Did you know back pain is the #2 reason why people go to the doctor? Back pain can make it difficult to concentrate on the work at hand, and it can leave people frustrated wondering, “when will this pain ever go away?” While there are many causes of back pain, we are going to take a look at some of the causes of lower back pain in the office setting.

The Causes of Lower Back Pain in the Office

Back pain hitting employee while at office

Some of the causes of lower back pain in the office may be:

  • Sitting in the same static position for hours on end.
  • Sitting with bad posture.
  • Using a chair with no support.
  • Stress/anxiety.
  • Lack of proper nutrition.
  • Too much caffeine.

(Let us know in the comments if you can think of other sources of back pain in the office).

There are many causes of lower back pain, so it may take some time to figure out exactly what is causing it, and then muster up the energy to do something about it.

How to Sit/Stand Properly

One culprit of lower back pain, and probably the most obvious, is poor posture.

While sitting, the proper ideal posture is:

  • The head should be in line atop the shoulders.
  • Sitting up straight with the shoulders relaxed.
  • The screen should be at eye level or just below.
  • The arms are at a 90 degree bend while typing.
  • The legs are at a 90 degree bend.
  • Feet are flat against the floor.
  • Some people also find relief when they put a rolled up towel behind their lower back to encourage the normal curve in the spine.

illustration of 3 poor seating postures and 1 correct seating posture

While standing the proper posture means:

  • The head is in line with the shoulders, hips, and feet.
  • Weight is equally distributed on both feet.

Problems start to arise when:

  • Hips are tilted too far to the anterior or posterior positions.
  • Shoulders slump.
  • Individuals lean too far forward or backwards.
  • Head tilts forward in the forward head-tilt position (which is common in today’s society with individuals looking at their smartphones for extended periods of time).

before and after posture of woman with lower back pain

Get up and move more:

One way to counteract low back pain is to get up and move. Sitting (or even standing) in the same position for hours can cause stiffness and result in pain. It is recommended to try to get up and move or stretch at least once an hour. Ideally, walking for an hour a day can help loosen up stiffness and can even help to realign the spine if it is out of alignment.

Treating the rest of the symptoms:


Low back pain could also be caused or exacerbated by your chair. Be sure to read up on what makes a chair ergonomic.

Stress and anxiety.

Stress and anxiety can cause a wildfire of problems, and one of those is back pain. The lower back muscles can tighten and get rigid when we are stressed out. Find out more about stress induced back pain.

Lack of proper nutrition.

healthy foods on table

Lack of particular nutrients can cause the body to cry out in the form of pain, stiffness, and weakness. Be sure to get a good multivitamin and try adding collagen to improve flexibility and elasticity to your tendons and ligaments. Be sure to consult with a doctor to determine your personal nutritional requirements.

Too much caffeine.

Everyone loves their morning cup of joe, but overdoing caffeine can tax the adrenals and cause more stress in the body, which can tighten the muscles and cause pain and stiffness. Opt instead for a refreshing and relaxing cup of caffeine free herbal tea.

Lack of muscle tone.

Living a sedentary life can cause the muscles to be weak, including the back muscles or complementary ab muscles. The back is responsible for keeping the body upright, whether sitting or standing, and when the muscles are weak, it can put strain on the muscles causing pain. Likewise, sometimes it’s not that the back muscles are too weak, but instead the ab muscles. If the abs are not strong enough, the back has to overcompensate. Take a look at our article, “The Importance of Core Strength in the Office and Beyond” for a few great exercises to strengthen the core.

Overuse of muscles.

photo giving example of correctly lifting boxes

Proper heavy weight boxes lifting against backache

Sometimes the back muscles can also become tense and inflamed from overuse, such as lifting objects incorrectly or performing strenuous exercises too often and not allowing the muscles to recover. It can be beneficial to take Epsom salt baths in order to relax the muscles, and also to stretch out the muscles. Lower back pain caused by overuse of the muscles can originate from many different places that the body is out of alignment, but here is one stretch on how to end lower back pain. Try out different stretches until you target the problem and be patient with the process.

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In Conclusion:

There are many causes of lower back pain, and we hope every reader struggling with lower back pain is able to hone in on the cause and remedy that back pain once and for all. For additional information on lower back pain, please read natural treatments for lower back pain. Wishing everyone a speedy recovery for their lower back pain!