What helps to relieve back pain caused by sitting down for a long time?

published by Dr. Torsten Pfitzer in Pain April 14, 2021
Dr. Torsten Pfitzer

Study reveals interesting findings: self-massage using a foam roller can help.

We all know we do it. We spend all day sitting in the office, concentrating on what we're doing and simply forget to move around once in a while, or make a conscious effort to stand up to relieve our musculoskeletal system. Then, when we go home, we often lack the motivation to compensate for the long period spent sitting down all day. However, this is really important. After all, sitting down for too long is bad for us. It can lead to multiple ailments such as neck, hip, muscle, joint and particularly back pain.

It's therefore high time to prevent and counteract any back pain caused by long periods of sitting. Self-massage using a foam roller helps relieve tension in the back.

01

Why frequent and long periods spent sitting result in back pain

In a nutshell, back pain is caused by poor posture while sitting down and lack of movement. By adopting this poor posture - often without knowing - while sitting down (without giving our muscles regular breaks), this can negatively impact our body and all its muscles, fascia, tendons, ligaments and even the bones. Our body adapts to this poor posture, resulting in restricted range of motion, glued fascia and muscle pain.

02

Does foam rolling help?

Regular self-massage using a foam roller lets you release muscular and fascial tension and adhesion, which can be the cause of many types of pain.These so-called trigger points are mainly noticed when you sit down for a long period of time, particularly in the neck and back area. The fact that foam rolling specifically and effectively combats tension in the back muscles after long periods of sitting down and why it results in significantly more flexibility and health benefits for people who have to sit down for their work, can also be seen the results of a study by renowned sports doctors for Sportärztezeitung magazine.

03

An 8-minute self-massage can loosen up the muscles

In total, 59 women and men took part in the study.They were asked to sit down for four-and-a-half hours, and were separated into two groups beforehand. Afterwards, one group performed a self-massage for eight minutes using a foam roller while the other group simply stood up. In order to obtain the relevant findings, the stiffness of every participant's back muscles were measured prior to sitting, after sitting and after the rest (with and without self-massage).

The results of study:

  • the long period spent sitting down caused tension in the upper back, lower back and chest muscles and reduced the general stiffness of the muscles.
  • Participants who rested by simply standing up did not see a reduction in stiffness after the long period spent sitting down.
  • Participants who performed a self-massage for eight minutes using a foam roller after sitting down saw a significant reduction in tension in all the above-mentioned areas.
  • over 90% of participants considered the self-massage as helpful and said they would integrate it into their daily lives.
04

In summary

Self-massage using a foam roller can bring health benefits to people who spent a lot of time sitting down.However, it's not a magic wand. It's often not enough to just simply roll the areas that are painful.Pain arising from the muscle and fascia system often originates in a different place to where it's actually felt.Ideally, you should combine self-massage with other preventative measures and use trigger techniques and active muscle stretching exercises. Find out here which exercises you can do to counteract long periods of sitting and prevent back pain.

Comprehensive exercise routines

To prevent back pain as a result of sitting down for a long time it's best to perform an overall workout, even if you are already experiencing pain. This lets you manage tension in the back muscles after long periods spent sitting down. Get started now!

More inner balance through muscle stretching exercises
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Duration
38 Min
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Excercises
5
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Difficulty
Beginner
Back pain exercises
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Duration
34 Min
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Excercises
10
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Difficulty
Beginner
After-work exercises
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Duration
20 Min
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Excercises
8
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Exercises for the workplace
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Duration
10 Min
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Excercises
5
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Difficulty
Beginner

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