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6 questions answered about sitting and its impact on back pain

As the saying goes "Sitting is the new smoking" and there is definitely some truth to this. 

Here at the Scandinavian Health Institute, Dr. Sebastian Kverneland, DC aims to help patients make lifestyle changes that will impact both short and long-term health. More and more of us, sit more than anything through the day. How does sitting impact your back health? This type of sedentary lifestyle directly impacts our health and can cause headaches, back and neck pain. 

1. What are some of the negative effects of increased sedentary behavior?

The list of negative effects is quite extensive. It’s linked to multiple diseases and health problems directly and indirectly. We understand today the importance of lifestyle, as 70-80% of the things that kill us are non-genetic, meaning they are mainly a result of how we live our lives.

2. How long does it take for these effects to kick in?

The answer to this question is very relative, depending on what the standards are. You could argue the effects kick in right away, but the symptoms come on later. Many health problems can be from wear and tear of the organs trying to adapt to a problem and eventually failing to do so, this can be the stage where the problem becomes evident.

3. What can people do to try to reverse the trends of the sedentary lifestyle?

Good routines for your health is very important. But as our situation has changed it can become a bit more of a challenge. It is however quite possible to stay healthy. You can exercise in your home and you can eat healthy at home.

Making sure to get 8 hours of sleep is important and the key to prevent and attack many ailments. And we know from the blue zones that community and being social is very important for a long and healthy life. In times like this it is different than before but with discipline and creativity you can still be social. Set up some gathering meetings with your best friends over Skype and take a glass of wine together could be one way. Or if you are seeking new friendships, apps like Twine, that connects you to people virtually is also great. 

4. What is the link between back pain and sedentary behavior?

Back pain is very often a result of sedentary behavior. It’s very important for the whole locomotor system to be in activity. Just think about astronauts in space how they lose muscle mass and baone strength without gravity. Movements are so important for this system. And no matter how correct of a position you might be in while you are working at your desk, any position for a prolonged time is bad. The joints need to keep on moving for a vast amount of reasons. The discs in between your vertebrae remain hydrated with movement, you might know that we can be taller in the morning, this is because the disc rehydrates as we sleep and don’t have gravity pushing down. If disc height becomes diminished it can alter the joint integrity and set you up for a cascade of back problems. But if we keep moving the disc will remain strong and healthy.

 

5. What are some exercises can people do from home to reduce back pain and lessen the effects of being homebound?

We can take into account that sleep is important for back health, and mental health and so, so is having a good ergonomic set up at the office desk, also ideally we should have an alternating sit/stand desk so we can change positions, standing is much better for our metabolic fitness. Also doing yoga is possible, and HIIT training or whatever exercise that works will be good to reverse or prevent back pain. You could even argue that doing 5 days of fasting-mimicking diet would be good to reverse and prevent back pain. Back pain can be complicated and it’s best in my clinical experience to attack it from all angles.

6. What stretches/movements do you recommend for sitting all day?

I would recommend getting up often to move around and stretch while working at a desk. Have a reminder on your phone to get up at least once an hour to stand and move around. I also suggest walking around (even in place) whenever you are on your phone. To relieve neck tension, stretching the upper trapezius muscles, the levator scapulae, the sub occipitals and sternocleidomastid muscles will all help. 

 

SCANDINAVIAN HEALTH INSTITUTE

We are proud to offer you Modern, Scandinavian Chiropractic Care.

With our main office in Los Angeles, we have built a reputation of always putting the patient first. At the Scandinavian Health Institute our goal is to find the root cause of your pain. With a strong focus on science and new treatment types you as the patient can be sure that you get the most comprehensive treatment. We specialize in headaches, neck and back pain, and chronic pain. We have experience in helping patients of all age ranges.

The Scandinavian Health Institute is centrally located in LA on La Brea Avenue between Santa Monica Blvd and Melrose Ave. One of the reasons we have patients from all over the city, including Hancock Park, West Hollywood, Malibu, Silverlake, Bel Air, Beverly Hills, Los Feliz, and Santa Monica is because of Dr. Kverneland’s high standard of care, where quality is everything.

In addition, we have flexible hours, virtual appointments as well as house-calls to your home or your office. You can easily book an appointment through our websiteor by calling us at (310) 750-9887.

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