False. Everyone talks about strengthening the ab, trunk and hip muscles to avoid an injury to your back. I believe a strong core can indeed prevent many back injuries when lifting, and can assist a person in maintaining good posture and form.
However, it has been shown that after longer than 3 minutes of sitting, the core muscles stop working, and therefore stop supporting the back. At that point, excessive pressure is placed on the lower back structures, in particular the lumbar disks. Using a supportive roll, chair and work station can decrease the chances of injuring your back.
As many of us sit throughout the day, we flex forward and put the lumbar disks in our back in a position to be injured. Many of my patients that come in for lumbar disk herniations and/or bulges often describe extended periods of sitting or driving without a break.
Common Complaints related to poor or extended sitting:
• Lower back, buttock and thigh/leg pain
• Tingling, numbness, “sciatica” or burning in the legs
• Weakness and fatigue in the legs
• Difficulty standing up in the morning
• Increase of pain starting with leaning forward and/or twisting
Things you can do to help your back:
• Limit sitting. No longer than 20 minutes at a stretch- use the timer on smart phone to keep track.
• Perform 10 backward bends and neck retractions every break.
• Use a lumbar roll for support
• Start a walking program
Most people can benefit from this simple plan to prevent or treat lower back problems, neck and upper back pain. If you are unsure if you are doing the exercises/stretches correctly, just give us a call. At Apex, we use a Mechanical Evaluation by the McKenzie institute commonly known for spine treatment. To learn more, visit http://www.mckenzieinstituteusa.org/method-patients.cfm
Apex Orthopedic Rehabilitation in Paramus, NJ provides orthopedic and sports physical therapy services for the greater Ridgewood, Paramus, and Bergen County region. This blog is intended for informational purposes only and should not be used for diagnostic or prescriptive purposes. The views expressed here are the author’s views and should be taken as suggestions. Always consult your doctor or healthcare practitioner before engaging in a physical therapy or rehabilitative program.