Back pain from sitting?


One of the most common areas of concern with new clients at our gym is low back pain. Another commons issue is people with back pain from long drives from going out to cottage country on the weekend.

While we have a number of diverse influences when it comes to addressing low back pain, one of our biggest influences is Dr. Stuart McGill, professor emeritus at the University of Waterloo. We just happen to have the world’s foremost expert on spine mechanics and low back health in our backyard!

He sells a very affordable (under $100) inflatable back support/pillow you can use in your car for long drives. So far we’ve only had clients buy the LumbAir, but if anyone has experience with the other devices I would love to get your feedback!

Here is the test McGill has people do to determine whether or not his lumbar support products are likely to help them:

Will the supports help you? – Take the test

Take the test to see if the sitting support is for you: Sit in a chair with a firm seat pan and back rest. Place your hands between your low back and the back of the chair. Adjust your hands to assess if pain is reduced and comfort has increased. If comfort is increased then the adjustable supports will help you.

Also, Please take a look at the picture for this post. It’s a visual for a quick/simple stretch you can do to gently decompress your spine when you get up from sitting. When you stand up, reach for the sky (don’t bend/arch your back too much though!). The effort of reaching for the sky will gently decompress your low back.

Other notes I’d like to share:

  • If you can comfortably get into a resting squat (you may need to find a gentle incline at the rest stop to mimic elevating your heels) sitting in a resting squat for 1-2 minutes should help your low back feel better

  • If there is a solid bench, stool, or ledge to do front foot elevated split squats, doing 2-3 sets of 5 split squats per side with a pause at the bottom will do wonders for opening up your hips and relieving stress on your low back. The longer we sit the tighter our hip flexors get.

Links mentioned in the article: