Low Back Pain/ Hip Dysfunction caused by poor posture
The average person’s work week consists approximately of 40 hours, for a lot of those the majority of that time can consist of them sitting at a desk on a phone or computer. That time doesn’t even factor in commute time as well as dinner and lounging at home. Experts say that the average person can spend more than half their waking hours in a sedentary state.
It is well known that sitting for long periods of time can cause a lot of negative effects such as strain on your cardiovascular system as well as an increase risk in colon cancer. But what a lot of people don’t know about it is the actual physical disorders that come with sitting for long periods of time, such as weaker/underused abdominal muscles, weak glutes whiles shortening your hip flexors making them tight and decreasing Range Of Motion in your hip. This muscular imbalance can begin to force other muscles that are not commonly used to become overworked and tired and furthermore contributing to a muscle imbalance, which can cause hyperlordosis, kyphosis, and scoliosis, as well as a twisted pelvis. Tight low back muscles can pull and twist your spine which could lead to degenerative disk disorder (DDD), or a subluxation of one or several vertebrae. When you decrease the activity of muscles you begin to decrease the electrical activity going to those muscles which begins to make them weak and under developed which could lead to atonic muscles. The decreased angle in the hip while sitting for long periods can cause a decrease in blood flow to your legs decreasing the amount of blood, oxygen, and nutrients that can feed your muscles making for leg cramps and sometimes swelling in the feet due to lack of venous return.
Luckily Massage and Physiotherapy can be used as a preventative as well as therapy for the many conditions that sitting for long periods of time can cause. The main focus of both is too focus on the muscular imbalance and to bring you back to your norm as much as humanly possible. Some of the main areas of focus during treating is to loosen tight hip flexors, increase neurological function in the low back, glutes, and abdominals, loosen up Para spinal muscles which will decrease the risk of DDD and subluxation of the spine. During a massage the pressure and direction of stroke will help to increase blood flow to your low back and hip as well as into your legs providing oxygen and nutrients to areas that are being malnourished due to lack of blood flow.
The best was to prevent any disorders caused by sitting to long is simply to stand up and move around. Experts say you should stand up for at least 5 minutes every hour to get muscles working and blood flowing. Staying hydrating is very important during any point of the day for it helps keep muscles elastic (including your heart muscles), the spine works like a pump while moving bringing fresh water to your vertebral disks keeping them hydrated. Some offices have implemented standing desks or the use of exercise balls in place of regular chairs which can keep workers constantly moving, keeping blood flowing and muscles working. Stretching and strengthening exercises are very important to maintain healthy muscles, stretching out hip flexors to maintain full ROM in the hip, strengthening core either by doing push ups or the plank, stretching out your low back and abdominal area by doing both the cat and cow pose, and finally strengthen your back by doing rows and one arm rows.
Written by: Sean Cameron, RMT