Sitting for prolonged periods of time is commonplace in the modern home and office environment. Unfortunately this immobility is also attributed to many serious health conditions, including: heart conditions, obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol. But can sitting down too long at home or the office also be the cause of your back pain?
Unfortunately, the answer to this common question is simply: “Yes”. Unfortunately many people don’t understand the link between prolonged sitting and back pain, or how inactive they actually are on a daily basis. If you were to take the time to calculate how much time is spent in a seated position however the results can be quite confronting.
Common Daily Average Time Spent Seated :
- Office: 8 or more hours per day
- Eating Meals: 1 – 2 hours per day
- Driving: 1 – 4 hours per day
- Watching TV or using digital devices: 1 – 4 hours per day
On average, it is estimated that each person spends more than 12 hours of his/her day in a seated position; and many people don’t engage in a supportive postural position during this time. In fact, prolonged sitting, even if in a biomechanically effective position, can wreak havoc on the spine and chain of surrounding muscles that support it.
Furthermore, postural stress is one of the most common causes of back pain. Postural stress can be contributed to by many factors other than prolonged sitting, such as heavy lifting, lying down in a poor position and/or sleeping in a poor position. Sitting is one of the more problematic factors however as your back is exposed to between 40 – 90% more pressure in a seated position, than whilst standing. People sitting in a hunched or slouched position are especially at risk of experiencing the upper limits of this negative pressure.
The following strategies may be effective to reduce both the muscular impacts of sitting for prolonged periods, and the likelihood of other associated health concerns:
- Adopt a Dynamic Sitting Strategy – Make sure you regularly shift your position while sitting, this will ensure that the muscular stress is distributed evenly across your body.
- Take Frequent Short Breaks – Taking frequent short breaks is an effective strategy to minimise the detrimental effects of sitting for prolonged periods; optimally, you should take a short break (2-5 mins) every half-hour. Walking or performing quick stretching exercises is a great way to relax the upper and lower back muscles, and promote increased blood circulation.
- Use an Ergonomic Office Chair – Ergonomic office chairs are designed to offer maximum lower back support. You can make prolonged sitting much less stressful on your body by using either an ergonomic office chair, or a sit-to-stand desk.
- Drink Water – Muscles require adequate hydration to function correctly. It’s therefore highly important to drink water regularly to maintain hydration.
- Exercise – Regular gentle movement (30 mins of cardio exercise 3 x per week) not only assists to transport hydrated blood into muscles, it also reduces the body’s stress levels and promotes improved sleep.
- Remedial Massage – Regular Remedial Massage therapy is a highly effective way to manage muscular tension associated with the spine, and reduce waste products from overworked and/or weak back muscles contributing to pain and discomfort.
If you would like to speak to a qualified Remedial Massage therapist, give us a call or head to our website to book in now.
0483 807 887
Can Sitting for Prolonged Periods Cause Back Pain?
Remedial Massage Melbourne