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The Problem with Sitting

By Sara Butler

You’ve probably heard by now that sitting is the new smoking. That may not be just an attention-grabbing headline because sitting for long periods of time can be detrimental to your overall health and wellness in the long term. And doing all that sitting at work isn’t the only area you should be concerned about. Sitting in the car for extended periods is just as bad (traffic jam, anyone?), increasing the risk of chronic disease and other health issues, especially in the lower back. Here’s what the chiropractors at The Joint want you to know about how long periods of sitting can impact your back and what you can do when you're driving a long haul.

Lower Back Problems

Sitting for long periods of time has been linked to several painful conditions of the lower back, such as:

  • Sciatica – This is compression of the sciatic nerve that runs from the lower back down both legs. When the nerve root becomes compressed, it causes numbness, pain, and tingling in the hips, feet, toes, and legs.
  • Lumbar herniated discs – Sciatica can be caused by a herniated disc in the lower back. When the soft inner part of the disc spills out into the surrounding area, it irritates the nerve roots and can press on them, causing pain.
  • Sacroiliitis – This is a condition that causes inflammation on either one or both of the sacroiliac joints, located between the spine and the pelvis. The pain invades the lower back and buttocks, often radiating down the leg.

How to Reduce Back Pain While Driving

There are several things you can do to help reduce the chance of experiencing back pain when sitting for long periods and tips to help ease the pain if you are experiencing it. You should:

  • Take frequent breaks - When sitting for long periods, make sure to take a break every hour if you can. If that won’t work, then aim for at least stopping and stretching every three hours. Get out of the car and move around to break the posture you’ve been sitting in.
  • Practice good technique - When lifting things in and out of the car, you should bend at the knees, never at the waist. Taking items from inside your vehicle is a common way to injure yourself.
  • Make it easy on yourself - When you’re sitting and driving, make sure to have proper lower back support and sit at a comfortable distance from the wheel. Also, keep items you may need close by, within easy reach.

These tips should help to get you off to a good start to avoid back pain when sitting in the car. If you have questions or concerns, discuss them with the chiropractor at The Joint.

To learn more about your health and wellness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Los Angeles, Calif.

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