What Happens to Your Body When You Sit for Too Long?
Low back pain relief is a common need of office workers and others, as indicated by the $100 billion spent on LBP each year. Let’s look at some statistics on back pain and then explore how prolonged sitting, both at work and at home, could be making your back hurt and be otherwise harmful to the body.
Back pain statistics – general and the workplace
According to Cornell University Ergonomics Web, sitting causes 40-90% more spinal disc pressure than occurs when standing. Given that fact, it’s no wonder that low back pain (LBP) is such a common problem. Two-thirds of adults are stricken by LBP during their lifetime, with 12-44% experiencing it at any one time. Among those who work in offices, 23-38% report LBP per year. It is also the top reason for work-related disability among those aged 44 or under, and it’s the costliest form of work-related disability. Annual LBP expenses in the United States are more than $100 billion.
Exercising cannot counteract prolonged sitting
After numerous studies on the health dangers of sitting, many people now recognize that the sedentary lifestyle is incredibly unhealthy. Some of these folks have been under the impression that they can sit for long hours at work and then make up for it by working out once they leave the office. This type of person is called an “active couch potato” by Paul Ingraham of PainScience.
Unfortunately, people who sit for prolonged periods each day have an increased vulnerability to disease whether they are otherwise active or not. For instance, people who sit for long hours are more susceptible to cancer. Shmid et al. looked at dozens of studies and determined that the cancer risk remains the same regardless of activity levels when people aren’t sitting. The study’s authors say that “[the results] indicate that the increased risk of cancer seen in individuals with prolonged time spent sedentary is not explained by the mere absence of physical activity in those persons.”
In other words, low back pain relief is just one of your concerns related to sitting. Sedentary behavior also puts you at risk of life-threatening diseases.
You just can’t compensate for sitting
Other research conducted in 2014 had more than 2000 participants wear accelerometers to gauge their fitness levels. They concluded that it was roughly as negative for the body to sit for two hours as it was positive for the body to work out for 20 minutes. In other words, even if you could make up for sitting by exercising, it would take a huge amount of daily exercise to do so.
Expertise for lower back pain relief
Clearly we need to get out of our chairs as much as we possibly can. That probably means you want a standing desk or at least a sit-to-stand desk. Otherwise, take as many breaks as you can, and minimize the amount you sit at home.
What can you do about your immediate low back pain, though? At Health Star Clinic, we minimize the need for pain medications and surgery as we work to correct the underlying health problem with a balance of medical treatments, chiropractic adjustments and physical therapy. See what our patients say.