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How Sitting Impacts Your Back Muscles
Let’s say you spend most of your time at your desk in your office. Maybe you go to lunch and grab some delicious tacos, and after work you finish that show you’ve been looking forward to all day. After vegging on the couch for a while, you sit down at the kitchen table to have dinner with your family.
What do all of these scenarios have in common? You are sitting in all of them.
Most people spend more of their day sitting than standing. It’s easy to understand this statistic, especially when you take a moment to realize how true it is for yourself. All that sitting affects your back muscles.
If you’re concerned about the impact that constant sitting is having on your body, you’ll be happy to learn that there’s a way to sit for hours on end without the nagging lower back pain. And if you’re not concerned, read on. The consequences of sitting for most of the day will surprise you.
Our bodies were not originally designed to sit for long periods of time, yet we do it almost every day. No matter our age or job, we still find ourselves sitting on a couch or in front of a screen far more consistently than we should. As sitting all day becomes more normalized, our bodies start to adjust to this unhealthy lifestyle, and we increase our risk for injury.
The problem really stems from our posture. In order to compensate for the excess strain caused by excess sitting, your neck tenses,, which increases the curvature of our cervical lordosis (neck). It puts strain on your trapezius muscle (the muscles on your upper back extending to the back of the neck). Eventually, the trapezius muscle becomes overly tight and tense. This is extremely damaging to the body. This tension causes us to develop irritating knots and tension.
Then the entire back begins to arch forward because the muscles begin to weaken from strain. As the back arches, it starts to form unhealthy posture, and the lower back bears the weight of the strain.
What is Biomechanical Instability?
One of the more serious problems caused by sitting is when the discs in between our lumbar vertebrae begin to sag. When a disc bulges or herniates, the muscles tighten and try to hold everything together so that nothing can damage the discs any further.
You’re also straining several of your muscles in different ways while you sit—for example, you’re stretching your hamstrings, but loosening your quads. Your muscles get used to the position that they’re in while you’re sitting. When we try to pick ourselves up and move again, we are trying to force these tight muscles into an entirely different posture than the one they’ve adjusted to, which can put even further strain on these muscles. We call this process biomechanical instability.
What Happens While You Are Sitting?
When we’re too sedentary (and so many of us are these days), you’re going to be especially prone to slouching. After all, when you’re at a desk or in front of a computer all day, it becomes all too easy to lean forward or slouch down in your seat. And while at the time it may feel like a more comfortable position, this can really hurt you in the long run, and it quickly becomes a habit.
It might start with aches and pains, especially in your neck and lower back, which is uncomfortable enough on its own. However, slouching all the time can lead to even more serious problems, including joint pain, muscle tension, weakened muscles, and poor circulation. You might even find yourself more tired overall, or less productive at work.
All About the Hips
The hips are foundational, providing support to the spine, legs, and torso, which hold up your body. In order to maintain correct posture, your hips have to work hard. The hips also have to fight gravity to hold you up, and when you have weak hips (which is a common symptom of sitting too much), the legs collapse inward, putting pressure on your kneecaps and causing your feet to flatten.
If the hips are weakened, they can no longer hold themselves up when you take a step. They end up dropping when we take each step, leading to significant hip pain. In order to compensate for the difficulties that the legs are trying to maintain, the lower back takes the weight of the strain. This eventually causes significant problems for the lower back.
Sitting impacts your hips, causing them to weaken which in turn strains the back. So, what can we do about this problem? We can begin by correcting our posture, therefore relieving the tension in the lower back and throughout the body. But how can we correct our posture when we need to sit for work?
The Posture Fix
Because the threat that sitting poses to our bodies is so severe, we’ve spent years dedicated to trying to find a better way to sit.
The result is our BackStrong chair. The BackStrong’s design keeps your posture in check as you sit. The seat of the chair pivots so that your hips can move naturally and remain strong enough to support your body.
We kept the danger of health problems due to poor posture in mind as we designed, as well as how much sitting impacts your back muscles, to create a chair that prevents people from having to go through this pain in the first place.
What are the Benefits of Proper Posture?
Now that we see the problems that stem from sitting, including increase of injury, slouching, biochemical instability, weakened hips, sciatica, and lower back strain, what are the benefits of proper posture? Some of the benefits include:
- reduced lower back pain,
- fewer headaches,
- increased energy levels,
- less tension in your shoulders and neck,
- decreased risk or abnormal wearing of the joint surfaces,
- increased lung capacity,
- improved circulation and digestion,
- reduced temporomandibular joint (TMJ) pain, and
- improved core and scapular strength.
Changing your posture for the better can benefit your health and your life in some major ways. You are saving yourself from the future burden of correcting years of sitting the wrong way. With our chair, you can continue to sit as much as you need without having to think twice about whether or not your health is being put at risk.
Change Your Chair, Change Your Life
Sitting impacts your back through weakening your hips. When you are sitting for too long at one time, you are putting your muscles in positions they are not designed to be in. And when we normalize sitting all day, we are putting our bodies at risk for injury—not to mention pain. When the discs in between our lumbar vertebrae begin to expand, which likely turns into a chronic problem, this can lead to biochemical instability.
Here at all33, we believe you don’t have to settle for the way things have always been.
When we begin to change our posture, we can start to live again with significantly less pain and trauma to our bodies. And when we choose to prioritize our health early on, we are saving ourselves from a lot of trouble in the future.
Our BackStrong chair provides a posture fix so you can get back to doing everything you need to do without having to worry about the consequences of traditional sitting. Your future is waiting for you.