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Too Much Sitting—a Real Pain in the Back

woman at desk low back painIt’s quite common for patients to come to our clinic complaining of back pain without any idea of its origin. When questioned about their lifestyles, we often find many have desk jobs where they sit for eight or more hours a day. In many cases, that’s where the problem starts.

[building_callout]Too much sitting can lead to tight muscles in general, and especially in the hips and glutes. The more you sit, the tighter the muscles become until finally pain starts to appear. Many people forget that tight muscles in the hips may lead to back pain, even without pain in the hips.[/building_callout]

Your Body Is Built to Move

Our bodies are designed for movement. Long periods of sitting put extra pressure on the spinal discs, especially if you have an old injury or poor posture, but sitting can also affect your hips.

The biggest muscle is the hip flexor, which originates on the lumbar spine (aka the low back). The muscle ties onto the front of the spine in the low back, then travels down, attaching to the top of the femur (thighbone). When you’re sitting, the muscle contracts or shortens, and over time, it will get shorter and shorter. A good way to test this is to lie face down and bring your heels to your buttocks. If your hips rise even a little, they’re too tight.

Finding Solutions

So how do we address these tensions in our muscles and backs? The number one solution is to get moving. We suggest at least 30 seconds of movement every half hour. Stand up, walk around your desk, walk around your kitchen, dining room, wherever you’re working. Stretching is also ideal, pushing your pelvis forward to stretch those hip flexor muscles.

The second suggestion is to get some deep stretches in. Lunges are the ideal stretch for those tight hip flexors. If you feel it in the hip flexor on your back leg, you know you’re doing it right. Check out our YouTube videos of these exercises and more!

We’re Here to Help

Come into our clinic and let us assess your back pain. We’ll help reduce your pain and get you on a program to keep it from returning. Contact us today and let your Winnipeg chiropractors help you feel better naturally and check out The Healthy Commute podcast for more information!

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