Sitting, Not a Disc Problem!

Reference:Claus A, et al Sitting versus standing: does the intradiscal pressure cause disc degeneration or low back pain? J Electromyogr Kinesiol. 2008 Aug;18(4):550-8. Epub 2007 Mar 7.

Every PT at some point has been taught that sitting is bad for the back as it significantly increases intra-discal pressure (IDP) …which is of course bad for discogenic pain and disc degeneration.

The 3 conclusions from this study may come as a shock to you, so you better be sitting down!

“…it is clear that IDP is often similar in standing and sitting.”

“… studies indicate that IDP in sitting is unlikely to pose a threat to non-degenerate discs”

“Sitting is no worse than standing for disc degeneration or low back pain incidence.”

In a Nutshell: If sitting is more aggrevating than standing for those with LBP, it is unlikely to be due to raised intra-discal pressure.

Personal Comment: I personally do not believe sitting is an ?evil? activity ?what makes it evil is the CREEP phenomenon that occurs due to fact that we generally do not fidget enough when we sit.

Any sustained posture produces CREEP and is potentially physically harmful …that includes sitting, standing, or lying in one position (..think bed sores!).
The single best way I know to interrupt creep in sitting (other than standing & walking of course) is to teach the patient to perform pelvic rocks 5X every 15 minutes! i.e. Roll back & forth from anterior to posterior pelvic tilt.

I heve written an article on the topic of Creep & Pain. You may get it complimentary on under ?Clinical Articles?.

Posted on: October 10, 2010

Categories: Lumbar Spine

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