Why do long hours of sitting gives back pain?
In today’s lifestyle if we are awake for 16 hours, we spend approximately 12 hours in sitting position : 6-7 hours of desk job, 1.5 hours of meals/tea breaks, 2 hrs of watching television 2 hours of driving to and from your workplace. This routine starts around 25 yrs of age or rather 20 yrs when you are pursuing higher studies. Giving a benefit of doubt that at least till your teenage you would be doing some sort of sports!
How sedentary routine affects the Spine?
Our body has a simple principle “if you don’t use it, lose it”. Unlike the human mind, our body doesn’t do any hoarding!
In a sedentary routine, muscles’ activity is minimised. Our muscles and joints have many fluids and fascias that make the muscles supple and keep the joints lubricated for smooth movement. But if you do not move enough then what will happen? The body will start losing lubrication as you are giving it an indication that you do not need to move much and so much fluid is not required. Hence body starts losing it.
Most of the MRIs of spine show desiccated discs! This explains that the spinal discs have started drying out because they have not been used! You would have also heard of muscle spasms in the spine and loss of lumbar lordosis. Muscle spasms also result in loss of lordosis which means that your natural curve in the lower back is reduced because of muscle spasms and stiffness.
Muscle spasms and loss of Losdosis are evidence that you have not paid enough attention to nurturing your spine through required spinal movements. As a result, paraspinal muscles start losing their flexibility and suppleness. They become stiff which results in lower back pain.
Most common reason for back pain
Most of the lower back pain problems are NOT due to slipped disc / herniated disc / prolapsed disc / Sciatica. These are advanced issues. In most cases, the pain is due to the desiccation of the spinal discs, weakness of core muscles, loss of muscle tone, muscle spasms in paraspinal muscles and reduction in lordosis. This applies to both, the Lumbar spine and the Cervical Spine. The cervical spine also loses its curvature, however, an additional factor for Cervical pain is the tightening of your pectoral muscles (chest muscles). For Lower back pain, tight hamstrings (muscles in the back of thighs) also play a significant role.
There is a proverb “A stitch in time, saves nine”. This signifies that if due care is taken at the onset of a problem, you can avoid irreparable damage. When your google maps start telling you that you are going in the wrong direction then you take a pause and immediately change direction to be on the right route instead of continuing ahead on the wrong one. Then why not do the same for your health?! Why do we ignore signals of our body ?!
A timely start of a good, balanced workout/yoga regime can save you from so much pain!
Summary of the context:
We are not saying that you should not be sitting for long hours even if it is required for you to make your living. It is not the activity that causes back pain. It is the lack of balancing work-out / Yogasanas that results in the accelerated degeneration of the joints. You need activities to counter the impact of long sitting and a sedentary routine. Just 45mins of relevant exercises can give you bandwidth for long working hours / long travel plans/trekking plans without pain. Unfortunately, it is just this time slot that you don’t want to focus on till the time the pain pushes you to!
Yoga therapy sessions, rope and belt therapy for back pain and Medical yoga with props can be of great help in getting instant relief from excruciating back pain. It also provides you with techniques to stabilise your muscle strength and how to keep going on even when the sessions are completed.