Archive for August, 2008

Fitness tip of the day: Calling time on your back pain

August 22, 2008

One question I am frequently asked by clients is why back pain seems to occur after hours of sitting (or standing)? The answer is not the act of sitting, but rather remaining in

one place—for longer than 15 minute.

The problem:

Postural strain from prolonged maintenance of any one position results in tissue creep (gradual deformation of tissues resulting in reduced ability of those tissues to tolerate mechanical stress). This can result in increased injury risk.

In particular, sitting causes an increase in disc pressure. Positioned between each vertebrae, the discs are filled with fluid and act as shock absorbers for the spine. Over time, the cumulative pressure of sitting can cause the discs of the back to herniated (burst open) and release their fluid.

This can cause the vertebrae to grate on one another while this fluid seeps over the spinal nerves which can cause pain and numbness down the legs.

The solution:

Tissue creep begins to occur after around 15 minutes of sitting/standing in the same position. With this in mind, set your watch and get up for a short walk every 15-20 minutes.

As opposed to sitting, walking has longer been recognized for it’s recuperative affects on the tissues. If forced to sit for prolonged periods, roll up a towel and place it under the small of your lower back. This will naturally maintain your lumbar curve and provide needed support for the discs.