Many of us are guilty of sitting around most of the time, whether we’re working or relaxing. However, cozy up in the same position for too long, and you’re bound to suffer from a stiff neck, tight shoulders, and back pain. Read on to find out how sitting for long periods can harm your body and the steps you can take to stay healthy, high functioning, and pain-free.
Is Sitting Too Much Causing Your Back Pain?
Holding any one position for an extended period will eventually lead to pain. Our bodies aren’t built to be sedentary. Sitting for more than eight hours a day can lead to serious illnesses, such as diabetes, obesity, and heart conditions. It can also lead to chronic pain in the neck and back. Here’s why:
- Your muscles are degenerating. While you’re sitting around all day, do you know what your muscles are doing? Pretty much nothing — except slowly wasting away. Sitting for long periods of time can weaken your muscles, gradually decreasing their ability to support your weight, leading to muscular atrophy.
- Your nerves are strained. Prolonged sitting can cause strained and pinched nerves, leading to pain and spasms — and possibly permanent nerve damage and total loss of sensation in the limbs.
- Your upper body slouches forward. Knowingly or not, you may end up slouching while sitting. Slouching puts weight on your neck muscles, causing you to develop poor posture, which can lead to other complications like joint problems.
- Your lumbar discs are crunched. Sitting takes your body out of its natural alignment, forcing your vertebrae to compress onto each other. This leads to biomechanical instability and chronic back pain.
How Do I Prevent Back Pain?
Uninterrupted sitting for hours on end will inevitably lead to back pain. Fortunately, with these simple lifestyle and workplace changes, you can prevent back problems from the comfort of your chair.
Adjust Your Position Frequently
Lumbar disc problems can be effectively addressed by changing positions every 15 to 30 minutes. Simply standing up while you’re on the phone or walking to the bathroom can alleviate discomfort. It’s also helpful to set alarms to remind yourself to stand up, walk, or stretch every now and then.
Observe Proper Posture
You’ve heard this many times, but it’s worth repeating. Practicing proper posture is crucial to preventing back pain. Be sure to sit up straight with your shoulders back and buttocks touching the end of your chair. Make sure not to slouch, and correct your posture immediately when you catch yourself doing so. Always pay attention to your posture and movements.
Tweak Your Workplace
Your chair needs to be at a height that allows you to sit with relaxed shoulders. It should also be adjusted so that you do not have to reach up or bend down when typing on your keyboard. Using a laptop stand can help with this.
Invest In An Ergonomic Chair
When sitting in an office chair for long periods of time, the natural tendency for most people is to slouch. Improper sitting posture can damage your spine, worsening your back pain. An ergonomic chair can help you support your back and maintain good posture while sitting. Get a chair with good lumbar support and make sure its proportions are suited to your body.
Getting about 20 minutes of exercise a day can help prevent back pain. Whether it’s by walking around the house or taking a jog around the block, movement can help counteract the effects of inactivity. Try to find simple exercises that you can incorporate into your daily routine to stay strong and healthy.
Eat A Healthy Diet
What you eat impacts how you feel. Some diets, especially those high in refined sugars and processed foods, can contribute to chronic back pain. Eating healthy foods such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grains will help maintain a healthy weight and decrease your back pain.
Among the many adverse effects of smoking is chronic back pain. This is because nicotine restricts blood flow to your spinal discs and reduces the nourishment your back muscles receive. This can either cause back pain or worsen existing back problems.
Practice Mindfulness And Meditation
Constant muscle tension due to stress can lead to back problems. Meditation, yoga, and other relaxation strategies will help decrease stress, reduce back pain, and manage the frustration and other psychological aspects that come with dealing with chronic pain.
Back Pain Relief In Rochester Hills, MI
Sitting for too long can lead to insufferable back pain. In most cases, you should be able to manage it yourself with simple lifestyle modifications. However, if the pain is persistent or severe, it’s best to contact a doctor to get the proper diagnosis and treatment.
Here at Ahlgren Spine in Rochester Hills, MI, our professional team delivers quality care and treatment for patients with back pain. With his impeccable skills, Dr. Bradley Ahlgren can address your back pain concerns and deliver the results you need to enjoy an enhanced quality of life in no time.