Anyone who works at a desk for a living knows how difficult it is to maintain proper posture, and thereby avoid back pain as a result. Others, like truck drivers and sales people who spend long hours in the car or on planes also know this well. Prolonged sitting puts a strain on the lumbar region of your back, and this is often compounded by improper workstation ergonomics and an improper desk chair.
Slouching while you’re sitting, holding your head forward, and rounding your shoulders make matters worse, as this can overstretch your spinal ligaments and strain the discs in your spine. Over time this can damage your spine and cause chronic back and neck pain.
So what can you do? Many workers can’t change the fact that their job requires sitting … but you can likely fit in regular periods of standing. According to new research, this may hold the key to reducing sitting-related pain and other symptoms, including fatigue.
Regular Standing Breaks Reduce Back Pain
Researchers at the Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute in Australia set out to determine what would happen if workers spent part of their normally-seated workday standing. As you might suspect, those who alternated between sitting and standing every 30 minutes over the course of an eight-hour day experienced significant benefits.[i]
Among them, those in the sit-stand group had 32 percent fewer musculoskeletal symptoms in the lower back and 14 percent fewer in the ankles and feet compared to when they spent the entire day sitting.[ii]
Breaking up the day with periods of standing also led to less fatigue in the workers, who also noted that their days were much more enjoyable overall when they spent part of it standing. And as for productivity, it remained largely the same whether the workers were sitting or standing. According to the researchers:
“Transitioning from a seated to a standing work posture every 30 min across the workday, relative to seated work, led to a significant reduction in fatigue levels and lower back discomfort in overweight/obese office workers, while maintaining work productivity.”
This is a simple trick you can use in your own workday. You may need to prop up your computer on a counter or another surface if a standing workspace is not available – although many companies are now offering these to their workers. Do be careful not to stand for prolonged periods, either, however, as this can cause similar back-pain issues as prolonged sitting.
And while you’re at it, try out this decompression exercise to further relieve back pain while you’re standing.
Do You Have Back Pain? Here’s How to Get Relief
Even when you know how to correct your posture, maintaining it can be difficult, especially if you’ve grown used to poor posture. And even with the best posture possible, sitting (or standing) for too long in one position can still cause you pain. If you’re overweight or obese, losing weight can make it easier for you to improve your posture, as can regular exercise, which strengthens key muscles necessary for correct posture.
Still, abnormal postural conditions created by prolonged sitting are almost assuredly causing your muscles, joints and ligaments to function under increased stress and strain, eventually leading to failure (i.e. pain). You must address these issues to permanently relieve your pain and restore proper posture.
The solution? First identify and then correct your muscle imbalances!
With the Lose the Back Pain System, you’ll go through a series of self assessments designed to help you pinpoint which postural dysfunctions you have, then you’ll discover a customized series of corrective exercises, stretches, and self-treatments that are unique to your condition and specific muscle imbalances. If you sit for long periods (more than a couple of hours at a time), then you almost assuredly have muscle imbalances, and probably related pain and tension, too.
Get the breakthrough system that’s helped more than 64,000 people to become pain-free now.
[i] Occupational & Environmental Medicine August 28, 2014
[ii] Health 24 November 5, 2014
Written By: Updated: November 10,2014