When you introduce yourself as an Osteopath, one of the first comments most people come out with is, ‘Oh, so you treat backs’. This usually gets a sigh and a quick explanation that osteopaths treat all manner of injuries, including but certainly not limited to backs! However, as this misconception is unlikely to disappear any time soon, I end up seeing a large number of patients suffering from back pain.
Although some come in due to an injury that occurred whilst playing sports, the vast majority of people will describe how they did something small:
- Leaning up to reach a book.
- Putting on their socks in the morning.
- Twisting to put on a seatbelt.
One minute you feel fine, and the next, WHAM, back pain.
So, Why Does This Happen?
In these kinds of cases, I start to look at what these people do on a day-to-day basis.
- How long are they in a car?
- How long are they at a desk?
- How long are they on the sofa?
- Spotted a common denominator yet?
All of these ‘activities’ involve being seated for extended periods.
The simple fact is humans aren’t designed to sit all day. It reduces circulation, stretches important ligaments within the lower back, shortens the pelvis’s supportive muscles, and weakens key muscle stabilisers. When you then get out of this continuous seated posture and do something your body is not used to, it doesn’t take much for one of those tissues that have been compromised to fail.
Tips To Help Improve Your Work Posture
There are things you can do to help yourself in this situation. Be aware of your work posture and the layout of your desk at work. Think about the positioning of your car seat. Perhaps most importantly, try to prevent any future problems by strengthening your muscles through exercise and helping to balance the tissues with regular stretching.
If you are suffering from back pain or are concerned about how your work posture may affect you in the future, come in for a consultation with us. We can examine your general and work posture, implement strategies to improve it and aid your general health, flexibility and mobility. Addressing back pain early can help prevent long term problems, so don’t sit around hoping it will go away.
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