Monthly Archives: February 2017

The Deleterious Effects of Sitting on Back Health

You have lately heard that sitting puts more pressure on your spine than standing, and the toll on your back health is even worse if you're sitting hunched in front of a computer. Indeed, the disks in your back are meant to expand and contract as you move, which allows them to absorb blood and nutrients. When you sit, the disks are compressed and can lose flexibility over time. Sitting excessively can also increase your risk of herniated disks.

Many internet posts suggest that "sitting is the new smoking", painting a rather drab picture, for most of us, however the fact that we are required to spend a great part of our day in a seated position, shouldn't necessarily mean "we are doomed" (like most of these posts tend to suggest!)

It is important to recognize that continuous standing can also be problematic. The key is MOVEMENT.

Sometimes back pain occurs suddenly, seemingly out of nowhere, but oftentimes it occurs only after months or years of poor posture, repetitive motions, improper lifting, tension and strains. In addition to stopping the offending movements (for instance, swapping out your desk chair for a standing desk), the following forms of exercise may help.

Stretching

In  recent study, participants who took 52-minute stretching classes (which emphasized trunk and leg stretches) received as much back-pain relief as those taking yoga classes.

Strength Training

A regular  strength training routine will help strengthen your back and core muscles, which is essential for both relieving pain and preventing injury.

 Yoga

Is particularly useful for promoting flexibility and core muscles, has been proven to be beneficial if you suffer from back pain.

People suffering from low-back pain who took one yoga class a week had greater improvements in function than those receiving medicine or physical therapy.

Tai Chi

Is an ancient form of self-defense that is said to support the balance of "yin and yang" in your body, thereby improving the flow of "qi," or life energy.

Often described as "meditation in motion" or "moving meditation," the activity takes your body through a specific set of graceful movements.  Your body is constantly in motion and each movement flows right into the next. A 10-week tai chi program has been found to improve pain and disability in people with persistent low-back pain.

Additional Steps to Help Remedy Back Pain

Once you understand that back pain is typically the result of poor posture, improper or inadequate movement and/or emotional trauma, the remedy becomes clear — get regular exercise, move often (the way your body was designed to) and tend to your emotional health. You can also try:

 

Vitamin D and K2  Optimize your  Vitamin D and K levelsto prevent the softening of the bones that may lead to lower back pain. Low vitamin D levels are common in people with chronic low back pain
Stay hydrated Drink plenty of water to enhance the height of your intervertebral disks. Because your body is composed mostly of water, keeping yourself hydrated will also keep you fluid and reduce stiffness.
Avoid smoking  Smoking reduces blood flow to your lower spine and promotes degeneration of your spinal disks.
Pay attention to your sleeping habits Studies have linked insufficient sleep with increased back and neck problems. Also pay attention to your sleep position. Sleep on your side to reduce curving of your spine, and stretch before getting out of bed. A firm bed is recommended.
Posted in Health and fitness | Tagged , , , , |