The answer to your lower back pain when sitting may be much simpler than you think. There are a handful of muscles that predictably develop tightness and pain patterns from excess sitting, and this is your guide to mastering them so you never deal with lower back pain from sitting again.
The Biological Attack Of Lower Back Pain When Sitting
Sitting in chairs is an extremely unnatural human position. The human body was built to walk, run, squat, and move - and sitting completely contradicts our biology. Lower back pain when sitting is so rampant because not only do we sit often, but we sit for up to 16 hours per day. The amount of muscular imbalance this creates is extremely straining - but thankfully it is not undoable. A simple set of corrective techniques can help undo the strain of sitting on the lower back and have you feeling and moving better in no time.
The Muscles Behind Lower Back Pain When Sitting
As alluded to above, the position of sitting causes a predictable pattern of muscular tension and tightness in the body. This tension and tightness can become straining, constant, and eventually quite painful over a long enough period of time. Here are 3 muscles that tend to develop tension and pain from sitting, and what you can do to fix them.
Iliacus (left/top) And Psoas (right/bottom) Hip Flexor Muscles
The Iliacus muscle is one of the hip flexor muscles on the front of the body that can cause lower back pain when sitting. When in a seated position, the Iliacus muscle is shortened. This becomes problematic over time when the tension in Iliacus becomes constant by wrenching on the lower back trying to pull the pelvis forward.
The Psoas muscle is the other hip flexor muscle on the front of the body that causes lower back pain when sitting. In relation to Iliacus, Psoas is larger and closer to the midline of the body. Psoas and Iliacus function in hip flexion and refer pain in the same manner (they are sometimes referred to together as the Iliopsoas complex). Psoas and Iliacus need to both be inspected to uncover relief from lower back pain when sitting.
The QL muscle is a deep lower back muscle that also develops strain and havoc from excess sitting. One factor of sitting that determines the extent to which QL muscle pain impacts your lower back pain when sitting is your posture. A hunched, slouched lower back is much more likely to cause QL tension and lower back pain than good posture.
Relief From Lower Back Pain When Sitting
There are 3 overall steps to conquering the muscular component of lower back pain when sitting, but only 2 steps to getting out of existing pain. Step 3 is for improving resilience so that you are less likely to fall back into lower back pain in the future.
Step 1: Deep Tissue Massage
The first and most effective thing you can do to counteract your lower back pain when sitting is deep tissue massage. This step aims to physically break up the constant tension and trigger points in the specific muscles that developed tension from sitting in the first place.
How To: Deep tissue massage applied to the Iliacus, Psoas, and QL muscles can be done by the hands of a professional physical therapist (physio), chiropractor, or massage therapist, or at home with a purposefully made tool like QL Claw. QL Claw was designed by us here at Back Muscle Solutions specifically to perform this step on your own right when and where you need it. QL Claw is unique due to its shape, material, and ability to hit every muscle that contributes to lower back pain when tight. Learn more at the link below:
Step 2: Stretch
Once the Iliacus, Psoas, and QL muscles are effectively massaged and free of their constant tension, they will be much more susceptible to stretching. It is important to stretch and build length in the Iliacus and Psoas (which are hip flexor muscles) specifically, because they are so drastically shortened while sitting. This video has a great Iliacus/Psoas hip flexor stretch you can do right at home:
Step 3: Strengthen
By the time you get to step 3, you should be out of pain. The goal of step 3 is to build resilience in and around the lower back so you can strain it (like while sitting) for longer without triggering pain. This step is essentially building armor around your back so you can move flippantly without thinking about your back. We created a regimen for this called Back Of Steel, but also feel free to check out the free video on the subject: