Take a break!
Working for long hours, continuously on a computer, puts a lot of strain on our neck and back. Those with a desk job generally need to sit for 8 to 10 hours every day. And for some, it even stretches to 15 hours a day. As a result, most of us are developing back pain at a very early age.
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Studies show that even if you work out daily, it may not compensate for the damage caused by prolonged sitting. Before we reveal how you can prevent neck and back pain, know how it can affect your overall health.
Ailments Caused by Prolonged Sitting
Prolonged sitting can result in many complications that silently develop over a period and can turn your entire life upside down. This includes:
– Stiffness and back pain: Spending long hours sitting can make your back and neck feel stiff by the end of the day. This is especially common if your sitting position is not apt.
– Neck pain: Craning your neck forward towards the keyboard for long hours can strain the muscles, ligaments and tendons in the neck area and cause stiffness and pain.
– Cervical spondylitis: Poor posture while working for long hours can increase the strain on the cervical spine in your neck. Over time, it can harm your spine’s natural structure and cause inflammation.
– Spinal injury: Too much sitting puts enormous pressure on the spinal discs and muscles of the back. Also, hunching before your computer overstretches your spinal muscles, increasing the chances of injury.
– Chronic illnesses: Prolonged sitting increases the risk of becoming overweight. This further raises the likelihood of getting chronic illnesses like heart diseases, diabetes, and high cholesterol levels.
– Leg disorders: Prolonged sitting slows down blood circulation, causing fluid deposits in your legs. This has a cascading effect from swollen ankles to varicose veins to risky blood clots called deep vein thrombosis (DVT).
If you sit for long hours and are experiencing any kind of pain, it’s best to speak with an expert to understand the cause.
Now Its Time to Burst A Common Myth
Exercise is bad for back pain: Absolutely incorrect! Regular exercise helps prevent back pain. People with recent injuries may be advised to go low on the exercise front. Usually, gentle movements are advised in such cases to avoid any unnecessary complications.
6 Small Changes for a Pain-Free Back and Neck
– Choose a good, comfortable chair
Adjust your chair for comfort, support, and movement. Tilt the back of the chair to recline it slightly. Ensure that both your feet rest flat on the floor and your knees are in level with your hips. Position your knees at 90 degrees, directly over your ankles; this will keep your spine comfortably upright.
– Don’t slouch or hunch over
Keep your head straight. Focus on aligning your head and neck right above your shoulders; avoid leaning forward.
– Sit at the right level above the ground
Your torso should be about an arm’s length away from the monitor, with the eyes leveled with the top of the screen. Do watch your feet as you should keep your feet planted on the floor and shoulder-width apart to minimize tension in your knees and ankles.
– Don’t cross your legs when sitting
Sitting cross-legged makes it difficult to keep your spine straight and shoulders squared, and you risk overstretching the muscles around the pelvis, upping your risk of varicose veins by interrupting blood flow.
– Get up at least once in 30-60 minutes
Stand up and move every hour because it eases the excess pressure on the muscles and improves the flexibility of the muscles. It helps reduce pressure on the spine and boosts circulation.
– Don’t forget to stretch frequently
Stretch after every 1-2 hours. Try re-enacting your morning wake-up, stretching your arms out to the ceiling, then do a few lunges or stand still and rotate your body above the waist. Don’t forget to include your neck and shoulders, rolling your head from shoulder to shoulder.
These small steps can go a long way towards great health. Don’t let long working hours or prolonged sitting strain your neck and back.
(The article is reviewed by Dr. Swati Mishra, Medical Editor)