What started out as two weeks turned into an indefinite work from home situation for most. While sitting at a desk for 8 hours per day you may think that you couldn’t possibly be doing your body any harm because, after all, you’re just sitting. Yet very few are prepared for the physical effects of a work from home lifestyle. It’s important that people who will be working from home for months to come to become proactive about their physical form while working.
The spine is the body’s central support structure. It needs to be rigid for support while maintaining much-needed flexibility for movement. The human body is designed to stand upright. By standing upright, the bones maintain more strength, exercises the muscles that hold them together, and allow better blood circulation. However, certain lifestyle habits like sitting around all day can cause significant changes to your spine, which can quickly escalate to acute or chronic pain.
Four Complications from sitting down for long periods of time are:
1. Poor posture
Sitting in one position for a long period locks your body in place, which makes it more difficult for you to move when you stand up. When you experience that stiff or burning sensation when you stand up, that’s your body trying to recover from the unnatural position that you’ve locked it in. Most of the time, this can lead to a pronounced slouch forming in your upper body. Developing poor posture can lead to serious issues like kyphosis, joint problems, and improper circulation. While corrective sitting and physical therapy can help with this problem, early detection is often the best way to prevent poor posture when sitting down.
2. Nerve irritation
Sitting for long periods can cause extensive pressure on your back, causing it to contract and compress itself. This can lead to pinched nerves, which can trigger symptoms like neck pain, back pain, and knots in the body. Left untreated, pinched nerves can progress from acute pain to permanent nerve damage because of the consistent strain on your nerves. This can also lead to a loss of sensation in the limbs, general numbness, or weakness in the arms and legs.
3. Muscular degeneration
The muscles in your body need consistent exercise and movement to keep their mass and ability to support your weight. Sitting for long periods can lead to muscular atrophy, where muscle groups like your glutes and leg muscles become unable to support their own weight. Sitting causes your hip flexor muscles to contract, which can increase your risk of developing hip-related disorders
4. Increased weight gain
Moving around is one of the body’s best ways to burn calories. If you sit down all day, your digestive system stops running efficiently, which leads to increased weight gain. This weight gain usually pools around the thoracic and lumbar regions, where they can interfere with the normal function of many important organs by applying enough pressure.
Three adjustments that you can make to your lifestyle to prevent back pain:
1. Get an ergonomic chair and/or standing desk
Working and sitting down for an extended period is unavoidable. In these situations, choosing an ergonomically friendly chair that comes with support for the lumbar region can help diminish the risks of developing back pain. It’s also crucial to buy a desk that can work with your setup, and relieve some of the pressure you normally experience when sitting down. A standing desk will encourage you to alternate standing and sitting and shifting weight from side to side.
2. Practice proper posture both sitting down and standing up
The proper way to sit down is with your back straight, shoulders back, and your buttocks touching the back of your chair. The aim of this sitting position is to replicate the natural curvature of the spine when the body is at rest, keeping your neck inline with your shoulders.
3. Take breaks and exercise
One of the best ways to prevent any back pain or complications from sitting down is to limit the time that you spend in your chair. You can get up, go for a walk, move around the house, or lie down. The crucial thing to remember here is to avoid locking your body in one position for a long period. Set an alarm on your phone to vibrate every 15-30 minutes to remind you to stand up, walk around, or stretch.
Back pain from sitting all day can be an early indicator of more severe complications and needs to be diagnosed immediately. At CostaSpine we have extensive experience with the different factors that can cause back pain. It is always important to look after our body and spine. Get in contact with us for your check up to keep you working pain free.