Back pain, particularly lower back pain, is one of the top reasons that people seek physical medicine treatments. It’s extremely common, affecting 8 in 10 people, but why is that? Part of the problem is that so many people have sedentary jobs, which can be very detrimental to the well-being of your back.
Our backs are vulnerable to pain because they absorb a great deal of stress. Whether we’re lifting heavy objects, playing contact sports, or just lounging in front of the television, our spines are responsible for supporting our bodies and keeping us upright. Our spines are composed of 24 interlocking vertebrae, divided into cervical, thoracic, and lumbar, and connected by fibrous tissues called ligaments, and cushioned by spinal discs. These ligaments can overstretch or tear, which leads to back sprain, and compressed spinal discs can suffer from painful wear and tear. The spine is also connected to the skeleton by muscles, which can become overworked and strained.
It’s easy to see how one might cause damage to the vertebrae, spinal discs, ligaments, or muscles through overuse or injury, but it may be less apparent how damaging a desk job can be to these components of the back. The fact is that when we’re sitting completely still, our backs are still working, trying to hold up the weight of the top half of the body. When we slouch, or sit improperly, it can result in undue stress on the spine. If you spend several hours a day in a chair, make sure it’s a chair that promotes a neutral body position in order to keep your vertebrae properly aligned. Your feet should reach the floor, with your hips at the same level or higher than your knees, and your arms should rest comfortably on the arm rests. Sit completely against the back of your chair, and allow it to support you, so that your back doesn’t have to work as hard.
No matter how good your posture, however, or how comfortable your chair, you’ll still put a strain on your back if you sit for too long. In fact, spending every day holding your body in one position can have permanent consequences for your back. While you are working, get up about every 20 minutes to stretch and walk around. When you’re not working, make sure to get regular exercise.
If you suffer from back pain, we can help. Whether the pain is the result of an illness or injury, or just a side-effect of working in an office, our clinic can help find the source of the pain and treat it effectively. Call us today for your free consultation, and to learn more about how we can help alleviate the pain in your back.