What To Do If You Have A Sitting Job And Mid Back Pain

By Dr Ken Nakamura+

Office Chair: Arm Rest, Back rest has lubar support, seat pan is curved and has up and down adjustment with castors.

Do you sit for a living?

Do you have aches and pains in the neck and or upper back while sitting?

Would like to help the mid back pain you have now and prevent the mid back pain from getting worse?

Sitting can be restful after a long hike but sitting on the job continuously for long periods can cause some serious pain in your mid back. When you first sit down in the morning sit with great posture. After a few minutes things change and that perfect posture changes.

Your posture becomes more hunched or your chin starts to poke out. Within an hour or two you start to get that dull pain in the mid back or in the neck. Does this sound like you? Or maybe that pain isn’t so full but burning.

So what can you do about this?

Take frequent breaks from sitting by getting up once an hour. You should make any excuse to get up, whether it’s going to the printer, going for a coffee or just going for a walk. Also it helps to do some stretches which we’ll talk about in a bit.

Bad Posture Sitting in Office Chair Leading to Mid Back Pain | Dr. Ken Nakamura Downtown Toronto Chiropractor

Improve Your Posture

Conscious siting” or “active sitting” is a good way to start. One way to consciously sit is to sit on a Swiss ball or Exercise Ball. If you try to lean back or relax too much you fall off. So you have to actively keep the muscles going so that you don’t fall off or sway.

Perched position: This a position that you see especially among smaller people. Their feet don’t touch the floor, if they sit right back so they don’t use the back of the chair. Position your buttock near the front of the chair with only your buttock touching the chair bottom and your thighs angled down. Your lower back shouldn’t be touching anything. This creates the arch in the lower back that so many people lose.

That’s why the kneeling chair is also a good idea. It keeps the arch in your lower back and keeps the pressure from building up in your discs. For most people this is a great idea unless you have some less commonly found back problems like spinal stenosis, or anterior disc herniations. {unlike most websites I don’t benefit in any way by endorsing these products}

The other alternative is the wedge. This is a triangular piece of foam that you place on your chair. The fat end of the wedge goes near the back of the chair and the skinny part of the wedge goes near the front of the chair. This wedge makes your thighs lower than your butt just like if you were perched sitting position, except that you don’t have to work on actively perching.

Perfect Posture:

For most of you, buying a lumbar support roll would be helpful as most office chairs don’t have enough support in the lower back. You can try see if your chair has enough support by looking at how far the lower part of the chair back comes out. Most simply don’t come far enough.

When siting for prolonged periods your lower back starts to straighten out then your neck and upper back will automatically go forward.

Low Back Arch Test: Put both hands in the arch of your back. Push firmly forward as far as your low back will go until it stops. Notice that your head moves backwards. When you let go what do you notice? Your head goes forward.

So your low back is the foundation for your sitting posture. If your lower back isn’t in the right place than your neck and head won’t be in the right place. Leave your head for 8 hours like that everyday and you have the recipe for headaches, neck pain and you guessed it mid back pain.


Lumbar Support Roll: Help Your Posture and Mid Back Pain with A Lumbar Support Roll | Dr Ken Nakamura Downtown Toronto Chiropractor

Lumbar Support Roll For Your Mid Back {I don’t have any relationship or benefit in any way by endoring these products}

So if your chair doesn’t have enough support than first use a rolled up bath towel to see if you need more support. By using a towel you can unroll the towel to get less support and roll it more or use a bigger towel if you need more support. If it works and you are happy stick with the towel.

If you are tired of placing the towel in the arch of your back each time you sit down again then get yourself a lumbar support roll.

So which position should you use? Well if you aren’t using the Swiss ball, or wedge I recommend that you use the Perch position and sit back in your chair if your chair has enough support. If your chair doesn’t have enough support get your self a bath towel or a lumbar support roll.

Move Your Hand To the Right Position:

Most people when using a computer mouse have their arm forward. Remember that your arm is 8 lbs or 3.6 kg. While you aren’t holding the whole weight of your arm you are holding up part of the weight if it’s not fully rested on the desk and arm rest of the chair.

Make sure both your arms especially the mouse hand and arm is 90 degrees or square to you with the hand and forearm resting on the armrest and desk.

Office Chair: Arm Rest, Back rest has lubar support, seat pan is curved and has up and down adjustment with castors.

Choosing A Good Chair

A good chair is a good investment in prevention. Make sure you can vary your siting position.

Your office chair should:

  • By easily adjustable up and down.
  • The arm rest should be adjustable.
  • The back rest should have a great lumbar support so you don’t have to buy a lumbar support roll.
  • The pan or the bottom of the chair where you butt rest should be adjustable so you don’t have to buy the wedge.
  • Your chair should swivel and move on castors so you can move your chair and not your neck if your are going between two or more monitors.

Swiss Ball Or Exercise Ball

If you are using an Exercise Ball keep note of this:

  • Use the ball for short periods
  • Use your abdominal, back and side muscles to maintain your curved lumbar spine
  • Stop using the ball when you are tired.

Sitting on a ball actually increases the pressure on the lower back so isn’t for people with lower back problems.

Tell us what you think in the comments below and like us on Facebook. I will answer all questions in the comments section here at this downtown Toronto Chiropractic clinic.

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