Sitting All Day + Running = Low Back Pain

low back pain treatmentIt’s a pattern I see on a regular basis. During the initial consultation with the new patient, they talk about their low back pain, which invariably leads me to ask about their daily activities.

Spinal problems are really only caused by two things; trauma or a build up of daily activities. Patients know when they’ve had a trauma (car accident, fall, etc), but they rarely consider how their daily movements and actions can lead to their problem.

Think about how much time you spend in the hunched over sitting position. That posture is used when you sit at your desk, drive your car, eat, text, or read. I would conservatively estimate that you’re in that position no less than 200 hours each month.

In my area of Houston, nearly all of my patients sit at computers all day and often have a long commute into work. If you think about the posture you have when you do that, you would think that any “pains” you experience should be in the neck and upper back.

After all, you’re hunching and often sticking your neck forward, how would that lead to low back pain. If you sit all day and then I discover that you’re also a runner, I know exactly where I need to look to help you get answers and relief to your pain.

Sitting All Day Tightens Your Hamstrings & Hip Rotators

The patients that sit all day usually have tight hamstrings and hip rotators. If you also run, you can further tighten these muscle groups. Too often you’re either not stretching after your run at all, or you’re not stretching long enough to overcome how long you’re sitting all day.

Sitting All Day Weakens Your Core

Hopefully you know by now that strengthening your core muscles is a good thing, but do you actually work on it? Think of your core as a muscular back support that surrounds your spine and lessens the strain on the vertebral joints. If you’re working only on your front abdominal muscles and ignoring your low back and side abdominals, you’re not truly working on your core. It’s only a matter of time before your extensive sitting will lead to pain.

Sitting All Day Makes Your Spine Move Less

If your spinal muscles aren’t strong enough to support your extended sitting, more strain will be placed on the spine itself. The spine, designed to move, really needs that muscular support. Once your muscles fatigue, the spine often becomes fixated and immobile. That’s where chiropractic care becomes necessary to get you back on track.

Prior to the spinal joints becoming locked up, you can do a lot to avoid back pain. Dedicating some solid time to stretching post-run and working on your core, you can avoid unnecessary pain and any reason to seek additional help from a healthcare provider.

However, if you don’t take action to avoid this all to common formula for low back pain, we’ll likely see you in our office soon.