Stand and Deliver ... A Healthier Back
By Krista Elliott
Other than writing, I have a side job as a vacation fill-in at our local salt mine. Today, I worked in the quality control lab. It's fun work, and the day goes quickly with all of the samples that need to be tested. (Plus, I have the joy of getting to say, "Well ... back to the salt mines!" when I go to work there.) The only downside to the job is that I'm on my feet all day. And I do mean all day. Other than a quick break for lunch and a morning coffee break, I'm on my feet (in steel-toed boots no less), standing on concrete and tile flooring.
I just got home from a shift, and my back is stiff and aching, my hips feel like they're full of ground glass, and the less said about my knees, the better. And it got me wondering: Why is standing for long periods so hard on the back and joints?
I Won't Stand For This
You wouldn't think that standing would be so tiring. After all, you're just ... standing there, right? But as it turns out, standing requires quite a bit of effort, according to occupational health and safety experts:
Keeping the body in an upright position requires considerable muscular effort. Standing effectively reduces the blood supply to the loaded muscles. Insufficient blood flow accelerates the onset of fatigue and causes pain in the muscles of the legs, back and neck (these are the muscles used to maintain an upright position).
Excessive standing also causes the joints in the spine, hips, knees and feet to become temporarily immobilized or locked. This immobility can later lead to rheumatic diseases due to degenerative damage to the tendons and ligaments (the structures that bind muscles to bones).
When you walk around a lot, you'll still get tired, but your joints stay moving (and lubricated), which helps to prevent the onset of stiffness and its associated pain.
So if you have a job that requires long periods of standing, how can you protect your back and joints?
- Wear supportive and comfortable shoes that have enough room for a well-cushioned insole.
- Change position periodically. Even just putting one foot up on a low stool for awhile can relieve pressure.
- If possible, ask your employer if some of your work can be done seated.
Take a Load Off
A great way to help prevent back pain is with routine chiropractic care from the professionals at The Joint Chiropractic. By ensuring that your spine and joints are healthy and functioning at their best, you're better able to withstand the strain of standing for long periods. And if you're already injured (or just really achy)? The Joint can provide gentle and precise adjustments that help alleviate pain and correct any subluxations that have occured. And you don't even need to make an appointment!
So visit The Joint today and get on the path to a happier, healthier back. We're definitely worth our salt!