Our bodies were not made to sit for hours on end, 5 days a week. If you have a desk based job you might be spending more time in the chair, not moving, than you should be.
Getting up to take a walk, grab a drink or do some stretches can reduce the risk of repetitive strain injury (RSI) and cumulative low back loading and therefore back pain (1), eye strain (if you are using a computer) and is just plain and simply good for you! Some research (2) even shows that breaks can enhance your productivity by increasing focus.
A break from the desk is a win win situation!
The great news is you can and should move and there are plenty of free desk top apps that can help remind you to move during the day.
We have found our favourites and think you should take a look yourself.
Stretchyhttps://hovancik.net/stretchly - is great as it runs on every desktop platform. Every 10 minutes it encourages you to take a 20 second break. Every 30 minutes it tells you to step away from...
If you have acute back pain, can you tell if it is being caused by a slipped disc (AKA a prolapsed or bulging disc), or if it is a more simple (but still painful) muscle spasm? It is not always possible to tell the difference - both can be extremely painful and stop you in your tracks.
There are signs and symptoms which may indicate a disc injury - signs which you should not ignore. If these are present, you should seek help for your back pain quickly. Early diagnosis and help can prevent further damage being done.
How it starts. The onset of pain can be sudden and severe with lifting or sudden motion. But it is often also associated with some days or weeks of having an achey or stiff back which suddenly deteriorates.
Pain in the leg. Pain may be severe in the back, but also will be severe in the leg and/buttock on the side of the injury. This pain is produced by a compressed nerve - compressed or irritated by the prolapsed disc.
Do you suffer from back and neck pain, head aches and even shoulder pain? Do you feel stiff? Do you feel your posture is not what it used to be? If the answer to any of these is “Yes”, you are not alone. We have noticed that a large percentage of people with these symptoms cannot identify what is causing their pain.
Consider this - you might be feeling this way due to altered upper body posture and reduced strength.
The strength of our upper back and shoulder girdle, along with a good core, provides a base for all upper body movement. If your muscles fatigue easily, then you may start to feel pain.
Why is this such a common problem?
Habit. The most common cause of altered upper body posture and strength is habit. Those who spend many hours at a desk or those who have jobs that force them to adopt a slumped posture for many hours are more at risk. The upper back becomes stiff, and the muscles lose their strength.
Back ache when you stand is so common. Standing and walking slowly around a gallery, waiting for the tube, standing at a cocktail party, waiting in an airport check-in queue – our backs get tired and achey. The pain can build and be very severe.
2 Reasons why standing is still so difficult for our backs.
When we stand for long periods, pressure from gravity and body weight gradually builds on the structures of our back which causes gradual increase in compression – This, in engineering terms, is called creep. As this occurs pain and aching can develop in the structures of our back.
The longer we stand the more likely it is our core muscles and posture muscles will fatigue and reduce their effectiveness. A fatigued muscle will ache, and will be less effective in protecting our back.
5 practical ways to Reduce Standing Back Ache
Activate your core. The minute you feel back ache starting, or before, try these three exercises.
Sitting may seem innocuous, but did you know it is the cause of a huge number of cases of low back pain.
When you look at the pressures that are put through your back when you sit, you start to see why it can lead to back pain in so many people.
The disc of the lower back is like a cushion between the vertebrae. It is a fibrous disc with a soft centre that allows the disc to absorb shock and give free motion to the spine. If the disc is put under ongoing strain, it can become injured or dehydrated, and it can rupture and prolapse – the “slipped disc”.
This diagram show how the pressures in our discs are effected by our body position and posture. You can see how the pressure on the back is least when we lie down, but highest when we sit in a slumped position. In fact, any sitting at all has a much higher disc pressure than standing. And when these pressures are applied over an 8 hour work day, week after week, the results can be very damaging.