A comparison of the effects of two sitting postures on back and referred pain

Spine (Phila Pa 1976). 1991 Oct;16(10):1185-91. doi: 10.1097/00007632-199110000-00010.


This study compared the effects of sitting with portable supports in either a kyphotic or lordotic posture on low-back and referred pain. Two hundred ten patients with low-back and/or referred pain were randomly assigned to either a kyphotic posture or lordotic posture group. The kyphotic and lordotic postures were facilitated by the use of a flat foam cushion or lumbar roll, respectively. Pain location, back pain, and leg pain intensity were assessed over a 24-48-hour period under both standardized clinical settings and general sitting environments. When sitting with a lordotic posture, back and leg pain were significantly reduced and referred pain shifted towards the low back. This study demonstrates that in general sitting environments a lumbar roll results in: 1) reductions in back and leg pain; and 2) centralization of pain. These findings do not apply to patients with stenosis or spondylolisthesis, whose symptoms may be aggravated by use of a lumbar roll.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Back Pain / physiopathology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Kyphosis / physiopathology
  • Lordosis / physiopathology
  • Male
  • Orthotic Devices
  • Pain
  • Pain Measurement
  • Posture*
  • Time Factors