While many people have jobs that require sitting all day, you may not realize the impact that your desk job is really having on your body, your health and your spine. Today, more people than ever are sitting at their desk for hours at a time, and then are heading home to relax, unwind... and sit some more.
You may have noticed some tightness, discomfort and back pain after sitting at your desk all day, but this sedentary lifestyle can actually be having a more serious impact on your spine than you realize. Heart disease, obesity and diabetes can all be linked to sitting too much, but it can also have longer-term damage on your spine and be causing pain and discomfort during the day.
The Serious Impact of Sitting
We all probably sit more than we should. In fact, if you were to write down what you do hour-by-hour throughout your day, you may be surprised by how much of that time you spend sitting. Sitting puts your body, and particularly your spine, into an unnatural position.
The simple act of sitting too long can have an impact on your musculoskeletal system and impact the natural, healthy curve of your spine. These misalignments may not initially hurt, but they can cause a number of other symptoms, especially if you spend a majority of your waking hours sitting.
Simply put, when you sit all day, you may notice side effects such as:
- Tightness in the hip flexors.
- Persistent low back pain.
- Discomfort in the upper back and shoulder region.
- Chronic headaches.
- Hip pain or stiffness.
These types of symptoms can seriously impact your quality-of-life, but the good news is; you can find relief with small lifestyle changes and regular chiropractic adjustments.
How to Improve Your Sitting Posture During the Day
The more often you can get up, stand, walk and stretch during the day, the better. However, we know this isn’t always possible. So, when you do need to sit, it is important that you maintain proper posture. Ergonomic desks and chairs are a great place to start, but that’s only half the battle.
Whether you are sitting on your ergonomic desk chair, at your home office, or if you are working from a plane or local coffee shop—proper sitting posture is essential.
Here’s how to make sure you are maintaining proper sitting posture:
- Keep your feet planted evenly on the floor with a small gap between the back of your knees and the front of your seat
- Do not cross your legs
- Make sure that your ankles are in front of your knees
- Keep your knees at or below your hip level
- If you can, adjust your backrest to support your low and mid back
- Relax your shoulders, keeping them back, down and away from your ears
- Keep your forearms parallel to the ground
These are great ways to make sure you are sitting correctly—just make sure that you aren’t staying in this position too long—you should be getting up every hour to get up and move, even if you’re just standing up to stretch.
What You Can Start Doing For Your Spine Today
Ready to start making some positive changes to really help your spinal health? Little improvements can go a long way in helping you with those headaches, neck and back pain and the overall stiffness and discomfort you may be feeling.
Here are things you can start doing today to help your spine:
- Stand at your desk when possible
- Take the stairs instead of the elevator
- Get up at least every hour to get a drink of water
- Make sure you are getting at least 30 minutes of cardiovascular exercise every day
- Go for a walk during your lunch break
- Set a timer every 15 minutes so you can remember to check your posture
We also recommend doing regular stretches throughout the day at your desk to keep your muscles loose and active. Here is a fun infographic that many of our patients love that will help you make sure you are doing the right stretches for your spine during the day.
Of course, these small changes throughout the day are supplementary and should be used in accordance with regular chiropractic adjustments.
Chiropractic care is one of the few things that you can do to actually reverse the effects of years of sitting. And it is the only safe and effective treatment proven to actually restore that normal, healthy curve in your spine, which means better function and less pain.
While making positive changes can help prevent further issues, chiropractic adjustments are the key to actually restoring proper function and getting you back to feeling like yourself again.
If you have questions about the benefits of regular chiropractic care or are interested in setting up an exam and x-rays give McAuliffe Chiropractic Office a call today. You can schedule an appointment online or give us a call at 301-776-0755.