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Sitting Pretty: Protect Your Back

Man sitting in chair.

Something as routine as sitting can cause back strain if the movement is not done right. Here are some tips to help protect your back as you sit.

When sitting down, follow these steps:

  • Make sure you can feel the chair behind you with your legs.

  • Place one foot slightly in front of the other.

  • The stomach muscles should be tightened as you bend from the knees, keeping your back straight.

  • Grip the armrests of the chair, or the sides of the seat if there’s no armrest.

  • Bend your knees while using your legs instead of your back to lower yourself into the chair.

  • Scoot your buttocks to the back of the chair until you’re in a comfortable position.

While sitting, you should:

  • Keep your feet flat on the floor and don’t cross your legs.

  • If necessary, place your feet on a small footrest so that they are fully supported.

  • Use a pillow or other type of support behind your lower back or between your shoulder blades as needed.

  • If you must sit for a long period of time, reposition yourself now and then. Get up from the chair several times an hour to move around and stretch.

Online Medical Reviewer: Bellendir, Trina, MSPT, CLT
Online Medical Reviewer: Images Reviewed by Staywell medical art team.
Online Medical Reviewer: Joseph, Thomas N., MD
Date Last Reviewed: 1/1/2018
© 2000-2018 The StayWell Company, LLC. 800 Township Line Road, Yardley, PA 19067. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.