Increased spinal height using propped slouched sitting postures: Innovative ways to rehydrate intervertebral discs

Appl Ergon. 2018 Jan;66:9-17. doi: 10.1016/j.apergo.2017.07.016. Epub 2017 Aug 5.


Background: Upright and slouched sitting are frequently adopted postures associated with increased intradiscal pressure, spinal height loss and intervertebral disc pathology.

Objectives: To examine the effects of two sustained propped slouched sitting (PSS) postures on spinal height after a period of trunk loading.

Methods: Thirty-four participants without a history of low back pain (LBP) were recruited (age 24.4 ± 1.6 years). Subjects sat in (1) PSS without lumbar support and (2) PSS with lumbar support for 10 min, after a period of trunk loading. Spinal height was measured using a stadiometer.

Results: Mean spinal height increase during PSS without lumbar support was 2.94 ± 3.63 mm and with lumbar support 4.74 ± 3.07 mm.

Conclusions: Both PSS with and without lumbar support significantly increased spinal height after a period of trunk loading (p < 0.001). Such PSS postures can provide a valuable alternative to upright sitting and may be recommended for recovering spinal height in the working environment following periods of loading.

Keywords: Ergonomics; Sitting posture; Spine.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Body Height
  • Female
  • Healthy Volunteers
  • Humans
  • Intervertebral Disc / physiology*
  • Low Back Pain / prevention & control*
  • Lumbar Vertebrae / physiology
  • Male
  • Orthotic Devices*
  • Posture / physiology*
  • Spine / physiology*
  • Weight-Bearing / physiology
  • Young Adult