Sitting too much is one of the main reasons behind the development of neck and back pain. It is no wonder that the employees working in the IT industry, who have to be in the sitting position at the desk or glued to the computer for long hours suffer from stiffness of muscles, neck strain, spilled discs and even cervical spinal injury. This often leads to cardiovascular diseases, shortened hamstrings and other postural problems later.
Sitting too much is not the natural posture of the human body
Dr. Jan Lefkowitz, a chiropractor in New York City, attributes the nerve and joint problems to the long working hours of the people. He says that most of his patients put in around fifty to eighty hours of work in a week. The skeletal structure of the human body is primarily made to stand.
Kelly McGonigal, Ph.D., a health psychologist at Stanford University and a leading expert in neck and back pain supports his view by saying that the weight of the body is properly distributed only in the standing position. But while sitting, your spine is not in its natural curvilinear position which strains the back muscles.
He believes that sitting too much at the desk puts tremendous pressure on the body and mind and 80 percent of people in America will have to suffer from chronic pain due to this.
“Holding the bad sitting posture for twenty minutes can deform the ligaments,” Lefkowitz says.
Sometimes, bad postures can create serious problems like slipped discs.
Sitting Too Much Leads to Spinal injuries?
It is always better to prevent the occurrence of spinal injuries. You can do this by sitting in an erect posture always. Doctors prescribe three postures that keep your spine healthy. Your lower back should remain backward, reaching to the back of the chair, the upper back should curve outward and lastly the neck should be kept in a forward position.
“Avoiding slouching is essential for maintaining a good sitting position. Sit upright such that your waist and lower back is in contact with the back-rest of the chair,” Lefkowitz advises.
Always give adequate support to your lumbar region and keep the chair close to the desk. You need not have to use any special cushion for this and can even do it by putting a small pillow or a rolled up sweater between your back and the back-rest of the chair. This will help you to curve your lower back inward.
Apart from this, take breaks from the sitting position every twenty minutes. Standing for some times releases the tension in the back and neck muscles. This is especially important for desk workers.
“Standing up facilitates the blood flow in the legs and relaxes the ligaments,” Lefkowita says. Stretching exercises like the turning of the head, stretching of the neck and moving the hands in circular motions from time to time in the sitting position also helps. “In fact, doing these simple movements is a better option than your weekly visit to yoga classes,” MaGonigal opines.
Some Tips to Keep in Mind If You Are Sitting Too Much
- Take regular breaks from your sitting position, preferably at least once in an hour. Stand up and walk few paces inside the room.
- Do some stretching and bending movements throughout the day from time to time. It could be just bending backward with your hands on the waist or lower back.
- Make it a point to take your phone calls in the standing position; while walking inside the room hall.
- Take care to maintain a proper sitting position. Your feet should be touching the floor; waist and butt should touch the back-rest of the chair and keep your head straight.
- While there is little you can do to avoid your work, even if it involves sitting too much, you can at least be free from the associated postural problem and pain by following these simple tips.
Do share with us steps that you take to relief pains to your neck or back as a result of sitting too much.