Does Sitting cause low back pain? This may seem like such a clear and obvious question, especially for those who tend to get their back pain specifically sitting for any length of time. However, recent research that looked at 41 studies on the matter found that sitting is not a factor and there is an absence of a relationship, with no association between prolonged or occupational sitting and lower back pain. I must admit I was quite surprised when I saw the results as I would have said, in fact I have said in the past with a fair degree of certainty that sitting is a major cause of back pain.
Although I did find some of the researchers comments quite interesting, he stated people who sit for long periods of time may get muscle tightness, which could be a factor in why someone feels pain, most pain is felt in the muscles especially the superficial muscles that support the spine. So sitting and pain are not directly related but may be influenced by other factors such as pre-existing muscle tightness. Most people I treat rarely have low back pain when just sitting, they may also also feel it on certain exercises, movements, first thing in the morning etc… Indicating sitting in of itself is not the cause but more likely the effect. In any case it should be reassuring that sitting does not damage your spine or discs and looking at you muscles and other factors could be more worth while.
Finally, it is worth mentioning people who get regular general physical activity have lower levels of back pain and other chronic health conditions such as heart disease, diabetes and some cancers so it is still important you keep active not only to help prevent low back pain but improve overall health.