When you have degenerative disc disease, there are movements that can contribute to your pain, including the simple act of sitting or standing in certain positions. From a mechanical standpoint, sitting is worse than standing for DDD since more pressure is placed on your lower back. However, there are other factors worth considering to determine what positions are best for you.
Prolonged Stationary Positions
Standing or sitting in any position for too long is likely to aggravate your back pain. While it’s wise to be mindful of your posture, it’s just as important to vary your positions to minimize stress on your lower spine and supporting muscles, joints, and nerves.
Minimizing Pain While Standing
If you have to stand for lengthy periods of time, shifting your weight or placing one foot on a stool can help minimize stress on your spine. Back pain from DDD is highly subjective, but a good rule of thumb is to take a break to walk around when your pain shows signs of returning.
Easing Discomfort While Sitting
Any lengthy period of rest is going to weaken muscles supporting the spine. The same is true of sitting for a long time. If you have no choice but to be seated, adjusting positions in your seat can help ease muscle strain.
Strengthening Core and Back Muscles
Since your day is likely to be a mix of sitting and standing, focusing on muscle strengthening may provide the relief you want. While shifting positions can help, maintaining your core muscle groups and back muscles can also reduce DDD pain. Further minimize discomfort by:
- Balancing forward and backward movements
- Stretching to prevent muscle stiffness
- Performing directional preference exercises, or repeated movements
- Adding gentle flexion movements after pain goes away to prevent muscle stiffness
Some people experience no pain at all from degenerative disc disease and others perceive their pain to be worse when either sitting or standing. Regardless of what you’re personally experiencing, the key to minimizing DDD is a proper diagnosis by a board-certified physician and a combination of management efforts, such as getting regular exercise and maintaining a healthy diet.
To request more information about degenerative disc disease or to further discuss surgical options, reach out to Dr. Bae of The Spine Institute Center for Spinal Restoration and take the first step toward a pain-free lifestyle.