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Sitting, even in the care to and from the doctor's office, can aggravate a bad back. 


Sitting increases the intradiscal pressures in the spine.

Researcher Nachemson documented the amount of pressure on your spine when in various positions: standing, sitting, moving. For this discussion on sitting, see that sitting straight exerts 140 pounds of pressure on the spine. Sitting slouched forward exerts 185 pounds of pressure. Sitting slouched forward holding weight (like a purse or baby) increases the pressures to as high as 275 pounds. Getting up to stretch drops pressure to 100mm in the standing position, so get up periodically to drop the pressure!

sitting pressure on spine 140 pounds

slouching in chair
slouching in chair with weight

140 pounds of pressure

185 pounds of pressure

275 pounds of pressure

100 pounds of pressure

What to do if you must sit...

Consider the Amount of Time

If you must sit, do so for 15 minutes to 30 minutes and get up to stretch. Don't sit for long periods of time.

Consider the Chair

Carefully choose your chair! Be sure it is fit for you.
  • Be sure it is a supportive chair with arm rests. 
    • Use the arm rests to push on as you rise out of the chair.
    • Use your leg muscles as well.
  • Be sure your feet to rest flatly on the floor.
  • Sit straight with your shoulders relaxed.
  • Sit with your back against the chair's back.
    • Use a towel to accommodate the lumbar spine's curve if your chair is too straight.
  • Remember to get up periodically.
Contact Cox Chiropractic Medicine Inc if you would like to discuss ways to cope with sitting if you must.
  1. Nachemson A: The lumbar spine: an orthopedic challenge. Spine 1976;1(1):61
"This information and website content is not intended to diagnose, guarantee results, or recommend specific treatment or activity. It is designed to educate and inform only. Please consult your physician for a thorough examination leading to a diagnosis and well-planned treatment strategy. See more details on the DISCLAIMER page. Content is reviewed by Dr. James M. Cox I."