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Many people work throughout the day on computers, thereby spending most of their time on the desktops, sitting for more than 10 hours at a stretch without doing any physical activity. There are many others who sit in buses, trains, planes and cars when they travel, spend time in restaurants to eat food or a meal, sit at home to watch their favorite Television shows, thereby following a sedentary lifestyle by spending whole day in some place. Experts say that people who sit at one place to work eventually experience pain in lower back and neck region either due to poor chair design or because of inappropriate sitting posture.
- While we change from a standing posture to a sitting posture there are various anatomical changes that occur. Lumber spine changes its shape to adjust on what we choose to sit and how we sit. If we chose to sit on a flat surface, stool, bench, without any back support we hunch the body forward for support, often resting our arms on our legs to reduce fatigue. As we hunch ahead, the lower back curves outwards into a kyphotic shape. (The neck and lower back sections of the spine have a natural curve to them called Kyphotic). This is generally regarded as unhealthy and uncomfortable sitting posture if sustained for a longer time. So at the end of the day we have to sit and maintain the lumber spine in a posture called Lordosis (the thoracic spine has a natural curve going in the opposite direction and this is called lordotic.
- To keep spine safe and healthy, one requires to make periodic changes in posture. A dynamic movement helps to increase circulation and reduce muscle fatigue. There is desirable range of movement that works for most of the people who live a sedentary lifestyle. There are many factors that can affect your back at the workstation and this includes sitting posture, computer screen position, chair height, keyboard and mouse position and desk equipment layout.
- One should be active even if he or she is a sedentary worker. The longer one is immobile, the weaker his or her back muscles will become, and the more they will hurt in the long term. For back pain that lasts more than six weeks, treatment typically involves a combination of painkillers and either acupuncture, exercise classes or manual therapy. Taking regular intervals between a long day struggle at office will help one maintain the pain and will keep the person active.
- In addition to walk for a while in office, experts say that doing some simple stretches can help the muscles to ease. Wrist extension and flexion by holding the top of your hand pushing it ahead and pushing your fingers into your palm to push the hand back helps to stretch the ligaments and tendons in the forearm which tend to get tight and shortened after a day of computer work. Hamstring stretches such as bending down to touch toes can help alleviate back pain. The biggest culprit in lower back issues is the hamstrings so you want to stretch the hamstrings to lessen the stress on the lower back. Stretching can help one’s blood flow in the right direction.
- Lumbar support and seat pads may help relieve lower back pain, but experts say the tendency with these aids is still to lean forward causing unwanted stress on the spine. Instead, they recommend a kneeling chair that has a fixed seat with a 30 degree slope and padded support for the knees. Because of the angle, [the kneeling chair] forces you to sit up straight and maintains a neutral position of the spine. Kneeling chairs also allow hip flexors to lengthen and put less pressure on the lower back by preventing slouching. Stress affects everyone regardless of back pain, but stress does have a physical effect on the lower back itself.
- Lower Back pain can be controlled by lessening the stress, improving sitting posture and also by following healthy food and life habits.