable or achey.

Another reason that not many think of is posture. The way that you sit can have a significant influence on the way that your back feels. If you have lower back pain when sitting down, consider trying some different sitting positions that could prevent low back pain.

The best sitting position for lower back pain

There are several different ways that you can improve your posture and strengthen your back over the course of time. However, you can also do something right now to get instant relief with the best sitting position for lower back pain.

You need to find the spot where your neutral pelvis balances out your body. It would be easy to avoid back pain at work in a chair by sitting down on your bottom. That’s not how things are going to get better though. In fact, that’s probably what’s causing the pain.

When you find the right sitting position, your spine will be supported, your legs will be able to move around easily, and the tension in your back will release. The result is a reduction in the chronic low back pain that you’re dealing with.

How to relieve lower back pain fast

If you’re like most people, finding this neutral pelvis sitting position might take a little bit of time. It may even feel a little bit awkward at first. You might feel like you are sticking your butt out further than what you should be, but you aren’t. A chiropractor would give you the following directions for locating the best sitting position so that you can get relief quickly.

  1. Start by lying down on your back. Bend your knees and keep your feet flat on the ground. Line your feet up with your hips. They should be about two to four inches apart. Don’t confuse your hips with the outer part of your thighs. They are the joints found close to the center line of your body. Put your arms down to your sides.
  2. Without lifting your butt up off of the ground, tuck your pelvis as much as possible. You have done this move correctly when you feel your lower back touch the ground while your pubic bone is pointing up towards the ceiling.
  3. Next, oppositely move your pelvis as much as you can. You will feel an open space in the area of your low back. At the end of the movement, your pubic bone should be pointing down at the floor.
  4. Lastly, keep your quads and bottom in a relaxed position. Move your pelvis back and forth between the above two motions. Every time you go through a complete cycle, lower the amount of arc you have. Eventually, you will feel where your neutral pelvis is, or where it is balanced. There will be a curve in your lower back, and your pubic bone will be in a parallel line with the floor.

Now that you have located the proper positioning, stand up. You might feel a bit like you are pushing your butt out still, but that’s where you should have it. One thing to take note of is if your weight is resting on the balls of your feet, there’s a high probability that you aren’t doing it right and tucking your pelvis still.

Just shift your weight so that it rests on your heels. You should get the same feeling of the neutral spine again as what you had laying down.

Why do you have lower back pain when sitting but not standing?

It’s very possible that when you sit down, your posture is compromised. It could be something that you do naturally well while up on your feet, but when you sit, it all goes away. It might take a little bit of practice, but over time, you will soon sit just the same way as you do when you stand.

The low back pain that was once inhibiting the comforts of your daily life will be gone out the window.

Additional tips for proper posture while sitting

Finding the neutral pelvis is indeed the best sitting position to avoid lower back pain, but there are a few other tips to keep in mind while you are sitting. They can help make sure that you hold back pain at bay for good.

  • Make sure your body weight is positioned evenly across your hips.
  • Do not cross your legs.
  • Keep your knees even or slightly above your hips. You may need a stool to achieve this.
  • Leave your feet flat on the floor.
  • Do not sit in the same position for longer than a half hour at a time.
  • Keep your workstation set up so that you can rest your arms and elbows on your desk or chair relaxing the shoulders.
  • Sit up close to your workstation and have your work pointed up at you instead of you looking down at it.
  • Don’t twist or pivot in your chair at your waist. Move your entire body around with each motion.
  • Before you stand up, move up to the front of the chair. Straighten your legs to stand up. Do not bend at the waist.
  • For an added benefit after standing, do a quick stretch of 10 backbends.
  • Use a rolled up towel or a lumbar support pillow if you can’t achieve these positions on your own.

The best way to avoid back pain because of poor posture from sitting wrong would be not to sit. If your job requires you to, that could be difficult to achieve. When it’s out of the realm of possibility for you to avoid sitting so much, make sure that you are exercising properly to strengthen your back and move around as much as you possibly can.

You may also want to consider getting a more supportive chair if that’s where you are going to be spending the majority of your time.


Brent Wells, DC, is a graduate of the University of Nevada where he earned his bachelor’s of science degree before moving on to complete his doctorate from Western States Chiropractic College. He and his wife founded Better Health Chiropractic & Physical Rehab in Alaska in 1998. He became passionate about being a Anchorage chiropractor after his own experiences with medical doctors. The goal for Wells is to treat his patients with care and compassion while providing them with a better quality of life through his professional treatment. Wells is a member of the American Chiropractic Association and the American Academy of Spine Physicians. He continues his education to remain active and updated in all studies related to neurology, physical rehab, biomechanics, spine conditions, brain injury trauma, and more.

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