Getting the Correct Sitting Posture

Sitting for prolonged periods of time can increase lower back pain.  Adopting a correct sitting posture is one of the simplest and easiest things that anyone can do to reduce these postural stresses and strains.This is much easier to do than many people think.

The key to correct sitting posture is to prevent your lower back slumping or sagging outward. You need to have a ‘neutral spine ’- not too upright and not sagging backwards. No matter how diligent you are you will forget to sit up straight after a short while.  I find that the easiest solution to this problem is to use a lumbar roll.


A lumbar roll is a posture support that you place in the small of your back, around your belt line, to support the lowest curve in your back and prevent slumping. The drawing below illustrates correct sitting posture using a lumbar roll:

The posture support can be a small towel rolled up and placed in the small of your back or can be a roll pre-made and bought from a shop. Sometimes chairs have adjustable ones built into them. Either way, regular use of a roll will help ensure you have better sitting posture.

This is my favourite lumbar support cushion- the classic *Mckenzie Lumbar Roll . I have several of these and have been using them for years.

There is no hard and fast rule about any sitting posture. We are all different shapes and sizes. Some of us have deep curves in our lower back, others more shallow ones. So my advice would be to experiment with different sized rolls to start with. You may also find you need different sizes depending on the seat you are in. For example in a sofa with limited support you may need a fatter roll than in an office chair (but not necessarily!) You have to work out which is best for you.

sitting posture, correct posture, using a lumbar rollStart with a towel to work out the best size. When you are happy with the best size for you then you may want to buy one. If you work in an office I would recommend you buy a lumbar roll with an elastic bit at the back which goes over the chair back – this stops the roll slipping and falling off whenever you stand up.

Of course the very best solution is to buy a good chair. There is a bewildering choice of chairs on the market and I would urge you to try them out to find one that suits your budget and shape.The key things to look out for:

  • Height adjustment - up and down
  • Tilt - can you angle the seat (forward tilt will slightly increase the forward tilt of your pelvis and this increases the lumbar curve)
  • Back support adjustment - can you angle the back rest separately to the seat.
  • Lumbar support - how adjustable is it, can you use your own lumbar roll?

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I have also written a longer section on lumbar support cushions if you want to read more.

The Importance of Posture
Office ergonomics and Correct Sitting posture
Best Mattress and Sleeping position
Proper Lifting Techniques

Normal Good Posture





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