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Can “active sitting” help your back pain?

back pain

Sitting – we do it entirely too much. At least, that’s the result of several studies that have shown just how dangerous a sedentary lifestyle can be to health. Sitting too much has far-reaching consequences for just about every aspect of personal health: Not only can it contribute to weight gain, but it also increases a person’s risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke, and may even raise a person’s risk for cancer.

For people with back pain, too much sitting still can cause muscle stiffness, spine misalignment and even inflammation, all factors that can significantly contribute to the level of pain you feel and can even have an impact on the health of your back and spine.

While some small studies have examined the effect of standing-style desks on overall health, that’s a solution that can be pretty impractical for most people with desk jobs; plus, some anecdotal reports indicate standing can be distracting, reducing productivity and creativity.

A better option for most people is to adopt a new way of sitting called “active sitting.” In active sitting, you incorporate small bursts of activity into your daily routine. These activities aren’t aimed at increase in fitness as much as they are intended to increase circulation to your muscles and other tissues to prevent tissue degeneration over time.

Here’s how to incorporate active sitting into your daily routine:
  • Roll a soup can or tennis ball on the floor with your feet (take your shoes off first). The back-and-forth motion keeps blood moving through your legs so muscles get the oxygen they need, and it can even reduce foot pain and swelling.
  • A few times a day, sit at the edge of your chair to allow your spine to stretch. Most of the day, we sit slumped in our chairs. Moving to the edge of your seat causes your spine to reverse position, stretching muscles and easing strain.
  • Try “wall-squatting.” Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, back against the wall, and slowly lower yourself to a sitting position with knees at a 90-degree angle. Hold for a minute or so and repeat two to three times to stretch muscles and improve circulation.
Of course, the first thing to do if you have back pain is to see your doctor for an evaluation to rule out serious disorders. If you’re experiencing pain, call us today at (800) 890-1964 to schedule an appointment.

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