The negative impact of sedentary lifestyle has become well known throughout the world. Movement has become more important for longevity in a world that sits more.
Sitting puts more pressure on your spine compared to standing. A high percentage of people with back pain report sitting for long hours or have a sedentary lifestyle. Movement hydrates the discs in your spine and keeps blood flowing to provide nutrients. That means quicker recovery and prevention of injury all together.
Long hours of sitting increases the risk of disc and spinal injuries, particularly in the low back. With more injuries and abnormal posture, spina degeneration begins earlier in life.
When people sit they often end up in a slumped posture. A slumped posture compresses the stomach and intestines. This decreases the body’s ability to digest and absorb nutrients. Over time, core strength can be lost.
Slumping also puts the hips into a position of long term flexion, in this position of long term flexion. In this position the psoas muscles, which connect the lumbar vertebrae to the femur, tighten, gluteal (buttock) muscles become weaker, and hips loose their range of motion.
In the elderly population these physical consequences increase the likelihood of a fall. Falls for the elderly increase the risk of death in the following three months by five to eight times! Besides the fact that the more falls equals more fractures resulting in decreased quality of life thereafter.
If you’re sitting anywhere for a prolonged times, get up and move every 30 minutes.
Data from the 2016 Women’s Cohort study suggests that even fidgeting is more beneficial than no movement at all. A gentle 10 minute movement routine can prevent any blood flow damage which can occur with three or more hours of sitting. Loss of blood flow by just 1% can increase an adult’s risk of heart disease by 13%.
Movement is life. Your ability to move can reduce the development of some of the most common spinal injuries and chronic diseases known in our world.
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The effects of posture on health are becoming more evident.
Spinal pain, headaches, moodiness, blood pressure, pulse rate and lung capacity are among the many functions most easily influenced by poor posture. Many symptoms, including pain, may be moderated or eliminated simply by improving one’s posture.
One of the most common postural problems is Forward Head Posture. Ideally the head should sit directly on the neck and shoulders. Given the weight of the human head is generally between 4.5- 5 kilograms, it’s important that this load is distributed appropriately. When your head sits perfectly upon your neck and shoulders, the body naturally adapts to holding this weight. If your head is constantly pulled forward, the weight of your head pulls on your neck and puts pressure on your spine. This additional pressure on your neck, shoulders and back could lead to serious tissue damage.
We have been forced to adapt to having our heads forward of our bodies due to the repetitive use of computers, video games and tablets, and even carrying backpacks has forced the body to adapt to a forward head posture. ‘Text neck’ is also a significant contributor of Forward Head Posture. This is the term used to describe the injuries and pain sustained from looking down at mobile phones or other devices for too long. ‘Text neck’ does not occur only from texting, as looking down to read or work with crafts can also cause this. The symptoms associated with ‘text neck’ include chronic headaches, upper back pain, shoulder pain, neck pain, and increased curvature of the spine.
Repetitive movements in a certain direction will strengthen nerve and muscle pathways to move that way more readily and cause postural changes over time. When spinal tissues are subjected to a significant load for sustained periods of time, they deform and undergo remodelling changes that could become permanent. One commonly seen deformity is ‘Dowager’s Hump’, often referred to as a ‘Back Hump’ or ‘fatty hump at the back of the neck’. Dowager’s Hump is a hump that can form at the base of the neck. It is most commonly caused by having improper posture; more specifically, Forward Head Posture. Over time, the spine adapts to support the new position of the head which results in a more extreme curvature of the spine, leaving a hump.
Forward Head Posture has also been shown to flatten the normal neck curve, resulting in disc compression and damage, and even early arthritis of the spine. It’s important to understand that long standing postural problems can cause spine and nerve damage, and that often symptoms will not present early on, but rather after several months or years.
Therefore, monitoring good posture is essential for optimum health. With a little awareness and a chiropractor by your side, you can avoid suffering from damage and degeneration that poor posture can bring. If you are concerned about your posture, or your family’s posture, talk to your chiropractor to learn more about what you can do to prevent future posture- related problems.
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Adam's Back is a team of dedicated complimentary health professionals. Our aim is to support you in finding drug-free solutions for better health.