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Posted on 05-01-2017
According to the Mayo Clinic, 50-70% of people in America sit on average anywhere from 6-9 hours a day. After you wake up, you sit and eat breakfast, watch the news, sit in your car and drive to work. Then you sit at a desk or a machine for your work day, sit back in the car for your commute home, plop on the couch after a sitting dinner to watch t.v., and then go to sleep. All to get up the next day and do it all over again. And even if you have an active lifestyle and exercise regularly, this does not negate the effects of prolonged sitting according to studies.
We know that prolonged sitting is a contributing factor to heart disease and obesity. It also prevents our joints from staying lubricated and healthy, which causes back pain.
Your spine is shaped with gentle curves that absorb the shock from our body weight when we move by distributing mechanical stress from body movement and gravity. When you sit, the spine curves into a C-shape, rounding the lower back, shoulders, and head. Our bodies aren’t built for this and as a result, this creates stress on the spine which can cause damage because instead of distributing all of your weight through your hips, knees, and ankles, you are bearing it all on your pelvis and spine.
How will you know you’re suffering from spinal damage? That’s an easy one- lots of lower back pain and delightful headaches. When a professional reminds you ad nauseum to sit with your back straight, shoulders back, and keep your head from thrusting forward, you’ll sit in this position for about three minutes and then slump. Even if you are sitting properly, there is still pressure put on your lumbar discs and your back muscles become overworked. Over time, your body’s natural posture will reshape to accommodate your “natural” sitting posture. As this happens, your body becomes less adept at standing, walking and running. This is when when the pain throughout your neck, shoulders, back, hips, and extremities occurs.
There are ways to prevent spinal injury and back pain if you find that you sit for long periods of time and this is what I will teach you as part of your treatment at my office.
Get a standing desk- you obviously will sit less and are more likely to move around in general. This way instead of taking standing/walking breaks, you can take a sitting break.
Set alarms- if you’re the type who is zoned in and can focus on a task at your desk, congratulations. However, set an alarm for every 30 minutes to remind you to get up, walk around for a little, and stretch.
Sit on an exercise ball- it may look a little funny when people come into the office, however sitting on the ball forces you to engage your core which strengthens your spine, and prevents you from slumping over.
Schedule Walking meetings- Instead of sitting around a conference table yawning and chowing down on donuts, schedule meetings with colleagues where you take a walk outside.
While these measures are preventative, they will not undo any current damage that has resulted from prolonged sitting. If your daily life revolves around sitting for long periods of time and you are experiences aches and pains, call Reiss Chiropractic to schedule a consultation so we can determine the best course of treatment.
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