Can bad posture cause a prolapsed disc?

A prolapsed disc is unlikely to result from poor posture alone. However, there are still many good reasons to stand and sit up straight. Situational factors like body positioning can play a key role in the pain and other symptoms associated with a prolapsed disc (a condition also known as a herniated disc).

But, can simple sitting really hurt your spine?

Whether or not you have been diagnosed with a prolapsed disc, you may notice pain in your neck or back that occurs whenever you are inactive for an extended period of time. Studies show that maintaining a static body position can often stress the spinal discs, facet joints and muscles that support the spine. Even though many people do not associate sedentary activities with injuries, sitting can actually place significant pressure on the spine. Therefore, it’s important to take frequent breaks from whatever you are doing — whether it is active or inactive — so that you can change positions periodically and protect your spine.

Always watch your posture

In order to avoid aggravating the symptoms of a prolapsed disc, it is important to practice good posture while:

  • Sitting. Flatten your back against your chair, keeping your shoulders back and your head centered over your spine. Position your knees level with (or slightly above) your hips and place your feet flat on the floor. If necessary, use a footrest.
  • Walking. Walk slowly, holding your head and shoulders erect and your stomach tucked in. Land each step between the middle of your foot and heel, then roll onto your toes and push off.
  • Lifting. Bend at your hips, keeping your chest forward, and hold the object close to your body. When changing direction, always lead with your hips.

Of course, even if you maintain perfect posture, you may still be unable to avoid neck or back pain and other symptoms of a prolapsed disc. But, if you are mindful of your body positioning while you sit, lift and walk, you will likely find that you have less discomfort.

Prolapsed disc treatment

If you were diagnosed with a prolapsed disc and have tried postural improvement and other nonsurgical treatment approaches without success, contact Laser Spine Institute. For patients who require surgery, we offer several minimally invasive outpatient procedures that are safer and effective alternatives to traditional open spine surgery.^ Our experts can explain your options and determine whether you are a candidate for our minimally invasive procedures.