How To Sit and Stand Up Properly When Experiencing Back Pain

As our body’s primary structural support system, the spine has a lot of functions: it helps us remain mobile,

gives us flexibility, and protects our spinal cord. When the spine is injured, everyday movements like carrying groceries, walking, and picking up children or grandchildren can become painful — and sometimes impossible. 

To protect your spine health during an episode of lower back pain, it’s essential to consider your spine when standing up from a seated position, an activity that most people do from various surfaces and heights multiple times a day. Consider these key points when performing this moment to keep your spine healthy and your legs strong. 

First, here’s what NOT to do. 
  1. “Nose over toes.” You may have heard this common saying, which refers to keeping your nose aligned over your toes while standing up. While this recommendation has its place, it can be painful during an episode of back pain. 
  2. Be seated too far back in a chair. If you’re seated too far back or slouching in a chair, it requires you to bend forward much further. 
  3. Uncontrolled descent or “plop.” This could occur as a result of decreased leg strength or because your back has become sensitive to forward bending. 
  4. Use your hands instead of your leg and hips. A lack of hip strength makes your body resort to other methods to support you while standing up, including using your hands. While this can be an appropriate strategy at times, we want to encourage our bodies to recover and resume normal function.

Now that we’ve established what not to do, here are a few tips for standing up properly. 
  1. Scoot forward to the edge of your chair. Set yourself up for success by moving to the edge of the chair so that you have more power when you stand. 
  2. Keep your back relatively straight. You may find that tensing your core muscles can minimize the discomfort that occurs when standing up.
  3. Lean your torso forward. Give yourself good momentum to stand up by leaning forward slightly with your torso. 
  4. Use your legs. Squeeze your glutes as you’re standing up to create more power. Think “push the floor away” as you stand up. 

While these recommendations can be very helpful for some, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to moving with less pain during an episode of back pain. Seek advice from one of our skilled, licensed physical therapists to address your specific needs. 

Physical Therapy Services at Carolina NeuroSurgery & Spine Associates

At Carolina NeuroSurgery & Spine Associates, we’re proud to offer a comprehensive approach to spine care. Over half of our patients are able to use non-surgical treatments and avoid surgical intervention for spine disorders. The on-site physical therapy services at our Ballantyne, Charlotte, Concord, Huntersville, Matthews, and Rock Hill offices focus on improving patient recovery and rehabilitation.

Our team of physical therapists works with patients to correct posture and body mechanics and promote overall fitness and health. Our licensed physical therapists work with our physiatrists and neurosurgeons to review patient progress, develop treatment plans, and share insight for optimal patient care.

Patients receive the maximum benefit from their treatment through one-on-one sessions with our physical therapists. There is also an emphasis on patient education and injury prevention. For added convenience, patients may schedule physician and physical therapy appointments at or near the same time and in the same office.

Request a physiatry or physical therapy appointment online by clicking the link below or call our office to connect with our team. 

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