I doubt anyone would have difficulty determining the cause of a complaint of neck or back pain sitting with terrible posture, however, sometimes problems with sitting are not so obvious. The average American sits for 9.3 hours per day – according to a random internet factoid. Whether or not this is accurate, we know modern humans are sitting far longer than the body is built for. The CDC has cited more problems with prolonged sitting than you can shake a stick at – far higher rates of obesity, heart disease and diabetes, and yes, neck and back pain – to name a few. While we’re on the subject, 6 hours or less of sitting, per day seems to be the sweet spot for better health.
Because too much sitting is clearly a problem, researchers have looked at ways to explore more standing in the workplace in a project called “Take a Stand”.1 By creating work stations that are more flexible for sitting AND standing, study participants reduced time spent sitting by 224% (66 minutes per day), they also had reduced upper back and neck pain by 54%, and improved mood states. No surprise, once the participants went back to their old habits, all the benefits from the study were lost.
We would love to help you learn to create positive sitting habits, basically – how to sit less, and when you do have to sit – how to sit better, and of course….. live longer!
Jean Masse DPT, OCS, ATC
1. Pronk NP, Katz AS, Lowry M, Payfer JR. Reducing Occupational Sitting Time and Improving Worker Health: The Take-a-Stand Project, 2011. Prev Chronic Dis 2012;9:110323. DOI:http://dx.doi.org/10.5888.pcd9.110323 .