Does Sitting Cross-Legged Cause Back Pain?

Blogs, / By Koh Peh Chia

I totally understand how comfortable it is to sit with leg crossed. It becomes more common for women as this sitting posture might look more ”ladylike” or elegant in some way. Even though it seem harmless to cross our legs when sitting and may not pose any immediate risks, it could be the cause of your lower back pain. This article I would like to share on how sitting cross-legged can cause you back pain.

How does it cause back pain?

 Prolonged sitting cross-legged can cause muscular imbalance between our right and left low back which can lead to injuries caused by tightness, weakness, and reduced range of motion.

The most noticeable sign is you may have muscle imbalance in your hips and lower back. You might experience lopsided posutre and posterior pelvic tilt, which occurs when the top of your pelvis rolls backward. Over time, this poor hip and spine alignment can increase load across your low back.

And now you can try to imagine if you sit like this continually for hours each day. Yes it makes us impossible to sit perfectly straight and it could also lead to conditions like sciatica.

Conditions that Cause Low Back Pain by Sitting Cross-legged

If you often sit cross-legged and it has become a habit, it might be hard for you to stop. This sitting posture may lead you to have these conditions:

1. Lower cross syndrome 

This condition is caused by muscular imbalances and poor posture. Uneven load and strain across the body caused by sitting cross-legged can eventually lead to discomfort and pains. Prolonged sitting can shorten the hip flexor muscles make you have weaker buttock muscles and core.

2. Sciatica

Sciatica is caused when your sciatic nerve is compressed and irritated. This can lead to some symptoms like numbness, weakness, and tingling.

When you cross your legs, it creates asymmetry along your hip and pressure on your bottom which can squeeze your muscles and sciatic nerve.

3. Greater trochanteric pain syndrome 

This is a common hip condition that causes pain outside of your bottom and hip region.

When you cross your legs, the greater trochanter ( the top part of the thigh bone) can compress on several the muscles and tendons, in which causes inflammation and pain in these areas.


If you are experiencing low back pain and also have the habit of sitting cross-legged, this may be a good time to change your sitting posture. If your low back pain is sereve or worsen, do contact us or book an appointment with us.


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Through her clinical experience, she then gained valuable experience in treating professional dancers and gymnastics athletes. Her interest in pre and post-natal physiotherapy was piqued as she finds women having difficulties maintaining an active lifestyle pre and post-childbirth. She then pursued a STOTT Rehab Pilates Instructor certification to help with this group and women. She also highlights her belief that prevention is a better way to handle injuries.