Bridge to Health Blog
Bridge to Health Blog

Stop everyday life from becoming a pain

Written by Holly Clarkson   Posted in:Osteopathy   May 24, 2018

Stop everyday life from becoming a pain
As an osteopath, I’m regularly asked about the effects on the spine associated with prolonged sitting.  Here’s what I have to say on the matter.
 
Research has shown that after just one hour of sitting, the lower part of the back (known as the lumbar region) can become stiff.  In this research study, findings showed that this part of the back became more resistant to bending forwards. This means that overall there is less range available in the lower back joints.  By itself, this isn’t a sole cause of lower back pain, and stiffness doesn’t always equal pain and dysfunction.
 
In the longer term though this stiffening could be a factor which would certainly contribute to lower back pain, and possibly dysfunction in other areas of the body. It’s the beginning of a negative chain of events.
 
If our spine becomes stiff we have less and less range available in the joints of the spine.  For reference, you have 3 joints at every segmental level or vertebra - this could be said to increase to 7 if you include the rib joints at levels where you have ribs. Pain can then easily occur when we perform movements which require a larger range of motion from our spine than we have available at that moment. This is often related to things as simple as twisting to talk to someone or bending down to pick something off the floor.  It’s after these seemingly ordinary movements that people experience twinges and pain in their back and then seek help from an osteopath.  “I only bent down to put my socks on! How could that have caused me so much pain?” patients might ask.
 
Here is the explanation.  Prolonged inactivity, such as sitting, leads to painless stiffness. If we don’t keep this stiffness in check it will lead to jarring and pains as we try to reach beyond our new limited range, simply by doing everyday movements that we feel our bodies can / should be able to cope with.
 
The answer isn’t to move less or limit our movements even further to protect our back. The answer is absolutely to move more. Be childlike about your health and wellness, not childish.  Fidget, roll on the floor, sit in as many different positions as you possibly can if you really do have to sit, wander off, twist, bend, roll…. The rest is up to you.  Just get up out of your chair!
Tags: Osteopathy,


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