One of the biggest contributors to back pain is prolonged sitting in a flexed position. Almost everything we do is in a flexed position. We sit at our computers for work, we sit in our cars while we drive, we sit to eat, we sit to relax on the couch at night....I think you get the picture!
The reason we find ourselves in a SLUMP (pun intended), is that the muscles in the back were not designed to hold us up while we are sitting or standing for prolonged periods of time. Postural muscles of the back are made up of muscle fibers that are meant to hold us up and support the spine while we are up and moving around, constantly changing positions. Studies show that after 5 minutes of sitting, your muscles are no longer doing anything. Let me say that again, after 5 minutes of sitting, your muscles are NOT DOING ANYTHING! You are relying on your bones and ligaments to hold you up, and over time, this leads to pain!
But, there are easy ways to help reduce the effects of prolonged sitting. First, STAND UP! Stand up and sit down a few times after prolonged sitting to reactivate your muscles! Better yet, stand (in good posture) for several minutes while talking on the phone, texting, or answering emails. Take a walk around the building, or at least to the water cooler. You can fill up and stay hydrated while fixing your back! These are some good suggestions for helping to reduce the chances of back pain, but to really EXTEND your life, do the following exercises daily!
Stand up with your hands on the small of your back for support. Lean back into your hands, EXTENDING your back. Hold for 2-3 seconds, and repeat 10 times. This will help keep the discs in the back from protruding and putting pressure on the nerves that cause back and leg pain.
Lay on your stomach propped up on your elbows for 5 minutes every day after work. This will help undo all of the damage done by sitting for too long during the day and EXTEND the life of your back.
Finally, tighten your abs! If you can remember to tighten your abs, by pulling your belly button in toward your spine, and hold them while moving from sitting to standing throughout the day, you will do about the same amount of work as 30 crunches! WITHOUT DOING CRUNCHES! You'll also support your back and prevent back pain. Start tightening your abs before lifting, bending, and twisting and you are well on your way to flattening your tummy and protecting your spine.
There are many more ways you can treat your own back and neck. To find out more, attend one of our FREE, upcoming workshops. Click HERE to register today!