Health & Wellness
June 19, 2023

Can Prolonged Sitting Contribute to Discogenic Back Pain?

office workers sitting in front of their desk

Discogenic pain is a type of lower back pain that is caused by damage to the discs in the spine[1]. Although prolonged sitting is not necessarily the cause of discogenic back pain, it can exacerbate the symptoms.

In this blog, we discuss how prolonged sitting can contribute to discogenic back pain and the steps you can take to treat it.

What is Discogenic Back Pain?

Discogenic back pain is a type of chronic back pain that originates from spinal disc issues. The discs act as cushions between the vertebrae, and when they become damaged or degenerate, they can no longer provide adequate cushioning, leading to pain. Discogenic pain is often worse with activities that involve sitting, bending or twisting the spine, such as lifting, and it can make it difficult to find a comfortable position[1].

What are the Causes of Discogenic Back Pain?

The main cause of discogenic back pain is the wear and tear that occurs on the intervertebral discs as we age. It often happens to the lumbar facet joints as they take on additional load with age. The discs act as shock absorbers between the vertebrae, and over time they lose their ability to do so effectively. This can lead to the development of small tears in the outer layer of the disc, known as the annulus. These tears can allow the inner gel-like substance, known as the nucleus, to leak out and put pressure on the surrounding nerves. This can cause pain, numbness, and weakness in the affected area[2].

How Prolonged Sitting Can Increase Discogenic Back Pain

Prolonged sitting can contribute to discogenic low back pain because it puts extra pressure on the discs. When you sit for long periods of time, the discs can become damaged and start to degenerate[3]. If you have discogenic back pain, it is important to take breaks from sitting as often as possible. This will help to reduce the amount of pressure on the discs and allow them to heal. Additionally, you may want to consider wearing a back brace or using a lumbar support pillow to help take the pressure off of the discs.

Discogenic Back Pain Care

There are a variety of care plans available for discogenic back pain, and the best approach depends on the severity of the pain and the underlying cause. For mild to moderate pain, over-the-counter pain medications, heat or ice therapy, and gentle stretching can often provide relief. If these conservative measures are not effective, your doctor may recommend steroid injections or physical therapy. In some cases, surgery may be necessary to relieve the pain[4]. If you are living with discogenic back pain, there are things you can do to help manage your symptoms and improve your quality of life. 

In addition to the care mentioned above, staying active and maintaining a healthy weight can help reduce the amount of stress on your spine. If your pain is preventing you from being active, ask your doctor about low-impact exercises that can help keep you active without causing any further pain or damage.

The Bottom Line

While the jury is still out on whether or not prolonged sitting can directly contribute to discogenic back pain, there is certainly a correlation between the two. Those who suffer from back pain are more likely to spend more time sitting, and vice versa. Additionally, those who spend more time sitting are more likely to suffer from other health problems, such as obesity and heart disease, which can indirectly lead to back pain.

The chiropractors at ATLAS Chiropractic provide Ergonomic Health Talks and Workstation Consultations. If you would like this for your office, contact our office at

If you would like to learn how our experienced chiropractors can help ease your back pain, book an appointment here.


  1. SpineOne. (2021). ‘I’ve Been Diagnosed with Discogenic Pain. What Does that Mean?’ Available at: <,all%20degenerated%20discs%20cause%20pain.> [Accessed 27 October 2022].
  2. Daradia. (2021). ‘Lumbar Discogenic Back Pain: What you need to know’ Available at: <,whose%20exact%20cause%20is%20unknown.> [Accessed 27 October 2022].
  3. Physiopedia. (2022). ‘Lumbar Discogenic Pain’ Available at: <> [Accessed 27 October 2022].
  4. Verywellhealth. (2022). ‘Discogenic Pain Overview and Treatment’ Available at: <> [Accessed 27 October 2022].

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