As much of the American workforce has transitioned to working remotely since the beginning of the pandemic, issues related to spending too much time sitting are on the rise. Sitting disease is a colloquial term used to describe the negative effects spending too much time being seated has on your body.
In this article, we are discussing sitting disease, what it is, and what can be done to correct its effects. As you read, you will find answers to:
- What is Sitting Disease?
- What are the Signs You’re Experiencing Sitting Disease?
- How Can You Make Changes to Help Alleviate Sitting Disease?
- How Does the Chiropractor Treat Sitting Disease
You may not be able to do anything about the demands of your career; however, you can make some changes to help find relief from pain and discomfort.
Here is what you need to know about sitting disease.
1) What Is Sitting Disease?
Sitting disease is a term used to describe the adverse effects on a person’s body from living an overly sedentary lifestyle. Dr. Elliot O’Connor (DPT from the University of Washington) says,
“Sitting is the new smoking. This is because sitting doesn’t kill anybody the first time they try it. [However]…a 2011 study in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine found that prolonged sitting was associated with an increased risk of 34 chronic diseases including obesity, diabetes, cancer, and cardiovascular disease.”
You may have thought not taking a smoke break was the key to a healthier lifestyle, but while sitting may not be as outright harmful as smoking, it can have significantly adverse effects on your health and wellness.
- The average American is seated for upwards of eleven hours each day.
- Each year, 300,000 Americans die from issues related to lack of physical activity and poor diet.
- A fifth of all deaths of people 35 years old and older are related to lack of physical activity.
- Upwards of 24 billion dollars are spent on treating issues related to sedentary lifestyles.
Sitting disease is prevalent in Americans, but it does not necessarily have to be as bad for you as the doom and gloom prevented in these statistics.
2) What Are the Signs You’re Experiencing Sitting Disease?
A lot of people have sitting disease, but do you? Here are a few of the signs you are suffering from sitting disease:
- Sitting: If you sit for prolonged periods of time during the day, there is a good chance you will feel the effects of sitting disease.
- Hunched: People who spend excessive amounts of time hunched over their phones or video game controllers are likely suffering from sitting disease.
- Neck Pain: If you have pain in your neck, there is a good chance you are sitting for far too many hours during the day.
- Back Pain: If your back and shoulders hurt, it is likely indicative of sitting too much during your workday.
- Weight Gain: If you are gaining weight faster than you feel like you should be, there is a good chance it is related to a lifestyle that is too sedentary.
- Leg Cramps: Leg cramps are a symptom of poor circulation, and the discomfort is your body's way of informing you that you aren't functioning with proper posture.
These are a few of the signs that your lifestyle is too sedentary. These signs also point to the potential that your posture is poor while you are sitting.
Whether it is the nature of your career that is causing you to spend too much time seated, or there are other factors that make you feel like you should be glued to a chair, it is vital to take steps to be less sedentary and improve your posture.
3) How Can You Make Changes to Help Alleviate Sitting Disease?
With sitting disease, you have the ability to make changes that will go a long way toward helping you find relief from pain and discomfort.
Change How Much You Sit During the Day
It might seem overly simplified, but to cure sitting disease, you need to sit less and stand more often. Here are some tips for getting moving even during your workday:
- As a good rule of thumb, you should stand once per hour. A good idea is to stand every forty-five minutes for 5 -15 minutes.
- In addition to standing, consider doing some simple stretches throughout the day.
- If you get a lunch break, instead of watching television or looking at your phone, eat lunch and then take a walk.
- Instead of sitting at your desk all day, you can implement a standing desk or hybrid desk that can be put in a standing or sitting position.
- Replace what used to be coffee breaks when you worked in an office with short walks and light exercise.
Even a moderate amount of exercise and movement can make a significant difference in your health and wellness.
Change Your Posture When You Are Sitting
In addition to moving more often, changing the way you sit can help you overcome sitting disease. We have written about how much posture can cause harm, especially in work-from-home settings:
“Many people who do not have an ideal office setup with ergonomic chairs, keyboards, or computer conditions may experience new body aches. Most residential settings don’t have the space to accommodate today’s ergonomic office furniture. So if you are working from your home, it’s likely that you are using your computer on a regular table, countertop, or you are in a lounge chair or on your bed.”
Here are a few tips for improving your posture while sitting:
- Never sit on your wallet. Place your wallet in your front pocket or remove it while sitting and driving.
- Too many people look down on their computer monitors. Set up your monitor so that it is at eye level.
- When you are looking at your phone, hold it up so that you are not looking down.
- Use a firm, economically designed chair to help provide support for your back and neck.
- Remember to sit back with your head on your headrest when you are driving and working.
While these tips will help you improve your posture, the damage already done can cause more pain and discomfort than these things will correct.
Your chiropractor can help you overcome the effects of sitting disease, so you can move easier.
4) How Does the Chiropractor Treat Sitting Disease?
Your chiropractor can help identify whether you are suffering from the effects of sitting disease and help you develop a plan for making changes to prevent reoccurrence.
Chiropractic is a holistic approach to the human body. It's based on the concept that the body can maintain itself and repair itself. A chiropractor will help find the source of your pain and discomfort, perform adjustments to your spine and neck, and help you implement strategies to continue to heal.
For posture and sitting-related issues, Dr Monitto will utilize the Y-Strap technique to help correct misalignment. The Y-Strap adjustment is a full-body adjustment that produces a rapid decompression inside the vertebral discs, creating a vacuum that allows nutrients to pass through those discs.
It is quick and provides virtually instant comfort while being quite safe. The Y-Strap may be used to address a number of problems, but it's most commonly utilized to aid patients with sitting disease.
Choosing a chiropractor comes down to finding the person you trust. Dr. Monitto is well-versed in a number of chiropractic techniques, including the Y-Strap. With Monitto Chiropractic, you have the advantage of experience and expertise to help correct the adverse effects of sitting disease.
If you are in the Asheville area, contact Monitto Chiropractic to schedule your visit and begin moving more freely.