Much research has come out regarding the negative effects of a sedentary lifestyle and prolonged sitting. From cardiovascular issues to obesity and even diabetes, it seems that a sedentary lifestyle can set you up for a number of health conditions.
One health condition that is overlooked in talks about prolonged sitting is joint health. Research is now pointing to the fact that your sitting and relaxing habits are setting up your joints for disaster.
It has been longed believed that years of being active or performing certain work activities could put added stress on the joints, as well as speed up the wear and tear of cartilage. But no activity at all is just as harmful on your joints, and it’s a growing problem.
Whether you sit at a desk all day or simply lounge at home, if you spend countless hours sitting you’re hurting your joints. The most common complaint of those who sit is back pain. Even though a person may experience back pain from sitting, there is a deeper problem still occurring within the body, too.
Common topical remedies for joint pain involve gels, creams, and even heat applications. Although these treatments may offer relief at first, they won’t solve the ongoing health issue, which continues the longer you sit.
Prolonged sitting contributes to stiffening and weakening of the spine and neck muscles, and this is what leads to the back pain. Furthermore, prolonged sitting can reduce blood flow to the spine due to muscle stiffness. If blood cannot reach the spine, neither can oxygen. Arthritis and joint pain can further develop as a result. Additionally, a seated position applies pressure onto the spine, nerves, and tissue, contributing to pinched nerves and herniated discs.
As you can see, your sitting habits can negatively impact your joints. If joint pain is a common complaint for you, you may want to consider moving around much more.
Unfortunately, we live in a world where sitting is inevitable, and so there are going to be times when we need to sit – which is okay! We don’t want to scare you from sitting. We simply want to make you aware of the implications of prolonged sitting and a sedentary lifestyle.
If you have to sit – which you inevitably will, – ensure you are sitting properly. Yes, there is a correct way to sit. Ensure that your feet are flat on the floor, and your knees are bent comfortably at a 90-degree angle. Sit up straight, as slouching forward puts added stress onto the neck. If you’re using a computer, ensure your elbows, too, are at a 90-degree angle, and that you are not looking down or up at the screen – it should be comfortably at eye level. Furthermore, don’t sit for long periods of time – take conscious breaks to get up at least every hour to move around.
To get blood circulating again, you can partake in non-exercising activities like stretches, squats, or bends – basically anything that doesn’t necessarily get your heart pumping, but is enough to get those muscles moving. You will probably find that even these simple movements are enough to relieve joint pain and reduce joint pain episodes.
Now that you are more aware of the hazards of sitting on your joints, get moving more often and become conscious of your sitting habit.
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