Sitting Too Long at Work Can Damage Your Back
- Posted on: Nov 1 2017
Dr. Jeff J. Mollins, Brooklyn’s premier accident specialist, is well aware that people are sitting longer hours at work than ever before. They say “sitting is the new smoking”. In a way this is true, because excessive sitting can be detrimental to your health, especially your back, causing many dire health conditions.
If your back hurts after a day at work, you are not the only one. Studies show that lower back pain affects 8 out of 10 people and is a major cause of disability. Today, several jobs require people to spend long hours behind a desk, and may complain of pain in the back and legs. Here are some of the common causes of back pain:
- Prolonged Sitting – “Chair disease”, as it is generally referred to, is a common condition caused by spending too much time sitting. When you are at your desk for long, it can lead to excessive loading, as well as tissue deformation of the lumbar spine. Sitting puts twice the amount of pressure on the spine than standing, slouching creates even more pressure. Movement is crucial as the discs located in between our vertebrae, which are vital shock absorbers, receive their nutrition when we move. When we stay locked in one position they do not get nutrients which can lead to disc damage causing degeneration, bulging, or even herniation.
- Improper Posture – Most of us sit wrong. We tend to slouch when seated at a desk and we go hours without much movement. When you do this, you put your lumbar spine in a fixed position, which causes the stabilizing ligaments present in your lower back to weaken. Bad posture will overstretch and tire the ligaments. When the spine is out of alignment, it causes stress in the ligaments, discs, back muscles and spinal joints. A bad posture also weakens the abdominal muscles that offer protection to the spine and this makes it susceptible to injury.
- Poor Ergonomics – An ill planned work space can cause repetitive strain injuries. The position of the chair, the height of the computer, and the position of your desk, play an important role in shaping the posture that we assume at work. The eyes and hands, in particular, can affect posture, especially if the work material is placed too low, high or far. Check your workstation and make appropriate changes. The screen of your computer should be a little below your line of vision. Your elbows should be off the table and your feet on the ground. Your elbows, knees, and hips should be bent at 90 degrees. Place a small pillow between the small of your back and your chair to prevent straining your lower back. It is recommended that you try to get up at least once an hour to relieve the extra stress placed on your back due to excessive sitting at work.
If you are one of the unfortunate individuals to sustain a back injury due to excessive sitting, please contact Dr. Mollins immediately. Dr. Mollins will carefully evaluate your condition and perform a concise physical examination. He will then place you on a comprehensive treatment regimen to enable you to obtain wellness as expeditiously as possible. Remember, if you sustain an injury due to excessive sitting at the work place, this injury may very well be covered under workers compensation, as it is considered a work related injury. Therefore you can be treated at no cost and paid for your lost wages (if unable to work). When you return to work, you can still receive treatment at no cost.