A Sedentary Lifestyle and Lower Back Pain
A sedentary lifestyle can contribute to lower back pain and lower back problems.
As technology advances, the western cultures are spending more and more time sitting, often in front of a computer. And as conveniences improve people are being less and less active.
Sitting all the time wreaks havoc on your posture and can contribute to pain in the lower back, hips, and neck.
4 Ways Sitting Contributes to Back Problems
#1 Compression on the Lower Back Joints: Sitting all the time can add excessive compression on the joints of the lower back.
Many people think that sitting is better for the lower back than standing, but sometimes sitting can be worse than standing.
When you sit down, all of your upper body weight is supported by your pelvis and lower back. However, if you are standing, the weight of your upper body is supported by your pelvis, lower back, hips, knees, and ankles.
Standing and sitting can both put pressure on the lower back but through slightly different mechanisms. In standing, if you have poor posture or poor core stability you may feel discomfort in your lower back, but sitting (especially with bad posture on a hard surface) will put more pressure on the joints of the lower back.
#2 Changes in Posture: Our body adapts to the stresses we place on it. If you have a sedentary lifestyle and sit all the time at work, it's likely that your posture has changed from being in one position all the time.
For many people the changes in neck and head posture are more noticeable than the changes in the lower back posture, but excessive and prolonged sitting can negatively affect lower back posture also-- read more about posture and lower back problems.
#3 Decreased Flexibility: I'm sure you've felt stiff after going on a road trip and sitting in a car for a long time. And if one day of sitting in the car can make you feel stiff and inflexible, imagine what sitting in front of a computer all day every day at work can do to your flexibility.
Flexibility is important for decreasing the chance of developing back pain. When your hips, legs, and spine are less flexible, your body doesn't move as efficiently as it should. And, when your body does not move efficiently it compensates by putting excess pressure on joints, ligaments, and muscles-- read more about flexibility and back pain.
#4 Weakness and Poor Conditioning/ Fitness: If you look back at the American lifestyle from 30 or 40 years ago (or anytime before then), more people were more active. When you live an active lifestyle, your body is more resilient to activity related stress. Many people injure their lower back doing relatively simple things like bending over to pick up something light off the floor. A sedentary lifestyle will lead to de-conditioning and weakness, which will increase the risk of developing lower back pain.
A sedentary lifestyle can wreak havoc on your lower back. Prolonged sitting can put extra pressure on the joints of your lower back, change your posture, decrease your flexibility, and lead to weakness and poor conditioning.
To get the benefits from exercise, you don't have to workout like a professional athlete. Simple things like walking and stretching regularly can go a long way in the prevention of lower back pain. In addition a basic fitness routine that includes light weight training and core training can help to prevent lower back problems.
If you have a sedentary job, then exercise is even more important, so start moving a little more today.
P.S. Check out my Core Workout Video!
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