What causes some people to have chronic back and leg pain when sitting from something as simple as taking a load off your feet? The question doesn’t have a simple answer.
Back pain occurs when any of the regions in your back are inflamed, including the spine, different muscle groups, and various nerve endings. Your posture is the most common cause of lower back pain when you sit. If your back of legs hurt when sitting, something more serious with your spine is going on.
Nevertheless, if you sit too long, you might lose the cushioning in the discs in your vertebrae. The result is chronic back pain, particularly when sitting. Although society describes sitting as “natural,” it isn’t always so. Sure, we’re expected to sit all the time since that’s the usual semi-resting position.
However, from an anatomical standpoint, the human body is designed to stand upright. In this way, your body is more supported by your core, and your weight is evenly distributed. You essentially push your body out of alignment when you sit down.
In spite of the fact that pain can be caused by taking a rest for too long, poor posture behind an office desk can also be a big reason leading to back and leg pain when sitting. Your spine may also be affected by improper lifting, trauma, infection, or carrying a heavy load over a long period of time.
Common Causes for Back and Leg Pain When Sitting
Back and leg pain when sitting often occurs as a result of sciatica, herniated discs, muscle strains, degenerative disc diseases, osteoarthritis, spinal stenosis, inactivity, and poor posture.
- Sciatica is a painful condition going down the back of the leg as a result of irritation or pressure on the sciatic nerve. From the lower back, down each leg, the sciatic nerve is the longest nerve in the body. Sensations are sent to the back of the thigh, the outer and back parts of the lower leg, as well as the soles of the feet.
- Herniated discs occur when the soft, jelly-like center of an intervertebral disc (the cushion between bones in your spine) pushes through a tear in the tough outer layer. Back, neck, arm or leg pain, numbness and weakness can result from pressure on the spinal cord or nerves.
- Muscle strains are injuries to muscles or tendons, which connect muscles to bones. When you lift something too heavy or when you overuse your muscles, you can strain your muscles.
- Over time, the discs in your spine break down, causing degenerative disc disease. Disks lose their cushioning ability as they break down, putting pressure on the nerves in your spine. If your back of legs hurt when sitting, it may simply be because of aging — which happens to everyone.
- As the spinal cord and nerves are housed within the spinal canal, spinal stenosis narrows this space. Back, neck, arm or leg pain, numbness and weakness can result from this narrowing.
The Real Question
How can you determine if your back and leg pain when sitting is caused by sitting and not some other cause? Sleeping on your side may also cause back, neck, or even shoulder pain. Being honest with yourself is crucial for getting the right diagnosis.
Sedentary lifestyles are common among Americans. Does your chair meet ergonomic standards? What’s your posture at your desk? Are you slouching? Is the pain getting worse over time? Your problem may be solved by answering some of these questions.
Sitting isn’t the real issue. Most people would have back pain problems if that were true. Sitting in the wrong chair, sitting for too long, sitting in an unhealthy position, as well as ignoring these problems for too long are all contributing factors. Furthermore, you might want to research the concept of proper sitting so you can recognize if you’re doing something wrong. Calf pain while sitting is a constant reminder for many patients that something deeper is going on.
Anyone who works a desk job can relate to just how likely it is for all of these factors to coincide, even though it may seem like a perfect storm of coincidences to some. Additionally, they probably suffer from back pain from sitting at a desk all day.
Sedentary Lifestyle: Back and Leg Pain When Sitting
Back and leg pain when sitting is commonly caused by sedentary lifestyles and desk jobs. In spite of the fact there are many ways to treat this problem, prevention is always the best option.
The latest ergonomic trends for U.S. workers are eye-opening:
- The average American spends more than eight hours a day sitting down.
- The death rate increases by 71 percent with a sedentary lifestyle.
- Physical fitness in the United States ranks 143 out of 168 countries.
- Physical inactivity is more prevalent among women than among men.
- Physical inactivity is linked to 6 percent of deaths worldwide.
- The risk of death is 55 percent lower for people who sit for less than 30 minutes at a time.
- Sedentary behavior increases the risk of cardiovascular disease by 147 percent.
- There is a 66 percent increase in cancer risk associated with sedentary behavior.
- The risk of diabetes increases by 112 percent when you sit for long periods of time.
- Depression, dementia, and Alzheimer’s are much more likely to develop in people who sit for more than seven hours a day.
- There has been an 83 percent increase in sedentary jobs since 1950.
- By moving just two minutes every hour, premature death risks can be reduced by 33 percent.
A pain-free future begins with being aware of the dangers of these lifestyles and career choices. As your back of legs hurt when sitting, remember these facts. Use them to help you make some healthier, ergonomic choices.
Treatment for Back and Leg Pain When Sitting
So what does back and leg pain when sitting have to do with trigger points? We’re glad you asked.
A trigger point can develop in any muscle, but the most common muscles treated with trigger point injections include muscles in your jaw, neck, hip, a deep muscle in your low back, the muscle that extends over your back, your shoulders, the front of your neck, and the sides of your head. When touched, they are tender and painful areas of muscle. Despite coming from the trigger point, they can cause pain elsewhere in the body.
In the buttocks, piriformis syndrome can be caused by trigger points that affect the piriformis muscle. During this condition, your sciatic nerve is compressed by the piriformis muscle. You will feel pain or numbness in your buttocks and down the back of your leg as a result. If the back of legs hurt when sitting, you can envision what’s happening in that area of your body.
Injections for trigger points are used to treat pain caused by these trigger points. Various conditions can be treated with these injections, including neck pain, back pain, shoulder pain, arm pain, calf pain while sitting, myofascial pain syndrome, and even fibromyalgia. Professionals such as doctors and physical therapists perform the injections. Medications will be injected into the trigger point by your pain management professional. There are two types of medication that may be used: Local anesthetics and corticosteroids. With injections usually lasting only a few minutes, the local anesthetic will numb the area, and the corticosteroid will reduce inflammation and pain.
More on Trigger Point Injections
Whenever your pain management specialist locates a trigger point manually prior to injecting medication, you are likely to feel some pain. When the needle and medicine are inserted, you may feel a stinging and burning sensation. You may feel a brief increase in pain when the needle tip touches the trigger point. Despite being uncomfortable, this pain indicates the needle has been inserted correctly.
Physical therapy or massage therapy may be combined with trigger point injections in some cases. As a result, the injections can be more effective and provide long-term pain relief. If over-the-counter pain medication, heat therapy, massage therapy, myofascial release, and physical therapy have not improved your trigger point pain, a trigger point injection may be right for you. Pain relief, inflammation reduction, improved range of motion, and muscle function are all benefits of trigger point injections.
Injections in trigger points are generally considered safe and can provide pain relief to patients with back and leg pain when sitting who do not find relief with more conservative treatments, like over-the-counter pain medications or physical therapy. Depending on the affected muscle, injections can also improve range of motion and overall muscle functionality.
A pain management specialist needs to perform a thorough physical exam and rule out other possible causes of your pain before recommending trigger point injections. Among them are spinal issues, such as degenerative arthritis, a herniated disk, or spinal stenosis; structural causes of back pain; muscle strains; and calf pain while sitting.
Wellness and Pain Can Help
A range of options for back and leg pain when sitting are available at Wellness and Pain. We offer conservative treatments, routine visits, and minimally invasive quick-recovery procedures. We can keep you free of problems by providing lifestyle education and home care advice to help you avoid and manage issues, quickly relieving the inhibiting lifestyle conditions for when your back of legs hurt when sitting.
At Wellness and Pain, we personalize patient care plans based on each patient’s condition and unique circumstances to relieve pain, improve mobility and mental space, and improve your overall health.