Back pain is a familiar malady these days, affecting 8 out of 10 people at some point in their lifetime. Its prevalence is linked to an increasingly sedentary lifestyle. Less than 20% of private-industry jobs require moderate physical activity and experts agree that our bodies aren't designed for optimum desk job performance.
The body loves movement," explains Dr. Mary Ann Wilmarth, chief of physical therapy at Harvard University. "When you're in one position for a long time, your back doesn't get the full range of motion."
Sitting also puts more stress on your back than standing. When you're seated, your spinal column has to hold 140% of your body weight. When you're standing, this decreases to 100%. The extra stress when sitting can strain muscles and cause disc problems. Combined with prolonged poor posture of hunching over your computer, you're bound to feel some aches eventually.
Feeling the pain? It is treatable. If your pain is caused by a specific condition like stenosis or a herniated disc, or, if your pain radiates to other body parts, you can consult with your physician or call The Franklin Pain Center.
For nonspecific pain, the key is to get moving. Try standing every 30 minutes and stretching, extending arms upward while gently arching your back. You don't have to stretch for long periods to feel relief. Just standing up for a minute or two puts the muscles in a different position, increases blood flow and relieves some of the stress on your body.
Increasing your range of motion is key. If you sit at a desk, you need to perform standing activities. If you walk often already, consider an exercise with a different motion, such as bicycling. If your pain makes it too difficult to do these activities, The Franklin Pain Center will provide treatment to get you in a condition where you can do more physical activity than before and build up muscle to mitigate future painful conditions.
Excerpts from Kansas City Star