Low Back Pain in the Office: Question

A 35 year old office worker presents with a recent episode of lower back pain and left buttock pain from prolonged sitting at work. Is there anything physiotherapy can help with?


Clinical examination

In sitting, the patient finds it sore, stiff and tiring to sit upright. It is more comfortable to slouch at the beginning after it starts to hurt after a few minutes. In standing, the patient finds it painful to bend all the way forward and it is very stiff and painful bending backward.



A combination of education, sitting posture adjustment and exercises help to address the cause of the problem and manage appropriately. Manual therapy helped to reduce the time it took become pain free.

As this is a sustained posture related issue, understand and be able to recognise ‘’prolonged sitting’’ is the most important part of the management. "Get up and move" will be a good first step.

After adding a lumbar support in sitting, the patient feels sitting is a lot more tolerable and less symptomatic.

The patient also responded well with repeated extension exercises, where his buttock symptom is centralizing (shifting towards the back) during exercises and the entire symptoms are abolished after the exercises. This particular symptom change often means a good prognosis for lower back pain.

Although extension exercise is commonly beneficial for lower back pain patients, this is not a one size fits all remedy. Please do not try it on your own without having an assessment done by medical professionals. 


If you have any questions regarding your back pain or are interested in seeing if we can help you, please give us a call at (02) 8411 2050. At Thornleigh Performance Physiotherapy, we can give you an accurate diagnosis and treatment, to help you get back in action as soon as possible. We are conveniently located near Beecroft, Cherrybrook, Hornsby, Normanhurst, Pennant Hills, Waitara, Wahroonga, Westleigh, West Pennant Hills, and West Pymble.