Could Sitting Cause Problems with Lifting?
By Sara Butler
Have you ever decided to get up after you’ve been relaxing for a while and finish some things on your to-do list, only to have your lower back lock up when you try to bend over? This is a story your chiropractor hears a lot, and for a good reason. When you injure your back in an activity such as this, it isn’t so much what you’re doing as when you’re doing it. Here are a few tips to help you think about what you may be doing to injure your back and help you to time your activities better!
What Started the Pain?
When you see your chiropractor due to sudden back pain it is probably easy to recall what you were doing when the pain began – but that’s not the most important thing. Most of the time what you were doing right before the event that began your pain is the key to understanding your injury.
When you think back to what you were doing before you hurt yourself it was probably nothing – and nothing is definitely something when it comes to back pain! When you sit for long periods of time, that's what's priming your body for injury. Especially if you sit in a slouched posture, just about anything you do once you get up can lead to a sudden and seemingly unexplained pain. Your body was not made to be sedentary for long periods of time, and the pain you may experience once you get up and get moving is your body’s way of protesting prolonged periods of sitting.
What Should You Do?
Studies have found that sitting for just five minutes can reduce the strength of your spine and make the chances of injuring yourself more likely when you do become active and try to, for example, lift a box. So, how can you combat this? There are a few ways.
First and foremost, see your chiropractor regularly to help keep your spine in alignment. An aligned spine is also a more flexible and supple spine, and that can help to reduce your chances of getting hurt. Plus, your chiropractor can monitor your back for any changes that may lead to trouble down the road – which is especially important if you do a lot of bending and lifting or any repetitive movement with your spine.
It’s also important to make sure you are lifting properly, engaging your abdomen and using your legs and hips to lift, never your back. Your chiropractor has a lot of knowledge about this, so have them talk with you about the proper way to lift everything from a flower pot to your child.
Finally, make sure you stretch regularly on your own, especially after you’ve been sitting for long periods. Sitting can cause muscles to shorten and become tight, so try to counter this as best you can by finding a stretching routine and making it a regular part of your day.