Many people sit for the majority of their day at work, especially employees who work in an office environment. While being less active throughout the day can cause health issues like weight gain or elevated blood pressure, sitting for extended periods of time also has the potential to increase your risk of work related injuries. Here’s how.
Sitting Itself Causes Your Muscles to Tighten
Sitting for long periods of time causes your back muscles to tighten up on its own, as opposed to jobs where a significant amount of bodily movement is involved. It puts twice as much strain on your spinal column as standing does, and many people sit for hours at a time without moving. If you slouch while you sit (and most people do), it increases the pressure on your spine exponentially. Couple that with sitting for hours at a time several times throughout the week and additional job stress, and your back is in trouble.
Misalignment of the Spine
If you sit frequently and don’t sit correctly, you’re setting yourself up for misalignment of the spine. When your muscles are tight and your lumbar vertebrae are out of place, it is much easier for you to become injured. For example, if you lift something when your back is in a precarious condition, you are at a higher risk for injury than someone whose spine is in alignment and the muscles are loose and flexible due to regular movement and only short periods spent sitting. However, back problems and injuries can result solely from sitting — it’s possible to experience severe pain and the inability to move when you least expect it.
Treatment for Work Related Back Injuries
If you’ve sustained a serious back injury, it’s critical that you see your doctor right away. He or she may take x-rays, and you may even be referred for an MRI to get a complete picture of your spinal column, muscles and nerves. While mild misalignment of the spine and inflammation caused by extended sitting may be able to be treated with anti-inflammatory medications and chiropractic adjustment, more serious injuries may require time off from work or surgical repair.
How to Prevent Sitting Related Back Injuries & What to Do If You’re Already Injured
Sometimes sitting is unavoidable, especially when you work in an office. Make sure your chair is ergonomic and provides good back support, and get up and move at least once every 30 minutes while you’re sitting at your desk. If you have the ability to use a standing desk, switch to it for a portion of the day to reduce back strain.
If you’re experiencing back pain at work or have experienced an injury due to extended sitting while on the job, your next step should be to contact a qualified Orange County work injury attorney to discuss your options. You should not have to be responsible for the cost of medical care and lost wages for a work related back injury, and an attorney can help you get the compensation you deserve. Contact the Law Office of Michael J. Holmes today for a consultation at (714) 667-6844.