By the time you reach middle age, your bone strength, muscle elasticity and muscle tone start to decline. The discs in your spine become drier and less flexible, making them less able to cushion your vertebrae. The degeneration can also make the spinal canal, which is the passageway that carries your spinal cord, narrower. All these can result in a low back pain. In today’s sedentary world, the common cause of low back pain problems is due to lack of exercise.
If you are overweight and have a sagging stomach around the midsection, this may pull the pelvis forward and creates stress on the lower back. Overweight and obese people who carry extra pounds may experience sciatica and low back pain from a herniated disc or a pinched nerve.
Inactivity causes you pain and makes you fat. Lack of exercise can cause or worsen back pain because of increased stiffness and weakened muscles. A sedentary lifestyle usually results in a chronic lower back pain.
Sitting in office chairs for hours at a time can cause low back pain and if you already have one, may worsen existing back pain. Too much sitting, referred by the doctors as the sitting disease, is today’s most common kind of physical inactivity that increases your risk of developing heart disease, cancer, obesity, and diabetes.
Don’t you know the sitting is the new smoking? It puts your health at risk. With the increasing number of men and women suffering from debilitating back pain, at present, the lower back pain has been determined as the leading cause of disability.
Its prevalence has been estimated about 31% among the general adult population around the world. The National Institute of Neurological Disorders (NINDS) found the cause to be the sedentary lifestyles and behaviors manifested by most individuals at home and in the workplace.
Sedentary lifestyle is the key problem of low back pain and injury, which often leads to employment disability. Several factors greatly affect your mobility and bring disabling conditions, such as inactivity and a sedentary lifestyle.
A sedentary lifestyle can increase the pain you already feel from injuries of the spine, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, cerebral palsy, herniated discs, and many other enabling diseases. Suffering from a chronic lower back pain could even make some forms of work and exercises difficult.
Over time, the wear and tear on the spine may result in disc degeneration or spinal stenosis. If you are over the age of 30 or 40, you are more likely to have disc related disorders. An excess weight and the lack of regular exercise increase the likely severity of the pain.
Any type of prolonged poor posture will, over time, increase your risk of developing back pain. Disabling conditions, such as a herniated disc and sciatica, could make any task quite painful and increasingly difficult at times.
If you are living a sedentary lifestyle, you need to do some stretches every 30 minutes. Sitting for long periods makes your body stop working effectively. Shout out to the virtual assistants who are spending most of their time facing their computers.
The more this kind of routine becomes regular, the more detrimental it can be for your health. Below are some of the problems that may arise from a sedentary lifestyle
- Mental stress, depression, disordered sleep, and exhaustion
- Eye strain, temporary blurred vision, headaches
- High blood pressure, stroke, angina, cardiovascular disease
- Loss of muscle mass, loss of flexibility, carpal tunnel syndrome
- Chronic pain in the neck, shoulder, back or hand
- Ruptured discs, pulled or strained ligaments
- Weight gain
A sedentary lifestyle is the well known predictor of obesity and other components of the metabolic syndrome. Prolonged sitting is the common definition of a sedentary lifestyle. Lifestyle behaviors can significantly affect a person’s health.
Muscle tightness normally occurs at the base of the neck and often runs to your facial muscles, upper back, shoulders, and the pelvic area. Long periods of sitting may result to pressure sores, osteoporosis, and skin breakdown along with the feeling of muscle strain and tightness.
Most people who are under stress and don’t manage it effectively tend to sleep poorly, have a poor diet and get little exercise. Add stress related muscle tightness to the mix and back problems can result.
Being anxious activates the body’s stress response. The body’s stress response may include causing the muscles to tighten so that they are more resilient to damage when in real danger.
The greater the degree of stress response, the more effect it has. One can be up to the point that the body’s muscles become extremely light, even to the point of pain.
High anxiety and persistently elevated stress can cause muscles to become so tight that they experience chronic pain, stiffness, soreness and immobility. As your anxious behavior increases, so will stress and its effects. This may result in severely tight muscles in the back.
Tight muscles are more susceptible to being strained and damaged. Any muscle is susceptible to anxiety and stress, which often results in tension and pain. Strained muscles may lead to spasm and lock up, causing even greater pain and immobility.
Many hospital and doctor visits are a result of chronic back pain due to stress, including the stress that anxiety causes. There is a direct correlation between stress and chronic back problems, including stress caused by psychological and emotional problems.
Lifting. Whether you lift every day or occasionally, doing it properly can reduce the chances of hurting your back. Always bend your knees, keep your back straight and tighten your abdominal muscles when lifting. Avoid twisting. Hold the weight close to your body. Don’t lift anything that is too heavy.
Prolonged sitting. If your lifestyle behavior consists of prolonged sitting, you can move your body every 30 minutes for 5 minutes and do some stretching exercises or simply walk the stairs.
The best sitting position is to align your back against the chair back. Avoid slouching or leaning forward. Keep your knees even with your hips or slightly higher.
Stress and anxiety. Manage your stress. Reducing your anxiety can help alleviate chronic back pain. It may not diminish quickly, as stress reduction takes time.
The long term solution to anxiety and stress caused chronic low back pain is actually simply reducing your anxiety and it will lessen the body’s stress. As a result, the body stops exhibiting chronic low back pain symptoms.
Regular light to moderate exercise can help loosen tight muscles. Heat (hot pack therapy) causes tight muscles to loosen. Warm bath and massage can help make you feel good.
Vibrator on the back helps loosen tight muscles and stop muscle spasms. Breathe slowly and deeply. Change how you think about your pain and yourself.
Exercise. The best way to manage chronic lower back pain and the effects of a sedentary lifestyle are a healthy diet and fitness routines. There are simple back exercises and stretches you can do at home to help ease the pain, improve strength and flexibility.
One thing to keep in mind. Exercises can give you relief, but the wrong move can leave you in even more agony, and possibly send you to the ER. Most back pain is mechanical, meaning day to day life stresses lead to overload.
Don’t just lie there. It could be tempting to do that until the pain subsides, but being on bed more than a day or two can make your back pain symptoms worse.
Walking is an excellent activity to start. Walk 10 to 15 minutes a day at a moderate pace.
Stretch out. The right stretches can help calm low back spasms. Stretching is most important because it helps move your joints, stretches your muscles and connective tissues, and prevents stiffness and discomfort of the joints.
You can do the back pocket stretch. Stand up and place both hands behind you as if putting them in the rear pockets of your jeans, look up and extend your back.
You can do press ups. Lie on your stomach and place your hands on the floor as if you are starting a push up. Press just your upper body up, let your lower back sag by keeping your hips close to the ground. Hold for a few seconds.
Know that the pelvic floor muscles lie just inside the pelvis. It can be painful when they have been tight for longer periods. One symptom is the burning discomfort at the entrance of the vagina, which is often misdiagnosed as a chronic yeast infection. To elevate the condition, one must avoid wearing tight clothing and sitting longer than 15 minutes to an hour at a time.
The muscle strength and function changes as your length of time from any activity changes day to day. The moment you follow a sedentary lifestyle, changes happen and you experience pain that is sometimes more intense than an ordinary back pain symptom.
Muscles excessively shortened or lengthened do make changes in the joint function, which predispose you to injury. This is common among workers who retire and just stay at home.
Physical activity is a requirement for good health and mobility. Start walking at least an hour a day. Walking on a treadmill is good, but an early morning walk with lots of good fresh air is best.
Please do not be impatient with stretching. Some muscle groups may need a minimum of three months of intense stretching to see any real improvement. Americans spend at least 86 billion dollars each year on back pain, so stick with your stretching exercises.
A sedentary lifestyle prevents and delays the body from proper conditioning. Because the lumbar spine bears the heavy forces or weight of the body, the muscles that support it need daily exercise to function well.
Avoid smoking. One study found that the nicotine in cigarette smoke thickens the walls of the blood vessels, which restricts blood flow on the lower back and increases the amount of time for healing and recovery for back injury.
Dr. Mercola (n.d.). How To Treat Back Pain Without Dangerous Drugs.
Nicholson, S. (2016). Lifestyle and Back Pain. LowBackPainProgram.
Our bodies function at their best when muscles work in sync with one another. Weak muscles can lead to back pain. Low back pain can interfere with daily activities. The best approach to preventing low back pain is having a good diet meal plan, have an effective weight loss program, do some stretching exercises, build strength and exercise every day.