How can Hogan & Mitchell Physiotherapy help you?21st July 2018
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Do you have your back pain when you are sitting? Is it better when you stand or walk? Then you might have the sitting disease!
Now let’s be serious for a second, you haven’t got a disease, but sitting might be a large contributing factor in the cause of your back pain and we certainly got you reading! Let’s explain more….
Most of us slump when we sit. This is not generally a problem and contrary to past beliefs does not cause damage. But if,
- you sit slumped 100% of the time that you sit
- AND you either sit or drive a lot for a living
- OR if you have become more sedentary for other reasons.
you might get back pain from all that sitting.
What happens when we slump?
When we slump we put all the soft tissue structures at the back under stretch and under load. We should have a pretty high tolerance to this, meaning it shouldn’t hurt. Sometimes however the tissues say “that’s enough thank you!” and when they do this you can get pain. It does not mean you have caused any structural harm or damage but it will hurt, and it can hurt a lot. Let’s put it in a different context, get one of your fingers and stretch it back a bit until you feel a stretch, now imagine staying there for an hour or two… or 8 or more! I am sure you can see that the soft tissues around your finger will not be happy to tolerate the position for long periods. Your back is the same.
So what can you do if you have this type of back pain?
1. Sit better:
This does not mean you have to become obsessive about your sitting position but maybe put a rolled towel or cushion or lumbar roll in your lower back to try to maintain your lower back curve when you are sat. If your work chair has the ability to adjust the lumbar support, get the set up right for you. Rest your upper back , back against the chair to release your tension. The aim is when sitting to offload the amount of stretch and load stimulus on the structures in the back. Less input of stretch = less output of pain, so 50% less slumped sitting could mean 50% less pain!
2. Move often
Our body is working all the time and it produces chemical waste products, if these build up due to sitting for too long you can get pain. Get up and move around or just change the position that your back is in, arch back or twist or wriggle. Sometimes the simple things help the most.
3. Get a bit better strength endurance
We know that if you do any moderate cardiovascular exercise in an upright position such brisk walking, running, X-trainer, stepper or some general strengthening exercises for your back muscles then things usually improve very quickly. Swimming front crawl or breast stroke can help with this type of pain. Pilates is great. Even weighted squats can help with this. Pick something you want to try, and have a go!
The reality is that we are all on the rollercoaster of life. That rollercoaster brings with it stress from family, friends, work, finances, the list goes on. Sometimes if there is more stress in your life, you get pain. Yes it’s crazy but true! So if you are feeling stressed, recognise it and see if you can do some things to relax and manage the effects of the stress on you.
If any of this sounds familiar to you or if you know someone else who might benefit from reading this please tag them in or share it with them.
If you are still struggling despite these changes there are some further thing to try too! So please give us a call and we can help you get you pain free normally in a short space of time. Please don’t continue to suffer in needless pain.