Did you know that the majority of adults sit for approximately 13 hours of 16 hour day (minus 8 hours of sleeping)? Crazy isn’t it! Especially from an evolutionary stand-point – humans are supposed to move! Prolonged sitting can have various negative short & long-term effects on our health & body.
When we sit, the glutes (bum muscles), hip-flexors & hamstrings to shorten – this is bad. It compromises these powerful stabilizer muscles and can contribute to lower back and hip pain. It can also affect our gait & balance, making activities like walking & exercising harder. And this is when we are sitting correctly!! Throw in poor posture or slouching whilst sitting & this can multiply our pain levels further, potentially causing compression of the discs in your spine.
As with your legs, glutes, & lower back, your shoulders & neck may also suffer from prolonged sitting. Muscles in your upper back & neck tense up causing serious aches & pains throughout your shoulders, neck, & upper back. This is why ergonomics are so important!! Poor keyboard or mouse positioning, or chair height can again exacerbate your aches and pains.
Most people don’t realise that knees are a victim of our poor sitting posture. Sitting for long periods of time with your leg crossed over your knee can cause your pelvis to rotate and tilt. This can cause pain in the lower back and lead to a misalignment of your spine over time. Sitting with one ankle tucked behind your other foot/leg is another posture that is terrible for your knees. This shortens the calf muscles and twists the knee joint, contributing to knee pain, ankle stiffness/instability, & plantar fasciitis (inflammation of the lining under the foot). Who knew that your poor knees would suffer with prolonged sitting?!
If your job keeps you at your desk for long periods of time, make sure that you take some time after work to get some physical activity and keep your muscles, tendons and joints in good working order is a good start. Even a short walk every day can do you the world of good. Though office environments may not be conducive to getting all the activity we should every day, there are lots of little things you can do to turn your sedentary lifestyle into a more active one. Set a timer to remind you to get up and move around every so often. Take your phone calls standing up. Try an adjustable standing desk for your computer. Get off a tram stop earlier and walk a little longer. Little changes can make a big difference.
If you are struggling with the aches and pains that invariably build around 3pm, come & see our highly experienced team of Osteopaths for a thorough assessment & treatment. We will assess your office postures and behaviours, provide ergonomic advice and suggest stretches & exercises as part of an effective & realistic management plan. Oh and you’ll definitely get a massage as part of the treatment!! So why not give Osteopathy a try!