Your body is an incredibly complex machine. There are still plenty of secrets regarding how some parts work, and research into these things is likely to continue for hundreds of years. Perhaps one of the most complicated and impressive structures in your body is your spine. It’s made up of 33 vertebrae interconnected with soft discs that provide strength and flexibility.
Unfortunately, many people suffer from back pain because they don’t look after their spine. It can be damaged from incorrect lifting or simply because you spend a lot of time sitting. It may surprise you to learn that the average office worker sits for 1920 hours a year.
If you’re not sitting with the correct posture then you’re at a higher risk of spine injuries and the associated issues. It’s important to note that a good remedial massage therapy will help to put your spine back into position and even correct your muscles.
To appreciate why this is important you need to understand how sitting affects your back muscles.
When your sitting the spine is under much more pressure than when standing. This is because instead of your legs taking your weight, the base of your spine is. Sitting for extended periods means that your spine will compress, gravity effectively pulls the bones and discs closer together.
This increases the likelihood of herniated discs, especially if you lift items incorrectly. Always lift with your knees.
When you are sitting all the time your core is not being engaged. That means the muscles around your spine aren’t being used. As with anything, if it isn’t being used it gets weaker and this will increase the likelihood of a back injury. Put simply, the muscles won’t have enough strength to support your body.
When you sit your hip flexors are tightened. This reduces the amount of blood that can get to them and even your muscles will get less blood. As blood carries oxygen and nutrients to all the muscles and organs in the body, reduced blood flow means that the muscles will get weaker.
When you sit all the time and don’t adopt the best sitting position you are likely to cause changes in your posture. This can result in stretching the ligaments in your spine. When they become overstretched your body will experience more wear on its discs and you’ll start to gain rounded shoulders as your head moves into a forward position.
The good news is that you can change your seating position and start undoing the effects of sitting badly. But, most importantly, you need to start moving more. That means adding exercise into your daily routine, and taking breaks when working to move around.
If you have to sit for long periods make sure your chair has lumbar support, you sit with your back to the back of the chair, and your knees are close to the edge of the chair. Your feet should be flat on the floor and the screen at eye level, along with the keyboard at elbow height. It will help.