Is Sitting The New Smoking?

Ahmet Arslan, sitting, posture, health, longevity,

Make the most of the daily routine. What you do for your body in between climbing mountains counts. Photo: Red Bull Content Pool

Are we really evolving as a species? We eat more, have more stressful lives and the facts tell the truth… we are suffering from more chronic illness that ever before.

Yet we have all the drugs, the surgeries and the new age answers… or do we?

Lower back pain is among the top reasons why patients visit their preferred healthcare professional whether it’s their GP or chiropractor. So why is it that we suffer with all these aches and pains?

Back to the basics

Each patient that walks into my office is a unique being. However we all share certain repetitive bad habits that allow us to fall back into pain mode and require some kind of intervention.

Incorporate these 
into your daily routine:

  1. Take small breaks. 
Get up and move around. Walk to a colleague’s desk instead of skyping or sending an email
  2. Maintain good posture. 
Sit upright with both feet flat on the floor.
  3. Snack often. 
Healthy snacks and plenty water is the way to go.
  4. Up your functional fitness. 
Deadlifts and simple squats are good option.
  5. Adequate rest. 
Get 7-8 hours of horizontal a night.
sitting, posture, Anna Flanagan, stretching

We can’t all be professional athletes liker Anna Flanagan. But we should do what we can to cut or correct the time we spend sitting behind that office desk. Photo: Red Bull Content Pool

Undoing the damage

As patients tend to sit on their butts more, we as practitioners must be aware that the possible cause of inhibited, weak or under-active gluts. Low back pain can be from hip flexor tightness as a result of excess sitting.

Let us also not forget the athletic population. Even the best have to sit and endure long flights so they can also fall victim to lower back and hip pain.

The term gluteal amnesia has been used by many top specialists as a potential cause or complication in treating the chronic low back pain patient.

So how do we fix it?

  • 30 min/day walk or jog
  • Sitting with supported lumbar 
spine to ensure a neutral pelvis
  • Functional training or simple exercises 
as stated above
Slumping or slouching leads to disruption of the disc and potentially worsening symptoms like buttock and leg pain (Sciatica)

The only reason why pain becomes chronic is that we don’t change our habits and eventually it’s too late to reverse the long term effects that have taken place.

The pain itself can cause inhibition or weakening of the deep lumbar and hip stabiliser muscles, which further weakens the spine, allowing excessive abnormal motion.

Protecting an already weakened disc

A weakened disc can be further injured by tears from uncontrolled segmental movements or sudden motions especially:

  • First thing in the morning
  • Bending over to tie your laces or pick up a suitcase
  • After sitting and standing
  • From sitting to standing to lifting or carrying

The sooner you get into good routines at work and at home, the better. Add in some simple core or functional movement exercises and you increase your odds of 
not ending up on my table or the surgeon’s and suffering a lifetime of pain and disability.

Originally published in the September/October 2013 issue 61.

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