Why Sitting and Resting Aren’t Always Best for Back Pain

Why Sitting and Resting Aren_t Always Best for Back Pain

Why Sitting and Resting Aren’t Always Best for Back Pain

Human beings have a natural tendency to rest when something hurts. As back pain specialists here at Lone Star, we see it all the time. Sometimes rest is appropriate, other times it’s not. In fact, long-term sitting and resting tends to make things worse for a lot of patients.

Only you and your doctor can determine what is best for your back pain. That being said, we’ve decided to use the occasion of this post to explain why sitting and resting are not always the best strategy, especially over the long term.

Human Anatomy Wasn’t Designed for It

A study of human anatomy suggests that we were not designed to sit and rest for long periods of time. We have a backbone designed to support the body in a standing position. Yes, the spine is subject to weight and pressure when standing, but we get optimal performance from the structures in the spine when we stand.

When we sit, the spine also undergoes pressure and stress. However, the pressure and stress are different. They are placed on the spine in such a way as to prevent it from fully supporting the body as it’s designed to do.

Standing creates the right kind of pressure and stress. Standing also promotes better posture which, in the end, strengthens the muscles that support the spine. Regular standing with good posture can actually strengthen the back and thereby alleviate pain.

Regular Activity Helps Too

In addition to standing, regular activity can help as well. Daily exercise builds strong muscles and keeps them strong. When combined with a proper diet, exercise also helps with weight management. Keeping excess weight off reduces the stress and pressure put on the spine, helping to relieve pain.

If we put these two things together, they point to something very specific: getting up out of the chair and moving around. This is very difficult for some chronic back pain patients as moving just a little bit causes more pain. And for some, even the thought of getting up and moving around is too much.

Part of an Overall Strategy

Although we believe in standing and regular exercise to help back pain, we would never make a blanket statement suggesting that it is the best and only solution for all patients. To the contrary, we understand that each patient experiences back pain differently. Yet we do believe that standing and regular exercise can be part of an overall pain relief strategy for most patients.

The challenge with long-term sitting and resting is that it can actually make pain worse. Being inactive allows muscles to weaken. It can cause the joints in the back to get stiff. Both issues only exacerbate back pain. In most cases, prolonged periods of inactivity and rest make pain worse. So when possible and appropriate, we advise patients to complement the therapies we offer with regular activity that involves standing and moving.

A Variety of Treatments

Here at Lone Star Pain Medicine, we offer a variety of treatments for back pain. They include options like injection therapies and spinal cord stimulation. We tend to offer our treatments in concert with other options that can include physical therapy and medications.

All of this is to say that there are multiple ways to treat back pain. We tend to explore each one so as to give patients the best possible chances of finding relief. In the meantime, we also urge patients to remain active and spend some time standing. Long periods of sitting and resting are not always the best option for back pain.

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