Sitting constantly for long hours can be more dangerous than smoking, says Doctor

Sedentary lifestyle can be the cause for back pain or stiff back

Not only kids but adults also are seen hunched over their tablets or smartphones these days. More than 60% of adults between the age group 30 to 50 years of age spend their day glued to electronic devices. Owing to the sedentary lifestyle especially at workplace, there has been a 10-15% rise in the number of patients with back pain over the last five years. Many a times, it also can be due to the wrong posture; sitting hunched over gadgets for a long period can spoil the posture.

Nightingales- Home Healthcare Services

Corporates have led to an increase in sedentary jobs, sitting continuously in the same hunched position for long hour leads to overuse of the muscle. “If there is constant pain in the back then repetitive strain injury could be the cause. Pains that begin because of a static posture increase the pain around the neck and shoulders with time. Back pain is a form of mechanical pain that occurs due to imbalance of muscles. Those with back pain or stiff back should avoid taking pain killers or epidurals. It is advisable to take rest for 3 days and relieve the pain naturally,” said Dr Vijayabhaskar, Physiotherapist and Head of Rehabilitation, Nightingales- Home Healthcare Services.

If the pain does not reduce after 4 days also then the individual requires medical intervention and needs to get it diagnosed immediately. “Usually, people prefer popping a pill for back pain but due to lack of rest the pain recurs causing added trouble. To avoid such occurrence, one should indulge in regular exercise that will help train the muscles. Those with a sedentary job should get up every 30-40minutes for a stroll or just stretch the body; especially lower body and upper back,” added Dr Vijayabhaskar.

“Regular activity is a must for the body to train the muscles properly. Any musculoskeletal problems will recover fast if the body receives proper rest. But for constant pain it is essential to increase the calcium intake and rely on healthy nutritious diet. Regularly exercise or visit a physiotherapist to improve the flexibility, endurance and strength in the body. Sitting constantly for 8 to 10 hours at a stretch can be more dangerous than smoking as it leads to diseases,” added Dr Vijayabhaskar.

If you have back pain or a stiff back, remember these simple steps..

  • During exercise, avoid abdominal crunches as they put additional strain on the back.
  • Continue with daily activities but do not exert oneself with heavy exercises
  • You can hold an ice pack where pain persists, but at 20 minutes intervals.
  • Do gentle stretching exercises that loosens tense muscles and strengthens others
  • Fix your posture at work, such that your spine is aligned
  • Try sleeping on your back
  • Opt forany relaxation techniques like meditation or yoga
  • Massage your back once a month, take bath in hot water

Exercises that can be followed at work to avoid a stiff back:

It is imperative for those sitting for long hours to get up and take a stroll after every hour and the following stretching exercises should be done every two hours.

  1. As you sit at your desk, bend down and touch your feet. This bending exercise can be done standing as well
  1. As you sit at your desk, use your left hand to touch the right corner of your backrest. Similarly, repeat on the other side to twist upper body
  1. Stand and stretch your upper body backwards with your hand on hip; bending will help stretch the spine and muscles.
  1. With hands on hip, stand and bend on both sides.
  1. Also, bend your fingers and make a fist then stretch them again.
  1. While at home, one can indulge in floor exercises like planks or lying on your back and bringing knees towards your chest.

Exercises that can be followed at home:

The following exercises can be followed for mechanical back pain but do consult the doctor as based on every individual the pain could be for various reasons

  1. Lie down with stomach on the floor, hands and legs outstretched and face down. Slowly raise both hands and legs simultaneously upwards and gradually bring them down. repeat this for few minutes.
  1. Lie on your back, bend knees such that feet is flat on the floor. Now, sit up and twist hip sideways.
  1. Lie on your back and lift each leg alternatively upwards.
  1. Lie on your back and try to only lift the hip from the floor, while rest of the body is still touching the ground.

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