Sitting at a desk for long intervals of time can cause back pain or it can worsen already existing back pain. The main reason behind this is that sitting in a static posture increases stress in the back, consequently adding pressure to muscles of the back and spinal discs.
Reasons why people working at desk jobs get pain:
People have a natural tendency to slouch over or down in the chair when sitting in an office. This posture overstretches spinal ligaments and strains spinal disc and structures surrounding the spine. Over time, this posture can lead to derangement in spinal structure that can pose serious complications. All the current research on sitting is currently demonstrating how the act of sitting is akin to smoking with respect to public health. Sitting causes back pain for two specific reasons:
- Abnormal Alignment
- Abnormal Movement
“When you sit, the discs of your spine have to tolerate upwards of 300 to 400 pounds of pressure compared to standing. Additionally, sitting shuts off neural mechanisms important for not just normal spinal function, but brain function. Sitting down for extended periods of time will turn off the musculature in the glutes, legs and calves. This stops the lymphatic system (a passive system driven by muscle contraction), resulting in congestion of tissues around the ankles, calves, knees, hamstrings, and glutes; all the important structures to a healthy flexible body,” Daniel Gonzalez, DC explains.
How to prevent back pain:
In order to prevent back pain, take standing breaks after regular intervals of sitting. Standing up from the desk and walking after regular intervals keeps the muscles stretched so that they are no more tightened. Dr. Gregory Funk offers another way to prevent back pain, “We know that stretching is key to limiting your pain at your desk job. If you keep the muscles loosened and lengthened at work, they will not tighten up over the course of the day and you’ll have less discomfort. Of course, ideally, the sit/stand desks are a fantastic option. Optimally, I’d prefer to see people alternate throughout the day between sitting in a chair, standing, and sitting on one of those large exercise balls.”
- Heat or cold therapy relieves various kinds of back pains. Both these processes work by reducing inflammation.
- Regularly stretching the muscles so that they may not get tightened saves the person from back pains.
- Resting for few days allows the injured muscles to heal themselves. However, resting for more than a few days can lead to weakening of muscles requiring more exertion to support the spine.
Visiting a chiropractor:
A chiropractor is a healthcare professional that treats neuromuscular disorders by manipulating the spine. Determining the cause of low back pain is very important to getting the correct treatment. Often, people attribute their back pain to one thing and disregard what is actually at fault that is why it is advisable to schedule a consultation with someone professionally trained to diagnose and treat back pain. Dr. Ryan Curda, DC, a San Diego Chiropractor, adds, “Chiropractors are the go-to choice for getting to the root cause of your low back pain, and not just providing temporary relief of the symptoms.”