While most of us can recall the moment we receive an instantly painful injury (stubbing a toe, slipping on ice), those suffering from chronic pain have more difficulty pinpointing the exact cause of the discomfort.
What if I told you that two things you do on the daily might be causing your pain…two things totally unavoidable?
Believe it or not, sitting and standing can lead to a whole slew of ailments if your posture isn’t correctly aligned. If you are one of the millions of people who sit at a desk from 9 to 5, you may be damaging your whole body by sitting incorrectly.
I recently came across a great article that offers a visual explanation for how slouching and other posture issues can be deadly and felt inspired to touch on this in my blog. After all, sitting and standing are something most of us do each day!
First let’s address some of the most common issues that can result from bad posture:
If you are sitting constantly, your muscles will naturally burn less fat and blood while flow more slowly through the body. This, in turn, can lead to fatty acids clogging the arteries of the heart over time, leading to heart disease. Additionally, your pancreas may become overproductive as a result of inactivity. That’s because insulin is released from the pancreas with the intent that it will be used as energy. When you are sitting for long periods of time, that energy isn’t being used. The pancreas than may overcompensate by producing more, thinking the body is not in motion because it does not have enough energy. Too much insulin production can of course lead to other health conditions including diabetes.
The spine is made to be flexible and move freely. Once this motion is neglected in the majority of daily activities, you may start to develop an inflexible spine. The soft disks (which are located between the vertebrae) absorb shock by expanding and contracting when we move around, similar to a sponge. The longer we become inactive, the soft disks lose their sponginess. Additionally, collagen can develop around ligaments and tendons supporting the body. These issues put you at higher risk for injuring your back during everyday tasks like washing the dishes, reaching for something on a top cabinet or tying your shoe laces.
Disk damage is another common problem caused by bad sitting posture. Inactivity puts you are an increased risk for a herniated disk.
This one is probably the most common issue we associate with inactivity but we have more to worry about here than pure vanity. Aside from losing muscle tone, you may experience a softening of the abdominal region, hip tightness and softened glutes. These issues can lead to further alignment problems since you don’t have a solid supporting base.
Additional dangers include soreness in the back and shoulders, neck strain and even difficulty concentrating due to lack of blood and oxygen being pumped throughout our bodies.
Now that you know the complications, here are some ideas for keeping your body healthy without having to quit your 9 to 5:
- Don’t cross your legs while sitting – this is a hard one for many to break the habit of but in correct posture you should have your ankles out in front of your needs and there should also be a gap between your chair and the back part of your knees.
- While standing your feet should be shoulder-width apart
- Keep your shoulders back and use your ab muscles to keep your belly from pushing out.
- Avoid walking on your heels, rather direct your weight to the balls of your feet.
- Try switching out your office chair with an exercise ball. This will help your abs stay engaged.
- Get up every hour or so and walk around, stretch…even do an exercise or two in order to get the blood flowing freely back to your brain.
- Don’t lean forward to get closer to your screen.
- Continue regular chiropractic appointments.
Do you have any of your own tips or techniques for staying healthy while working a desk job? We would love to hear it! Also, feel free to ask me about particular exercises you can do at home to keep your spine healthy.
1. Nicholos Chiropractic
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