As society increasingly relies on computers, smartphones, and other forms of technology, both in the workplace and at home, more and more people are sitting more than ever. According to surveys, the average American now sits for approximately 10 hours per day. And while sitting might seem harmless, the truth is: It’s wreaking havoc on our health.
Researchers link excessive sitting to the development of chronic, potentially life-threatening health conditions like hypertension, high blood sugar, obesity, and high cholesterol — but that’s not all. Too much sitting can also contribute to chronic aches, pains, and physical dysfunction that can actually make it uncomfortable to get up and move.
If you or a loved one sits excessively, it’s important to understand the negative repercussions of failing to move your body according to its design. Below, the experts at Bomberg Chiropractic explain three common consequences of too much sitting and how routine chiropractic care can help.
Chronic Back Pain
When you sit, you put your lumbar spine in an unnatural position. While short periods of sitting don’t tend to cause problems, sitting for hours each day puts excessive stress on the lower portion of your spine, as well as the muscles in your lower back.
If, like most people, you sit with poor posture, there’s a high probability you’ll stretch your spinal ligaments beyond their healthy limits. There’s also a high likelihood that you’ll experience excessive pressure on your spinal discs, which can result in disc bulges, radiating nerve pain, and chronic back pain.
A chiropractor can help alleviate these issues through manual adjustments, as well as targeted massage, TENS therapy, and a variety of other complementary chiropractic therapies. While scheduling ongoing chiropractic care is a great step toward successfully alleviating chronic back pain and dysfunction, lifestyle changes are also important.
How you conduct yourself outside of your chiropractor’s office plays a central role in maintaining a healthy spine. Be sure to follow these tips to keep your back pain at bay:
● If you have a desk job that keeps you seated, consider getting a standing desk. You can then alternate between periods of sitting and standing throughout your workday.
● If you must sit for most of the day, be sure to take frequent breaks to move around. Do your best to get up and walk around or stretch at 30- to 60-minute intervals.
● One of the best ways to maintain healthy posture while sitting is to use an ergonomic chair. You can also insert a lumber support into a standard chair to provide extra support for your lower spine. If you drive a lot for work, consider using a lumbar support in your vehicle.
Chronic Neck Pain and Shoulder Discomfort
Just as poor sitting posture can wreak havoc on your lower back, it can also cause chronic pain and dysfunction in your upper back, neck, and shoulders. When you hunch over while you sit (most people unconsciously sit this way), you put the upper portion of your spine in an unnatural position. This strains the muscles and connective tissues in your upper back and neck and can also lead to excessive pressure on the discs in your thoracic and cervical spine.
If you maintain this a hunched position for long periods of time each day, your vertebrae can gradually become misaligned. A misaligned upper spine can lead to a variety of irritating, uncomfortable symptoms, including but not limited to:
● Poor neck and shoulder mobility
● Muscle pain and spasms
● Radiating pain in the shoulders, arms, and hands
● Areas of significant, painful tension in the upper back and neck, known as trigger points
● Numbness or tingling in the arms and hands
● Chronic headaches
A chiropractor can address the above symptoms through gentle, manual chiropractic adjustments and movement-based massage. TENS therapy is also a highly effective chiropractic treatment designed to reduce the severity of chronic neck, upper back, and shoulder pain. Because it gently stimulates nerves throughout the affected area, it’s designed to override or even blocking pain signals that would normally travel to the brain.
Pelvic Misalignment and Hip Imbalance
Sitting for long periods causes your hip flexors and the muscles on the front side of your pelvis to tighten up and shorten. Over time, these tight muscles gradually pull your pelvis and lumbar spine out of its normal position.
When your pelvis and lumbar spine tilt anteriorly (toward the front of your body), the muscles in your backside (your gluteal muscles) become weak. Lower body muscle weakness combined with a misaligned lower spine and pelvis can result in a number of debilitating issues, including:
● Unbalanced hips
● Radiating nerve pain in the legs and feet
● Numbness and tingling in the legs and feet
● Chronic back pain that can occur while sitting, standing, walking, or even lying down
● Functional leg length discrepancy (when one leg appears longer than the other)
If you struggle with any of the above symptoms, a chiropractor can help you find relief. Chiropractic adjustments, massage, and stretching will gradually help bring your pelvis and lumbar spine back into normal alignment and keep it there. Your chiropractor can also give you at-home exercises and stretches to complete, which will further help your recovery.
Bomberg Chiropractic: Your Twin Cities Source for Knowledgeable, Compassionate Chiropractic Care
If you struggle with aches, pains, or poor mobility caused by excessive sitting, don’t hesitate to get in touch with our team at Bomberg Chiropractic. We specialize in a wide variety of chiropractic treatments designed to relieve your pain and restore your mobility and physical functionality. We proudly serve residents throughout Plymouth, MN and the surrounding Twin Cities metro, and we’d love to welcome you into our care.
To learn more about our services or schedule an appointment, feel free to call our office today at 763-450-1755 or send us a message, and we’ll be in touch!