Our bodies are made to move. Unfortunately, our occupations have promoted an increasingly sedentary lifestyle. If we look from an evolutionary standpoint, our body developed to hunt and gather, utilizing a wide variety of positions and postures.
Today, the majority of the population sits in an office setting for 40+ hours a week. This consistent hour after hour, year after year, posturing causing selective tightening that affects our ability to function both at work and at home. Think of it this way. If I were to place your arm in sling for 40 hours a week over the course of 30 years, you can imagine how stiff that arm would be. The spine is no different.
Back pain currently accounts to an alarmingly 100 million workdays lost (roughly $28 billion lost in productivity) and is the leading cause of disability in individuals under the age of 50.
Let’s face it… you have to pay the bills, so what can you do to give yourself the best chance of preventing future injury? — You’ve heard it preached before- posture, posture, posture!
A study conducted by Anderson et al found that forward slumped sitting (the kind your most likely assuming now) contributed to the highest disc pressure in healthy adults. The next time you’re in the office take a quick glance around the office. You will see a consistent forward posturing that would make your mother/grandmother cringe. Sit up! Sitting erect, which usually requires the back of your chair, only increases your disc pressure by 40%. Our slumped posturing can account for nearly 85% more pressure on the discs in our back.
Another thing to consider at the office is bouts of standing. Standing actually decreases low back disc pressure when comparing to that of sitting. Who would of thought?
A quick note on improving your posture:
It’s tough. It requires what we call “postural strength”. If you’re weak in your core or postural muscles you will become tired and assume less desired positions.
Be patient when improving your posture with practice, you can help prevent a variety of spine conditions!