If you sit at a desk for two or more hours a day, this post is for you.
IMPORTANT >> We often think of sitting as a relief to low back pain. But what if sitting is the cause for the discomfort?
Low back pain is the single leading cause of disability worldwide according to the Global Burden of Disease. It is reported that 31 million Americans experience low back pain at any given time. Adults with low back pain are often in worse physical and mental health than people who do not have low back pain.
If you are one of these people dealing with and trying to manage their low back pain, you’re not alone. Today, I invite you to try this simple strategy and see if it improves your symptoms of low back pain.
Importance of Movement and Posture for Low Back Health
Our bodies aren’t designed to be stationary for long periods of time. Our bodies are built to move, explore, and play. I believe the sedentary lifestyle of Western culture promotes muscle weakness and this lack of muscle tone reduces our ability to maintain a healthy posture.
This lack in postural stability coupled with long static sitting positions results in maladaptive sitting positions that actually do more harm than good for our low back. This simple strategy has been the key to long-term relief in the workplace for many of my patients and I’d like to share it with you too.
Try This to Relieve Low Back Pain at Work
Set your timer for 20 minutes. Each time the alarm goes off, stand up and stretch out your arms and legs. Take 2 minutes to stretch and move your body before sitting back down at your desk. You will find that this gives your postural muscles a chance to relax in addition to improving circulation. It also allows built up tension in the low back, neck and shoulders to be released.
When you lack the muscular and structural ability to maintain a healthy posture, you find yourself overcompensating-using the wrong muscles for a particular task-which, in turn, causes over-stressed joints and tight muscles.
I know this seems odd that sitting is hard on your back, this is a big mind shift! But let me say it again: Our bodies were made to MOVE! To walk, to run, to jump and dance, they are happiest when they are in motion. At no other time in history have we had to adapt so drastically to an unnatural position for our body.
Another way to get more activity in your day naturally? Drink more water throughout your workday.
Increasing your water intake will set an internal alarm clock–your bladder–encouraging you to take breaks more frequently throughout the day. Upping the hydration has other benefits, too (I know you know this, but let me remind you!).
The National Institute of Medicine recommends that women consume approximately 91 ounces and men approximately 125 ounces of fluid per day in the form of water and whole foods that contain water (note: coffee and soda don’t count). Water makes up about 60 percent of your body weight and every system of the body requires it in order to function properly. Not only will the increase in water improve your posture by forcing you to take breaks more frequently, it also hydrates and nourishes muscle tissue and removes toxins and lactic acid.
I challenge you to try this tomorrow at work and see how a very small change can make a big impact in your health and wellness.
As a fellow low back pain sufferer, I know how it can effect your life. But I also have successfully treated it and have seen success stories in my patients. This is a simple idea, but it does take some intentionality to stick with it. But I firmly believe you find relief to your low back pain with this tip.
Here’s to healthy, happy backs!
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Meet Dr. Kate Craig DC
While advancing her clinical studies in chiropractic school, Dr. Kate discovered the powerful connection between yoga and Chiropractic. As a student of yoga herself, Dr. Kate is passionate about helping her patients restore balance in their bodies.
Dr. Kate identifies and treats misalignments in the spine as well as the postural and muscular components that correspond and contribute to these imbalances. Dr. Kate’s expertise is in yoga rehabilitation for those suffering from low back pain.