T Nation

Preventing Low Back Pain From Sitting All Day


There’s plenty of people that deal with lower back pain so hopefully you guys can help me out.

I’m in school right now to be a dentist, and we’re told all the time about how a large percentage of dentists have to eventually retire due to back or neck pain or some other musculoskeletal issue from their job. Low back pain for males being the most common. They basically sit, hunched over for 8 hours a day 5 days a week. Like a lot of desk jobs but with more forward lean and rounding back.

I want to be proactive and try to prevent this from happening to me if possible, as ideally I still have 40-50 more years before I retire (since I haven’t even started yet technically). My daily posture sucks and I try to correct that, but I’ll admit it’s hard. I’m looking for suggestions for exercises or mobility drills or stretching that I can do regularly to help prevent low back pain and neck pain.

Right now I have a few ideas:
Thoracic extensions
Pec/Lat stretches
Hip flexor stretches
glute activates

Overall I think this would take under 10 minutes easily. Does anyone have some suggestions on what to add or remove? Any tips for improving posture when sitting? Or any weight training exercises I should throw in to my normal routine? I do face pulls right now but that’s about the only exercise I can think of that might help to counteract some upper back pain, not really any lower back or neck though.


There’s 2 aspects here.

  • Ensuring you have the right range to get in a good position
  • Having the right amount of tone to hold the position all day

You’re probably fine, at your age, for point one. If not, some basic T spine and shoulder stuff should sort you.

For the other, facepulls will help but in the end it won’t magically fix things. You need to make a concerted effort to sit with good posture and hold it all day.

Set an alarm every 30 minutes to prompt you to check how you’re sitting.

Once the habit is established, you’ll be fine.


I rely on the 30s thoracic drill by Max Shank, on this website for upper back, and the bent knee iron crosses, demonstrated by Joe Defranco, is one of the best movements I have done for lower back. The traditional yoga push up also great for lower spine.