“Time bomb” in store due to “sit still” culture

A back pain “time bomb” caused by excessive seated activity at school leading on into further excessive sitting in the modern workplace was described in The Daily Telegraph in mid-September 2011. From a sample survey half the 18-34 year olds questioned said they suffered from regular back pain and almost two thirds of all adults suffered back pain. The article associates the consequences of the “sit still culture” as loss of vital muscle tone that destabilises the spine.

As chiropractors we are aware of the classic back studies that have shown stationary sedentary work is as risky to your spine as heavy lifting. The major problem not mentioned in this article is the quality of lumbar disc cartilage in the low back, it relies on a protein rich joint fluid pump to renew itself and hence the quality of protein repair will not be good if there are only the limited cycles of movement that we find in office workers. Which brings us to the question, what is good practice at school and the office, should students and employees get up and move around more rather than the ethos to sit stationary for most of the time as it is now? From the evidence it suggests we should be getting up and moving more often rather in the same way people do it already periodically to avoid getting a DVT (Deep Vein Thrombosis) on a long haul flight. We should consider promoting action that reduces softening and weakening of vital low back structures especially in the young, which may have widespread national health consequences further down the line.

Edwin Joyce BSc DC

Links

Back pain ‘timebomb’ in store due to ‘sit still’ culture – The Telegraph, 14th Sep 2011