Sitting for too long is unhealthy! Not only does it bring other ailments such as obesity and high blood sugar, but also affects our spine greatly. If you have been experiencing back issues due to sitting for too long at the desk or driving long distances, then this blog is for you. Read on to know more about how to deal with back pain from sitting too long.
How To Deal With Back Pain From Sitting For Too Long
- Move Around
- Do Exercises That Strengthen Your Core
- Correct Your Posture
- Try Heat Therapy Or Use Body Warmer
1. Move Around
You might be tempted to slump back into your chair and stay there because of the pain, but you need to do the exact opposite. Even if you go to your family physician, they will advise you to move around instead of being in one place. Yes, resting in bed for a short time can help alleviate the strain that causes back pain. But if you stay in bed for long periods, the ache might become even worse.
What happens when you remain sedentary during lower back pain is that the muscles distributed around the back and spine become weak. When those muscles become weak, the spine doesn't get optimum support and this causes pain to occur.
To prevent the pain from aggravating, start moving around. Go outside and walk briskly for around 15 minutes so that your back muscles don’t remain stiff. You can try other activities such as swimming and biking to ease back pain. Swimming would be a more apt sport to do as the water will support the back. However, avoid doing any strokes that cause intense pain.
2. Do Exercises That Strengthen Your Core
The muscles present in your abdomen core help in supporting your back and they get weak when you sit for long periods. This is also known as muscle atrophy and happens due to the lack of physical exercise. By strengthening your abdominal muscles, you not only allow your core to support your back, but you also relieve and prevent back pain.
You can start by doing specific core strengthening exercises. Some of the main muscles these exercises target are the multifidus (back muscles that support the spine), erector spinae (spine extensors that help with movement), and diaphragm. Here are some core strengthening exercises which you can try out:
- Dead Bug: Helps in strengthening the lower abs and pelvic floor muscles.
- Planks: Targets the quadratus lumborum, a back muscle that’s responsible for the movement of the spine and pelvis.
- Bird Dog: This exercise targets the hips, core, and back muscles. It stretches the spine, improves stability, posture, and lowers back pain.
Also, regular exercise relieves back pain and not vice versa. Start with small movements and gradually pick up pace as the pain leaves.
3. Correct Your Posture
We don’t pay much attention to our posture when we sit, but little do we know how crucial it is to our spine. Poor posture puts a load on your back muscles which can result in the spine taking a lot of the strain just to support the body. This also weakens the tissues in your lower back, causing pain and stiffness when the strain goes beyond a point.
You can use certain devices to ensure that your spine is aligned. While working, you can use straps or stretchy bands to ensure that your good posture is maintained and tension is released from the lower back. However, there are small changes you can make to your routine if your job involves a lot of screen time:
- Get Good Laptop Accessories: While using the laptop, the general tendency is to hunch while looking at the screen and this can be detrimental to our lower back. Try getting a separate keyboard and mouse along with a lap desk. By setting your laptop on the lap desk, the laptop screen will be at eye level and your extended mouse and keyboard will be at hand reach. This will encourage you to sit straight, automatically improving your posture and reducing back pain.
- Hold Your Phone At Eye Level While Sitting: If you can maintain your laptop at eye level, why not your mobile phone too? Holding your phone at eye level while sitting ensures that you’re not straining your neck muscles unnecessarily. If you’re finding it strenuous to hold your phone at eye level after some time, that’s an indication to give your phone and yourself a break.
4. Try Heat Therapy
If you have been dealing with back pain for a while, try heat therapy or you can also use body warmer. When heat is applied to the affected area, blood flows faster to it, bringing plenty of oxygen, nutrients, and platelets to aid in the repair of damaged tissues. Also, heat helps in softening the tissues around the spine, alleviating muscle stiffness.
There are quite a few ways you can provide heat to your back pain. While sitting, you can use heat relief patches or heating pads as well. Warm bottle bags are another heat-administering medium you can use.
However, some may argue to use ice therapy instead of heat to heal back pain. But it all depends upon the circumstance. Heat therapy works better to reduce sore muscles and stiffness whereas ice therapy via ice packs is effective when there’s inflammation. So, choose whatever suits you best.
Back pains caused by sitting for too long are pesky ailments that can interfere with daily life. But since you know how to deal with back pain from sitting too long, you’re now better prepared to treat it the next time the pain arrives.
Is It Normal For Your Back To Hurt After Sitting For A Long Time?
It’s quite normal for your back to ache after sitting for long periods since pressure is put on the spine and back muscles. That’s why it’s recommended to take short walks after every 30 minutes an hour.
What Is The Fastest Way To Relieve Back Pain?
Improving your posture, exercising, and using heat therapy are just some of the many ways of relieving back pain quickly.
How Do I Know If My Back Pain Is Serious?If your pain doesn't improve and spreads to one or both legs, then you know it’s time to visit your physician.