Skip to main content

Postural Neglect and Low Back Pain

Abigail Jamula PT, DPT

It’s not uncommon to suffer from lower back pain after you’ve been sitting at your desk for hours everyday. But why does this happen and how can you fix it?

Low back pain from sitting is a result of losing the natural curvature or arch in your low back, called lordosis. This happens when our backs our rounded and we are relaxed in a seated position. When the lordosis/arch is lost, it causes an over stretching of the tissues in and surrounding your spine. The stretching of those tissues can create discomfort and pain. With repeated poor positioning and irritation of the tissues, you are placing yourself at higher risk of having a more significant back injury such as a disc bulge. These more significant injuries can cause severe pain and make completing your daily tasks much more difficult.

There are a few different ways to minimize the effects of prolonged sitting and prevent or lessen the pain associated with it:

  1. Get up and move every 30 minutes. Even if all you do is stand up at your desk or walk to the restroom, changing your position will help to reposition your spine and promote more blood flow to the area. While standing, you can perform some back extensions by placing your hands on the small of your back and arching backwards to tolerance.
  2. Perform the slouch-overcorrect exercise. Sit slumped in your chair and round your back, then slowly raise up and over-arch your lower back. Do this about 10 times every few hours. This will help to cue you into the correct seated posture to continue on with your day.
  3. Grab a towel from home and roll it up, after you’ve done the slouch-overcorrect exercise place this towel roll in the small of your back to help you maintain this arch while sitting and avoid that slumped/slouched posture encouraged by sitting.

Postural Neglect and Low Back Pain

For any further questions regarding mechanical low back pain or if you’d like to set up an evaluation of your back pain, contact Abigail Jamula at our Watertown office at 617-926-2300 or