If you sit for long periods of time at work or suffer from poor posture and low back pain continue reading for tips on how you can minimize pain and improve the health of your spine:
Low back pain is a common condition that will affect the majority of people at some point in their lives. Most people with low back pain have the tendency to believe that one specific event (bending, lifting, twisting) lead to the injury. Though their pain may be related to one single event, it is rarely the only reason that the injury occurred. In most cases improper movement patterns and poor posture have lead to excessive loading of the joints and tissues over a long period of time. Pain is just the end result of poor function and the “event” that you pinpoint as the cause of all of your problems is usually just the straw that broke the camels back.
All the tissues of the body have a specific tissue tolerance hat, if exceeded, will lead to injury. The failure of a tissue and tissue injury can result from a single load like lifting a heavy object. More commonly injury occurs due to sustained loads of longer durations such as sitting for long periods with poor posture. A prolonged posture like sitting, puts increased pressure on the discs, joints and tissues and progressively lower their ability to handle load. This decreased tissue strength and tolerance is a phenomenon called creep. Therefore, when you sit all day at work and then bend over to pick up a pen, your ability to “handle” the simple task is compromised and you may get injured. If our work demands sustained posture then we must do everything that we can to help better prepare ourselves for these tasks! Below I’ve listed the top 4 ways to help prevent low back strain and injury when you sit all day at work.
1. Micro Breaks:
Simply taking a “micro break” to get up and move around will decrease tissue strain and help to prevent injury. Creep sets in after about 20 minutes therefore getting up from your seat or changing your posture at least once every 20 minutes is critical to maintaining a healthy spine.
2. Posture changes:
Try to vary your posture as much as you can throughout the day. Even sitting with a ‘neutral spine’ is not protective if you maintain that same posture all day long.
3. Correct Ergonomics:
Effective low back support and ergonomics will also help to decrease the load placed on your joints and tissues. Sit your bum all the way back in your seat, place your feet flat on the floor (no crossing your legs) and have your desk and computer at the appropriate heights so a good posture is maintained.
4. Mobility + Strength Training:
Training the tissues and joints with the appropriate exercises will also help to protect the low back. Start by moving all of your joints through their full range on a daily basis (morning and night). Neck, shoulder, hip and ankle circles along with the cat-camel exercise are great ways to improve joint health and maintain your outer ranges of motion. Strength training will also help improve endurance in the muscles that maintain good posture throughout the day.