Many of us have worked at a computer in an office for many years, and at the moment we may be working from home. Regardless of where you are working, there is no question sitting at a desk all day takes its toll on the spine. Learn how you can overcome the common spinal issues from sitting all day at a desk.
Your Sore, Stiff, And Painful Spine
Staying in one position too long is the first problem. When you do finally move, your joints are stiff and it’s painful to move. In addition, when you sit with bad posture, you cause compression on the discs in your spine leading to premature degeneration. All of this results in chronic pain.
Not moving for long periods of time also causes muscles and ligaments to lose strength. Sitting at a desk too long causes fatigue in your neck and back by slowing down the blood supply. This puts additional tension on the spine and lower back. The stress on muscles and discs creates tightness in the hip flexors, adds pressure, and restricts blood flow in the buttocks which helps to support the spine.
Your Compressed Spine
Your spine is compressed 30% more by sitting instead of standing. Sitting puts you at a higher risk for sciatica, a herniated or slipped disc, degenerative disc disease, and of course lower back pain. Sitting with your hips and legs in a bent position causes joints, ligaments, and muscles to be under constant pressure and adds tension on your spinal discs.
Your Arthritic Spine
If you suffer with osteoarthritis, sitting makes your condition worse. It’s difficult to be productive for long periods of time if you are in pain. This continued wear and tear and inflammation on joints, especially weight bearing joints, leads to additional back, hip, and knee pain.
Slouching And Your Spine
When we sit too long, many of us eventually slouch which can result in bulging discs from poor posture. Our heads tend to lean forward, and we have rounded shoulders speeding up wear and tear on spinal discs with neck pain becoming a daily problem.
Reducing Spinal Issues
Even with a proper ergonomic chair and great posture, it is still important to move a few minutes at least every hour. It helps to keep your spinal joints, muscles, tendons and ligaments loose and pain free.
A few other tips include:
- As you work at the keyboard, keep your hands down and elbows flexed, but not too high.
- Try a foot rest under your desk which you can alternately use to change position and reduce the degree of stress.
- Find a high table or counter to work at so you don’t have to sit all the time during your work day. A standing desk provides the same relief when you need it, and worth the investment.
The best advice is to mix up sitting, standing, and movement each day to give your spine a break.