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Can Sitting for Prolonged Periods of Time Be Wrecking My Back?

Concerned young man staring at his laptop next to papers, a notepad and smartphone. He sits and rests his head on left fist.

The longer you stay in the sitting position every day, the more at risk you are of developing serious back injuries. So, what can you do?

Content (500 min, trending topic 350 min)
The majority of us work desk jobs, drive to and from our offices in rush hour traffic, or spend a good deal of our leisure time sitting in front of our big screen televisions watching a whole day of football – all of which can lead to back problems.

And, according to some experts, the longer you remain in the sitting position every day, the more at risk you are of developing serious back injuries.

Result of sitting in the same position

Remaining in the same position for hours on end without standing up several times over the course of the day often results in:

•    Chronic low back pain
•    Weakened bones
•    Neck strain
•    Sore shoulders
•    Deep vein thrombosis

The culprit could be your chair, your car seat or simply your position and posture while you work at your desk or during your commute. Nevertheless, these injuries are commonly associated with sitting for prolonged periods of time and all can become serious enough to impact your life, if allowed to worsen before getting treatment.

Minor complications can escalate

Furthermore, minor complications such as stiffness and soreness can escalate into more severe conditions like deep vein thrombosis, which has been known to cause a heart attack or a stroke in airline passengers.

Aside from the common cold, back pain sends more people to their doctor than any other condition – with 56% of people with lower-back aches saying symptoms disrupt their daily routines. In recent years, back problems have become the third leading cause of surgery and fifth highest reason for hospitalizations.

But, according to Todd Sinett, a chiropractor and coauthor of The Truth about Back Pain, “Back pain is rarely one catastrophic event, but several situations combining to create pain.” In other words, while sitting at your desk for eight hours, five days a week may seem like an insignificant daily routine, it can actually take a major toll on your back and neck over time.

Other factors contributing to back pain

Several other factors can contribute to your back pain. These include:

•    Acute or chronic stress
•    Lack of exercise
•    Your mattress has seen better days

In the end, you may not be able to control the number of hours you spend at your work desk or commuting, but you can reduce the number of hours you sit in front of the TV. You can also try to relax a bit by not taking your work home with you. Leave it at the office where it belongs.

Sit at 135-degree and 90-degree angles

When at your work desk, sit at a 135-degree angle to reduce compression of the discs in the spine and at a 90-degree angle on your commute to and from the office.

Exercising, even for just a few minutes, in the morning or after you get home can go a long way to keeping you limbered up. And, if your mattress is keeping you up at night – replace it with a new one.

No one wants to deal with a bad back, especially if you’re the active type. At the first sign of a backache, consult your physician. After all, you’re paying for health insurance, so why not use it?

And, if you don’t currently have insurance coverage, now might be a good time to get some free health insurance quotes.

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