Sitting Linked to Back Pain
Did you know that you are actually more likely to have back pain from sitting all day than a person who works on their feet all day? Sitting for long periods of time is not only linked with heart disease and obesity, as you’d likely expect, but with lower back pain as well! The seated position causes muscles in the front of your hips (hip flexor muscles) to become tight and weak. Slouching forward is also common when sitting at a desk, which can lead to shoulder and neck pain.
You may be asking yourself; is it even possible to maintain perfect posture for the entire day, every day, for the rest of my life? The simple answer is no. You may have heard in the past to “fix your posture” and “straighten up” from healthcare professionals or even your parents. Research tells us that there simply is no “correct” posture, and that forcing people into a specific posture has very little to no effect on back, shoulder or neck pain.
Try this experiment out for yourself. Attempt to maintain this perfect posture for even 30 minutes straight. Its nearly impossible. Even if you are able to complete this challenge, you’ll notice that you are feeling uncomfortable and certain muscles of the back are exhausted. The body isn’t meant to stay in this “perfect posture” forever.
So, if there’s no “good” or “bad” posture, why are back pain, shoulder pain or headaches so common in those working in an office?
Its simple. The body craves movement. The more that you move and change position, the better you feel. There are ways that you can work a desk-job and reduce your risk of having pain.
Once every hour, stand up and stretch. The specific stretches are not necessarily important, but what is important is that you’re up and you’re moving. Be sure to move your legs, trunk, shoulders and neck in any way that feels good. This should only take one minute or less and may potentially save you from years of back problems.
If you’re able to, go for a walk over lunch break. Even if its within the building, it will still serve the purpose of getting your body moving and adding variety to your body’s position.
Try these tips out and share them with others!
Thanks for reading!
Dr. Cameron Dennis, PT, DPT
Back on Track Therapy and Wellness