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Is Sitting Damaging Your Health?

Woman working at a deskMost of our patients at Dr. Lichter and Associates work at a job where they sit in front of a computer all day. Sitting for prolonged periods impacts your health in several ways, some of which you might not realize. The more commonly known problems are low back pain, neck pain and headaches. What many people might not realize is that the pressure on the discs in your low back when sitting is almost double the force of that when you’re standing.

Instead of sitting being a resting position for your body, it is actually the most stressful position for your spine. If you sit for 40 hours a week, it can turn into bigger problems.

Think about Head Posture

When you sit at your computer, your forward head posture has major consequences on your health. It is a major cause of neck pain and headaches but has deeper health effects. For years, research has shown that forward head posture gives people an increased risk of high blood pressure and asthma. It makes sense when you consider the tension that sitting places on the area where the brain stem meets the spinal cord, which can affect your blood pressure and breathing.

A Risk of Other Diseases

There are several other health concerns involved in sitting all day. Research shows that those who work at a desk have twice the risk of heart attack or stroke compared to people who do not sit for a living, regardless of the amount of exercise you do. In fact, research shows that there aren’t enough hours in the week you can exercise that would counteract the effects of sitting for 40 hours per week!

The Long-term Effects of Sitting

It might sound strange at first, but people who sit for a living are also shown to have a higher risk of developing knee problems. This may be because your thigh muscles are weaker from sitting, and weakness in your quadriceps can lead to knee problems. Most of our patients have not been in any kind of major trauma. Instead, they seek our help because of the constant micro-trauma they experience from the forward head posture and the pressure on the discs of their low back.

A Few Tips

Unfortunately, there is not an easy solution to these problems. Standing desks can help you. I also recommend that you get up and move at least once per hour to get a drink of water, make a copy or any other excuse you can find! Just by getting up for a minute, you’ve removed 50% of stress on your low back for that minute. It also gets your head away from the computer terminal, taking away the forward head posture.

If you sit for a living, a chiropractor will give you much-needed relief. Contact our office today to start!

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