Sitting Disease and Its Impact on Your Spine
Someone recently said that sitting is the new smoking. Unfortunately, most of us are asked to sit for hours on end at office jobs, typing away at computers, sitting in meetings, and on our seemingly endless commutes.
If your spine could talk to you, it would be screaming and begging you to stand up! When you stand up, the spine and discs should fall naturally into alignment and minimizes pressure on the lower back. Sitting, however, literally forces the vertebrae in the lower part of your back to crunch onto each other, putting a great deal more force on the discs, which left untreated, will result in chronic lower back pain.
How Sitting Hurts Your Back and Neck
After a long workday sitting at your desk, do you feel as refreshed as when you arrived at the office that morning? The answer is likely no.
Spending much of your day in a seated position can leave your spine sore, stiff, and in pain. That’s because too much sitting, while it may be relaxing, puts stress on the muscles and discs of your back and neck. This position results in tightness of your hip flexors such as the iliopsoas muscle and pressure and some ischemia (restricted blood flow) of your buttock muscles—the gluteus maximus. This muscle is an important supporter of the spine.
Also, the longer you stay seated, the more likely you are to let your posture slide. Slouching can cause the spinal ligaments to stretch beyond their healthy limit, and poor posture can strain your spinal discs. This often results in increased strain of the outer annulus of the disc and can increase disc bulging and disc pressures. In addition, while sitting, we are often working on a computer or writing at desks that results in a forward head position, rounded shoulder posture—aka “poor posture syndrome.”
A day glued to your office chair may lead to an isolated episode of back or neck pain and soreness. However, if you spend day after day sitting, you can cause significant spine issues over time. Regular, long bouts of sitting will speed up the wear and tear on your spinal discs, and neck and back pain can become a daily occurrence as opposed to an occasional problem.
Sitting for too long might be the curse of the computer age, but it doesn’t have to be. Taking frequent breaks, getting regular exercise, and including comprehensive chiropractic care as a part of your overall health program will prevent back, leg, and neck pain, keep the spine aligned and allow you to find perfect posture effortlessly while you work.
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