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Difficulty Sitting & Pain While Sitting

Humans were not really designed to remain in a sitting position for long periods of time. Most of our ancestors spent the majority of their days standing, walking, or running up until less than 200 years ago. But today, with the creation of the white-collar working world, many of us spend not only a lot of time sitting – some of us spend the vast majority of our waking hours sitting. If you have pain while sitting or difficulty standing after sitting, it can be a serious problem for your health and your ability to work.

Causes of Lower Back Pain That May Cause Pain While Sitting

There are a number reasons you may experience lower back pain that makes it difficult to sit. Here are a few of the most common:

• Muscle or ligament strain
• Disc herniation or degeneration
• Sciatica
• Spinal misalignment

If your pain while sitting comes after a suspected injury, it might be caused by a muscle or ligament strain. The good news is that, in all but the most serious cases, these injuries will heal themselves in a few days. However, it’s important to be doing the right things to ensure that your body heals correctly. While rest will be important, so will gentle movement, stretches, and strengthening exercises as your muscles and ligaments heal. Without these measures, muscles and ligaments can form scar tissue that will make them more tight, and therefore more prone to future injury, than they were before. Your chiropractor can make sure you get the right balance of rest and slow integration of stretching and strengthening exercises so that you are less likely to reinjure the same muscle or ligament in the future.

Disc herniation and degeneration are unfortunately increasingly common as we age. Discs become less pliable and spinal misalignments can worsen the problem. Whether you have perfectly health spinal discs or have already begun to notice the effects of disc degeneration or disc problems, your chiropractor can help you retain or regain your spinal health. Gentle manipulations of your spinal alignment and a focus on stretching and strengthening can maintain spinal health and can also relieve pain in those suffering from disc problems. Chiropractic treatment can relieve inflammation and, in some cases, help disc injuries to heal properly, which will alleviate the associated pain while sitting.

Sciatica is the pain caused when pressure is applied to the sciatic nerve. The sciatic nerves originate in the lower back and travel down each leg to the ankle, passing through the buttocks on the way. Sciatic pain is one of the leading causes of pain while sitting because the very nature of sitting can cause pressure on the sciatic nerve. If your sitting pain is alleviated by walking, you may very well be suffering from sciatica (although not all sciatic pain is alleviated by walking).

Sciatic pain can be caused when the disc in the lower back presses unnaturally against the sciatic nerve. In severe cases, some doctors may suggest surgery to repair this condition. However, before you go under the knife, we highly encourage you to look into chiropractic care for sciatica. In many cases we find that chiropractic treatment can relive the symptoms and even improve the spinal health of sciatica sufferers without invasive procedures.

lower back pain chicago

Sitting & Lower Back Pain

Chronic lower back pain is the leading source of pain while sitting. Lower back pain is one of the most common causes for visits to physicians in the U.S. and 9 out of 10 Americans will experience lower back pain at some point in their life. Almost half of working adults experience back pain at least once a year. However, lower back pain is itself a symptom.

Why Chiropractic Care for Difficulty Sitting?

One good example of why you should seek chiropractic care before undergoing surgical treatment for sciatica is the following story:

“It came on suddenly. I woke up one morning with shooting pains down my right leg. It felt like an electric shock. And sitting was nearly impossible: by noon the first day, I was nearly in tears at work. Getting up and walking would lessen the pain for a bit – but it would come right back when I sat down.

I went to a physician first and he said it was probably sciatica – that a disc in my lower back was inflamed and pressing on my sciatic nerve. He prescribed a mega-dose of ibuprofen for the next week that he said would help me manage the pain and would reduce the inflammation and eventually help the pain go away all together. I didn’t like the idea of taking that much ibuprofen, but I was in serious pain and didn’t know I had another option.

The ibuprofen only mildly helped me manage the pain and once I stopped taking it after a week, the pain while sitting was still there. I went back to the doctor and he said I might have to have surgery to fix the problem. I was 36 and perfectly fit at the time. Back surgery seemed like a horrible idea but how was I supposed to work if I couldn’t sit all day long?

A friend suggested that I try her chiropractor. I had never been to a chiropractor before but I figured it couldn’t hurt and it was certainly better than jumping into surgery. At my first appointment, I explained my symptoms to my chiropractor and he did a simple physical examination, asking me to touch my toes, bend sideways, and a few other easy movements. He also took x-rays. After looking at the x-rays, he gave me some really good news: he didn’t think it was a disc injury. He thought it was possible that my piriformis muscle was pressing on my sciatic nerve.

I learned that the piriformis muscles runs diagonally across your buttocks on both sides and is deep under the fat and some of the other muscles in that area. My chiropractor recommended deep tissue massage and gentle stretching and strengthening exercises that he taught he how to do right there in the office.

At first when I started the exercises, my flexibility was really damaged and I’m not going to lie – the deep tissue massage hurt! But even after the first massage session, I could tell something was better. Slowly, I could tell I was improving with the exercises – something was getting loosened up – and the better I was at the exercises, the less sciatic pain I had.

I continued to see my chiropractor regularly and in really no time at all, my sciatic pain was gone and has never returned. It was nothing more than a tight muscle and my physician had wanted to do back surgery! I continue to see my chiropractor regularly and my overall flexibility and healthy has definitely increased. All this – and no surgery at all.”

- Sarah M.