A few years ago the Chiropractors' Association of Australia launched a new slogan: "sitting for your spine, is like sugar for your teeth." While the reality isn't quite as bad as that, it is certainly true that sitting can cause or exacerbate existing back injuries. It works like this:
Holding any posture for an extended period (>20min) will begin a process for your body to adapt to that position. In the case of sitting, it will cause 2 small but significant adaptations:
These adaptations are harmless if you sit forever, but once your stand up, then the tight hip flexors pull the spinal collum forward, and the weak gluteal muscles are unable to stabilise the spine and pelvis. This creates more movement through the spine and an environment in which more wear and tear injuries are probable.
To counter-act these muscular changes, you can add gluteal strengthening and hip flexor stretching exercises to your daily routine (see below), or you could stand and walk around every 20min to prevent the adaptations in the first place.
For more information on back pain, email me directly via the contact page. For specific information on an injury you have, or for treatment, contact one of my clinics directly. You can find that information here.
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Dr Mitch Clark