Sitting for long periods during the day predisposes people to injuries like low back strains and neck strains. It also can adversely affect your sports performance. Let’s see, you get up in the morning and go sit down to eat, then you get in your car and drive to work where you sit in your chair most of the day. Need I go on… yes! Large chunks of your day are spent sitting hunched over a computer, or slumped on the sofa. Unless you move around enough, you will feel some or all of the following problems:
- tight hip flexor, hamstring and calf muscles
- tightness through the external hip rotator muscles, which can lead to restricted movement at the hip joint
- reduced extension through the lower back, causing stiffness in the mid (thoracic) spine
- tight and hunched shoulders with weak lower shoulder muscles
- tight and weak muscles at the back of the shoulder
- “poked chin” posture and muscle imbalances in the neck and upper shoulders
Prolonged sitting is linked to hamstring strains, lower back stiffness, nerve irritation, and headaches to name a few things.
I typically see:
tight hip flexors, hamstrings, calves
tightness through the external hip rotators, leading to restriction in hip joint range
limitation of lumbar spine extension
stiff thoracic spine
protracted and elevated scapulas with weak lower trapezius and serratus anterior
tight and weak posterior rotator cuff
poked chin posture with associated weak deep neck flexors and overactive upper trapezius, levator scapula and rhomboid muscles.
Prolonged sitting has also been linked to hamstring strains. The lumbar spine stiffness associated with sitting leads to altered neural input into the posterior thigh, the theory goes. This can manifest as increased muscle tone of the hamstrings, which will alter the length-tension relationship and increase the risk of strain.
Hunched postures cause thoracic spine stiffness, shoulder imbalance and winged scapulas.
Each of my clients is encouraged to correct their posture, perform a daily flexibility program and take a look at the ergonomics of their work-stations to help them regain the alignment and muscle balances that are essential for them to achieve their best health.