Sitting – The Main Culprit

Modern life has us sitting in ways that nature never intended. Most of us are sitting down for the major part of our day… every day. 1-3 hours driving, 7-10 hours at our desk, 2-4 hours relaxing (slouching). This unnatural activity causes huge damage to our spines over a lifetime. The good news is that it can be reversed!

Lying flat on your back the pressure in your discs is the least possible at 25kg / sq cm. As the spine rises up disc pressure gradually increases until it reaches the vertical when the force of gravity acting downwards results in a disc pressure of 125kg / sq cm. It’s almost impossible for the average person to retain this position for any length of time and the spine slumps into a forward ‘C’ position in bad posture (due to gravity pulling you forward). Over time this process increases disc pressure (with resultant pain) to a critical level.


Always sitting in a perfect posture with the whole spine supported, at least five degrees back from the vertical, will in 95% of cases result in pain-free sitting for many hours at a time; in the car, the office, and at home.


Note: Sitting at least five degrees back from the vertical makes it impossible to slump forward in bad posture without a conscious thought, as gravity is pulling the body backwards (The more the spine reclines backwards, the less disc pressure results).

The Mayo Clinic in the USA states on its website ( “Surgery is rarely needed to treat back pain.”

Research by the University of Washington states:

“Studies using repeated MRI revealed that the herniated part of the disc often shrinks over time and about 90% of patients will experience gradual improvement over a period of six weeks. Thus only about 10% of patients with a symptomatic disk herniation would appear to require surgery. And because most pain is not caused by herniated discs, the actual proportion of all back pain patients who are surgical candidates is only about 2%.”

Hamilton Hall FRCS a member of the International Society for the relief of lumbar pain, in his book (The Back Doctor) states, “Squatting is the best way of resting your spine. In cultures where it’s customary to squat backache is almost unknown.” This is because squatting demands the spine be kept in good posture in order to retain balance, and by so doing prevents nerve root irritation. Further validation that knowledge and prevention of back issues are far more effective than cure. None of these cultures have been sitting at a desk for up to 10 hours a day!

Sitting in perfect posture takes a little practice to get use to, but getting into the habit has a great affect on your quality of life. Use Back Shop chairs and be pain free.