Living with Chronic Pain

What Is a Sitting Disability?


A “sitting disability” is the result of a medical condition causing severe pain when an individual is sitting. It is typically a symptom of an underlying condition, such as lower back pain, sciatic nerve pain, piriformis syndrome, or failed back surgery syndrome. It may also be related to fibromyalgia, myofascial pain syndrome, pudendal neuralgia, or coccydynia. The period of time sitting comfortably varies per individual.

Challenges of a sitting disability

Sitting is a common occurrence in everyday lifestyles. A sitting disability often causes difficulty traveling, working, relaxing, participating in recreational activities, or conducting other daily functions. Many public locations (e.g., restaurants, theaters, airplanes, places of employment, etc.) do not allow individuals to lay down, walk, or stand as needed.

Additional challenges of a sitting disability include less accessibility and accommodations. Educating oneself and providing accommodations can improve quality of life for those who cannot sit for long periods.


Helpful suggestions for individuals with a sitting disability include the following:

  • Take frequent breaks from sitting to stand or walk.
  • Sit on an inflatable or ergonomic cushion or pillow.
  • Sit in an aisle seat to make standing and walking more accessible.
  • Use a standing desk when operating a computer.

Additional sources: Sitting Disability, Medium, and Disability Secrets

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