February 21, 2012
Topic: Injury prevention
While a sedentary lifestyle is known to have a range of negative effects on health, such as slower metabolism and decreased effectiveness of insulin, medical experts are also reminding people that constant sitting may also damage the neuromuscular system. This suggests that injury prevention efforts in the workplace should be mindful the time that employees spend sitting down.
Muscle strain, degenerative disc disease, lower back pain, joint pain and repetitive stress orders are all potential consequences of prolonged sitting, physical therapist Alicia Hirscht told News Times.
When it comes to the back, pain may be related to sub-optimal physical fitness, which is linked to poor support of the spine, according to the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, a division of the National Institutes of Health. Within any given three-month period, back pain may affect one-fourth of American adults.
"There are a number of quick stretches and exercises that can be very helpful," Hirscht told the news source, adding that a walk during one's lunch break may be a good idea.
Neurosurgeon Scott Simon also told the news source that workers who are stressed out about time management should keep in mind that exercise can be conducted in 10-minute increments rather than one large session.
"Correcting your posture throughout the day can be most helpful in lessening the mechanical stress to the back that is associated with prolonged sitting. It only takes a second to do this, but should be done often - some suggest every 15 minutes or every time you feel yourself slouching," said Albi Gilmer, PT, facility manager at Andrews Institute Rehabilitation. "Bending correctly to lift heavy or light objects is also preventative of back injuries at work.
"When lifting heavy objects it is important to lift the chin away from the chest which will, in turn, prevent forward bending of the spine - the position in which backs are most often in when injuries occur. When lifting a light object, do it like a golfer. Hold onto a stable object if one is available and let one foot off of the ground and elevate behind you. This acts as a counterbalance to your upper body and keeps the spine in a relatively neutral, safe position."
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