The Risks of Desk Jobs and Your Spine

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The Risks of a Desk Job and Your Spine

In today’s world, many of us are spending long hours sitting at a desk. This may not seem like a big deal, but this sedentary lifestyle can have serious consequences for your body, especially when it comes to your spinal health and the risk of developing damaged discs. Let’s talk about why sitting for long periods is harmful and why it is important to move.

To understand why sitting for long periods can be trouble, let’s talk about the structure of the spine. Our spine is made up of bones called vertebrae, and between these bones are cushion-like discs. These discs help our spine move and absorb shocks. Each disc has a tough outer layer and a gel-like center. This entire disc and bone complex surrounds and protects one of the most important parts of the body and that is the nervous system.

When we sit for hours on end, the pressure on our spinal discs remains for hours on end. Over time, this continuous pressure can cause the discs to lose their flexibility and become dehydrated. Sitting with poor posture can also weaken the surrounding structures around the discs, making them more prone to damage.  One example of this is the herniated disc.  This happens when the gel-like center of a disc pushes out through a tear in the outer layer, putting pressure on nearby nerves. Symptoms of a herniated disc can include back pain, radiating pain, numbness, tingling and muscle weakness.

Sitting for long periods increases the risk of developing a herniated disc in a few ways. The constant pressure on the spinal discs can cause the gel-like center to bulge or herniate, especially in the lower back where the discs bear the most weight. Poor posture while sitting, such as slouching or constantly looking down, can also contribute to disc degeneration and increase the chances of a herniation.

Thankfully there are steps we can take to reduce the risks associated with prolonged sitting and protect our spines. Here are some simple tips to keep in mind. Take regular breaks. Make it a habit to get up, stretch, and move around. Even a short walk or a few stretches can help relieve pressure on your spinal discs and improve circulation. Set up your workstation ergonomically. Ensure your desk, chair, and computer are set up to support a neutral posture. Adjust the height and angle of your chair, desk, and monitor so that you can maintain a comfortable and aligned sitting position. Strengthen your core. Engage in exercises that target your core muscles, which provide vital support for your spine. Activities like planks, bridges, and abdominal exercises can help strengthen these muscles. Always be mindful of your posture while sitting. Sit up straight with your back against the chair, shoulders relaxed, and feet flat on the floor. Avoid slumping or looking down for long periods.

Staying active should be a large part of your routine. Consider activities like yoga, walking, swimming, or other exercises that promote flexibility and strengthen the muscles supporting your spine.  Your body is made up of a myriad of hinges and joints and they are all meant to move.  The moment you stop moving is the moment those joints, bones or discs start to wear down. By being aware of the risks of prolonged sitting and making simple lifestyle adjustments, you can keep your spine in better shape and reduce the chances of developing herniated discs or other spinal problems.


— This article is written by Aaron Workman, DC, one of the members of Chambers Medical Group’s team of car accident chiropractors who offer a variety of treatments and therapies ranging from diagnostic testing to various soft tissue therapies for car accidents and injuries in Kentucky










Have you been in a car accident? If you or somebody you know has been in a car accident, be sure that you seek medical attention from a car accident doctor or car accident chiropractor to treat your injuries. Visit Chambers Medical Group  to receive world-class medical treatment for your injuries.

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