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The Link Between a Sedentary Lifestyle and Back Pain

At any given time, about 65 million American adults report having a recent experience with back pain. Of them, around 16 million people have some level of chronic back pain that interferes with daily living. While there are many specific reasons that cause back pain, an inactive lifestyle could be a major secondary contributor to conditions that result in back pain problems. 

Movement is a key factor in many aspects of maintaining health. Your back, and more importantly your spine, is a complex system of bones, muscles, ligaments, and other soft tissue. Keeping these parts mobile and in use helps to assure that they continue to work well. Living a sedentary life increases your risk of problems. 

When long-lasting back pain affects your days, visit the specialists at Jackson Neurosurgery Clinic. Most back pain has a conservative solution provided that you have an accurate diagnosis and effective treatment plan. Understanding the role that inactivity plays in contributing to back pain can help you avoid problems in the future. 

The connection between back pain and a sedentary lifestyle 

When you’re in pain, the natural tendency is to rest and avoid the movements that cause pain. For many injuries, this is the correct response. Yet, for many musculoskeletal and joint conditions, inactivity actually works against healing. 

Back pain is usually caused by a condition that benefits from continued movement. Certainly, you want to avoid extremes of motion, including heavy lifting or high impact exercise that could aggravate pain. 

Gentle walking at a pace that causes minimal discomfort or, better still, time in a pool can keep joints and soft tissue of the spine working, flexible, and well-supplied with blood — the transport system for the raw materials of healing. 

While this might seem counterintuitive, it offers an insight into the importance of movement and pain-free living. If staying mobile is beneficial to healing after an injury, it may also serve as a preventive measure prior to injury. There is a minimum amount of motion necessary to keep your body flexible and pain-free.

The sedentary dilemma

Daily life sometimes dictates long periods of time in a single posture. You might be sitting at a desk or standing at a machine as part of a job or hobby. The requirements of deadlines or your involvement in the task can distract you from awareness of your immobility or poor posture. 

You may not equate your job requirements with sedentary life. You may consider yourself an active person outside of work or other daily tasks. However, your activity may not be enough to counter the effects of the inactive parts of your day. 

Disuse syndrome

There are changes throughout your body when you reach a certain point of inactivity, called disuse syndrome. In your back, it can create a downward spiral when you suffer pain, increasing your inactivity to avoid the sometimes sharp bursts of pain. Resting more than a day or two becomes counterproductive, as your muscles lose tone and other soft tissue starts to suffer from lack of movement. 

Adding a few minutes of walking may be a surprising pain reliever in the early stages of a back pain episode. However, when the pain persists, reach out to Jackson Neurosurgery Clinic in Flowood, Mississippi. Make an appointment by phone or online to consult with our back pain specialists. Return to regular living and book your session now.