Long sitting can give you issues in the back.

Does Prolonged Sitting Cause Back Pain?

Extended periods of sitting are a leading culprit in the development of back pain. This sedentary habit not only burdens the back but also places added stress on the neck, arms, and legs, while exerting immense pressure on the muscles and spinal discs.

Furthermore, sitting with poor posture, often in a slouched position, can stretch spinal ligaments excessively and strain the spinal discs. Beyond the discomfort it causes, these habits, coupled with suboptimal workplace ergonomics, can inflict long-term damage on the structures of your spine, increasing the likelihood of recurrent bouts of neck and back pain.

Impact of Excessive Sitting on Body

Have you ever wondered what happens to your body when you sit for extended periods? Let’s understand it.

Sitting for long stretches places significant stress on your back muscles and the discs within your spine. These spinal discs serve as crucial support cushions, and the pressure they endure can lead to discomfort. In fact, when you’re sitting, this pressure is often higher than when you’re lying down, which can result in muscle stiffness and strain, particularly in the lower back.

But that’s not all. Extended sitting has been associated with various health issues. Notably, it’s been linked to obesity and metabolic syndrome, a cluster of conditions such as high blood pressure, elevated blood sugar, excess abdominal fat, and abnormal cholesterol levels. So, it’s clear that excessive sitting takes a toll on your body in more ways than one.

Creating the Perfect Routine for a Healthy Back

Many individuals often sit for extended periods, especially at a desk, which can have a negative impact on their back and posture. Developing a good understanding of proper sitting posture and adhering to a few simple guidelines can help correct this.

Incorporating lifestyle changes like engaging in different activities and taking short breaks for movement during the day can be quite helpful. Consistently practicing good sitting habits is key to enhancing your posture and overall back health. This is because the muscles, tendons, and ligaments that support your posture are influenced by the various positions and movements your body takes.

Prevent Neck and Back Pain While Working at Your Desk

Poor sitting posture and workplace ergonomics aren’t just inconvenient, they can also gradually harm your spinal structures, resulting in recurrent neck and back pain. To create a more comfortable work environment and prevent undue strain on your spine, consider these essential recommendations:

Elbow Alignment Tip:

Begin by positioning yourself close to your desk, ensuring that your upper arms align parallel to your spine. Place your hands on your work surface, such as your desktop or computer keyboard. If your elbows aren’t at a 90-degree angle, adjust your chair’s height accordingly.

Calf Clearance Check:

While sitting with your back against the chair, attempt to slide your clenched hand between the back of your calf and the front of your chair. If it’s a tight fit, indicating the chair is too deep, you can address this by adjusting the backrest, adding lumbar support, or considering a chair replacement.

Lower Back Support:

Ensure your buttocks are snug against the chair’s back, and utilize a cushion that promotes a slight arch in your lower back, preventing you from slouching when fatigue sets in. This support is crucial in minimizing the strain on your back. Slumping or slouching in your chair increases the pressure on your spine and lumbar discs.

Eye-Level Alignment:

Start by closing your eyes, then sit comfortably with your head in a neutral position. Slowly open your eyes. The center of your computer screen should be your primary point of focus. If it’s positioned either higher or lower than your eye level, consider adjusting the screen’s height accordingly. For individuals who wear bifocal glasses, ensure that your computer screen is set up in a way that prevents the need to strain your neck to read it, or alternatively, consider using full-lens glasses with a near vision adjustment.

Armrest Adjustment:

Start by adjusting your chair’s armrests to a level that provides only slight elevation to your arms at the shoulders. Using armrests can help alleviate neck and shoulder tension, making you less likely to slouch forward in your chair.

The Bottom Line

Extended periods of sitting, no matter how comfortable you may feel, can be detrimental to your back. Remember to take a short break every half-hour to stand, stretch, and walk for a minute or two. Incorporating regular movement and stretching into your day can promote the health of your joints, ligaments, muscles, and tendons, making you feel more at ease, relaxed, and productive.

About The Author
photo of Dr Oscar Noriega DC
Author
Dr. Oscar Noriega, DC, is a trusted chiropractor who has been practicing for over ten years at Revolution Chiropractic Murfreesboro. He holds a Doctor of Chiropractic degree from Northwestern Health Sciences University. Dr. Noriega is also a member of the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association and the Tennessee Chiropractic Association. He resides in Murfreesboro with his wife and two children.