Sitting and Spinal Compression

man with back pain sitting at his desk

Sitting.  It’s what we do nowadays.  We love to sit and then sit some more.  At work.  At home.  In our cars. On the train.  The average American spends almost 8 hours a day sitting.

Once upon a time, just the work involved in reproducing daily life kept us moving.  We were always moving to keep our households running, getting around on foot and engaged in work which demanded physical labor.

Eliminating much of the labor involved in the average person’s day is progress, to be sure.  But it’s also led us to a less-than-healthy and predominantly sedentary lifestyle.

There is a strong connection between sitting and spinal compression.  When we sit, we’re treating our spines to a 300% increase in disc pressure.  And when we do as much of it as we do in our society, we’re effectively punishing our spines, making them weak and vulnerable to injury from even casual movement.

Let’s talk about some ways to minimize the damage sitting does to our spines.

Be an Opportunist

If you’ve got a job that demands you sit for the better part of the day, then it’s important you see and own opportunities to get up and move around.

Walk around the office.  Take the long route to the sandwich shop and then nibble as you walk.  Getting up whenever possible to stretch, move around or go grab some coffee is how you can give your poor, beleaguered spine a needed break.

Sit Right

Most of us don’t think much about the way we sit, but when we make a living from a steno chair, it’s vital that we do.

Having your rear end up against the back of the chair is a good place to start.  Your feet should be flat on the floor and your abdominals engaged to push your spine into an upright position in which there’s no pronounced lumbar curve.

If you have a sway back, a lumbar support cushion is a great way to support your back at work.  Also, be sure that your computer is positioned properly.  When sitting, your eyes should be in line with the center of the screen, not looking up or down.

The “E” Word

Some of you don’t like this word.  You make a face when it’s spoken.  But the “E” word is the key to combatting the effects of sitting on your spine and the compression it can lead to.

Exercise your core as a habit.  When your core muscles are strong, your spine has a better chance.  There are numerous ways to exercise the core, from abdominal exercises to planks.  Choose the activity that you feel best about doing and do it.

And by the way, exercise is not a dirty word.  It’s your best friend (and your spine’s).

Back & Body Medical

Concerned about sitting and spinal compression?  Come talk to the pain relief pros at Back & Body.  We practice chiropractic, sports medicine, physical therapy and acupuncture as a multi-disciplinarian team.

Contact us to discover an integrated care model that’s won awards.

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