Pain Management Specialist Questions Back Pain

My back hurts when I sit down. Why?

For the last year or so, my back hurts only when I go to sit down. It is a shooting pain that goes up and down the left side of my back. I don't remember straining this area, so where could it have come from?

8 Answers

In general, there are two common things that can contribute to pain with sitting.

The pressure on discs in back lower lumbar are about 1/2 body weight when standing. When sitting, it is close to double body weight in general. If you have a protruding disc or torn disc, the increased pressure could make the disc bulge and cause irritation. There are multiple treatments for this type of pain. Also, sacroiliac joint pain commonly causes low back pain. Good physical exam, history and dx studies x-ray and/or mri by pain mgmt physician could result in better dx and treatment.
There could be many reasons that back pain occurs when we assume different positions. Pain is a multifactorial experience and many thing contribute to our perception of pain. What type of chair do you sit in? How much do you sit? Is there a time of day that makes the pain worse? Does the pain ever travel down your leg? Do you have any bowel and bladder changes since noticing the pain? These are all important things to ask when you decide to seek out care from a licensed medical practitioner.
The reason is a disc herniation compressing the nerve roots of lumbar nerves.
If back pain is worse with sitting or standing still can likely related to discogenis pain (pain from degenerative disc). Sacroiliac joint dysfunction can also contribute to sitting pain.
Thank you for your question! There is not a simple solution as there are several reasons one may have back pain. The first things to consider are a patient's age, occupation, lifestyle and medical history. I would go first go to my primary doctor and ask for an orthopaedic consult for proper diagnostic testing. This is the first stop on your journey to recovery. Then, when a more specific diagnosis is made, physical therapy is a great option! Please let me know how you are doing!

Dena Restaino
There can be number of reasons, usually muscle pain is consequences of underlying disc, joint issues. It needs to be examined to find the accurate cause of the back pain.
It sounds like one of the discs in your spine may be injured. If you also have the pain when you twist your torso or arch your back, backward the pain may be generated by posterior structures in the spine.
Very difficult to answer that question without performing a physical exam and imaging. It may be a Quadratus Lumborum issue. You may have strained it without realizing it. Sometimes these things take a day to show up. The best thing to do is to go see your doctor. He/she may likely prescribe physical therapy to begin with as a conservative form of treatment and a muscle relaxer. If things don't improve after that he/she may do some imaging and the diagnostic process will begin. Hope this helps.

Dr. Villarreal