Long sitting often causes back pain
Many working people in Germany spend most of the day sitting. This has far-reaching consequences. "Anyone who remains in one position for a long time loses muscle strength and body coordination becomes poorer," warns the University Hospital Freiburg. In addition, back pain is a common consequence of sitting for a long time. However, some simple exercises can help to keep the risk of illness as low as possible.
According to the Freiburg University Hospital, about five percent of all sick days are caused by back pain. According to the experts, these are often related to the daily sitting times. "Unfortunately, the time in which we sit has overtaken the time in which we are moving," emphasizes Jörg Bohmann, head of central physiotherapy at the Freiburg University Hospital. The effects on our health are questionable.
Numerous negative effects when sitting for a long time
According to the experts at the Freiburg University Medical Center, “Lack of exercise is one of the greatest health problems of our time.” Sitting in a long, crooked position would not only negatively affect the joints and spine, but also the cardiovascular system, the vessels, and breathing , the digestive system and mental well-being suffer. If you stay in one position for too long, muscle strength will be lost and coordination with the other parts of the body will become worse. In addition, the need to move is waning, as the body has got used to the crooked sitting and lack of exercise, so to speak.
The spine needs movement
Normally, the spine resembles a double S-curve, which is kept stable by muscles and ligaments, with the intervertebral discs balancing movement and buffering. In this way, “the complex interplay of structures with simultaneous stability and mobility is possible,” the Freiburg experts explain. To do this, however, the system had to be moved regularly and trained in a coordinated manner. However, this is neglected in many people's everyday lives. The result is increased back problems.
Pain often sets in suddenly
According to the Freiburg physiotherapist, the occurrence of back pain can often be determined in situations in which the spine is acutely stressed in a crooked incorrect posture. "It is not uncommon for acute pain, possibly a herniated disc, to occur when lifting heavy loads, when sneezing or when pressing on the toilet," explains Jörg Bohmann. Because these are postures in which the spine is not optimally aligned for such loads.
A visit to the doctor is not always necessary
If acute back pain appears, a vicious circle often arises, because "the pain leads to tension in the muscles, which in turn leads to an intensification of the pain," says Bohmann. Therefore, according to the expert, a pain-free position should first be found. Warmth and small, light movements can also help relieve tension, the Freiburg physiotherapist explains. A doctor does not always have to be consulted here.
Detect warning signals
According to the expert, whether a visit to the doctor is necessary depends on various factors. Basically, this is necessary if the body leans to one side when standing or there is a striking asymmetry. The same applies if the pain radiates into the arms or legs or is accompanied by neurological changes such as tingling, numbness and atypical muscle weakness. In such cases, neurological complaints in particular should be clarified as soon as possible, Bohmann warns.
Integrate movement into everyday life
Movement is urgently needed in terms of prevention. However, when doing sports, care should be taken to ensure that training is not one-sided, says Bohmann. Endurance, strength, mobility and coordination should be trained equally. Small challenges could also be built into everyday life, such as "getting out of the elevator one floor earlier than necessary and taking the stairs, parking the car a few meters away or riding a bike right away," according to the Freiburg University Clinic.
A few exercises can also be easily integrated at the workplace. Although heavy and frequently used items should always be placed on the shelf at chest height, “light things can still be very high up or down,” emphasizes Bohmann. Then you have to stretch or actively bend every time, because it ensures movement. And finally, the spine should whirl, i.e. move, the physiotherapist continues. (fp)