We commonly associate back pain with injuries – but are we right to do so? While it’s certainly true that people can injure their backs lifting heavy objects or in accidents, evidence is mounting that sitting still
could be even worse for your back than previously realized.
What Does Sitting Have to Do with Back Pain?
Sitting down seems to be a benign activity, but it’s not. As we grow increasingly attached to our computers, tablets, and smart phones, we also spend less time moving our bodies. And it turns out that all that sitting has affected our health. People who move around a lot tend to have better posture than people who don’t. Good posture relies on muscle tone and fitness. People who have a low percentage of muscle in their bodies may lack the strength to keep their backs straight while they sit. The fact that we spend so much of our time hunched over electronic devices hasn’t helped, either. In fact, 2008 marked the coining of a new phrase to describe the wear and tear caused by this phenomenon. It’s called Text Neck, and it could be turning into an epidemic. The human head weighs 12 pounds, but when we curve our necks downward to peer at a screen, the pressure on our spines increases dramatically. Over time, repeated stress on the cervical spine can lead to spinal degeneration and chronic pain.
The Solution is Simple
The solution to our sedentary problem is a simple one. Here are some tips to help you reduce the back pain caused by sitting
- Sit up straight with your back against your seat, your shoulders touching the backrest, and your knees lower than your hips. Your feet should be flat on the ground and your elbows should be at a comfortable angle.
- Align your computer screen so it is even with your eyebrows. This position ensures that you won’t have to strain your neck or spine to look at the screen.
- Take frequent breaks. When you sit for hours at a time, your spine compresses and pain may be the result. By standing up, stretching, or even walking around, you give your back a break.
- Get more exercise. You don’t have to exercise every day, but even walking or Yoga can help elongate your spine and reduce pain.
We all have to sit sometimes, but if you sit too much your spine may end up paying the price. Using these simple tips can help you keep your spine in the proper alignment and reduce the risk that you’ll end up with a chronic pain problem.