Hi, I’m Dr. Connie Jeon.

So over the weekend I needed to complete some projects, which meant I was in front of the computer longer than I needed to be.

Once I stood up, I had this unusual low back stiffness.

And in truth, I’ve been having on and off low back pain for a while now. This leads me to the topic for today.

A Common Cause of Low Back Pain

With so much of our work on the computer, we are constantly sitting~ about 7.7 hours a day on average, for most of us.

This is according to the American Journal of Epidemiology.

But did you know that sitting can be detrimental to your spine?

It may be the root cause of your low back pain.  

This is because sitting typically increases disc pressure in your spine by 300 percent when compared to standing.  

When such pressure and compression is repetitive and prolonged, it can lead to degeneration of the spinal discs, and cause numbness, pain, and weakness of the spine.  

This is bad news for us.

Stats

An astounding 8 out of 10 people will experience low back pain at some point in their lives, according to the National Institute of Health.

The truth is that we often don’t even realize the level of compression and degeneration our spine is experiencing while we are sitting.

Not only that, but research further validates that the lumbo-pelvic junctions are often crooked, or malaligned, causing further dysfunctional muscle memory.  

Research also proves that prolonged sitting promotes flattening of the lumbar curve, which increases intradiscal pressure and can lead to accelerated disc degeneration and herniated discs.

So what can you do limit the damage?

Work on daily habits:  

  1. Sit with a Purpose: Sit so your hips are higher than your knees and with your feet planted on the floor. This position helps you maintain the proper level of curvature in your lumbar region, or lower back, helping to reduce compression. Research proves that adding lumbar support, such as a small pillow behind your lower back, can also help.
  2. Take a Stand:   Take a break every 50 minutes; stand up, take a short walk, and/or stretch.  Rather than sending instant messages or an e-mail to a co-worker, walk to their desk and leave a note.  Deliberately take a break from sitting, stand for a few seconds, and stretch your hamstrings and back every hour.
  3. Move: Rather than sitting at your desk or in the break room sipping coffee during your break, get out of the building and take a quick walk; get some sunshine while you’re at it.  Everyone can benefit from a simple walk throughout the day. Not only does it add up, but it brings positive results for my patients.  Trust me!
  4. Seek Help:  If you already have low back pain, weakness, and numbness, a good physical therapist can provide smart treatment to set your bones right and teach your proper exercises and postural training to prevent further degeneration and injury.  Watch this video to learn about good posture and simple exercises that can help relieve your low back pain.

The key is not to nurture the dysfunction for too long.   Time is against us. No matter who you are, while we can help our bodies slow the aging and/or degeneration, we can’t stop the ticking of the clock.

Take care of your spine and your body before it’s too late.  

It’s much easier to reverse the dysfunction when you’re younger and symptoms are not as extensive.

As always, please share this blog with anyone who may need it.

Thanks, have a great day.