According to the National Institutes of Health, eight out of ten of Americans will eventually experience back pain. Furthermore, for many of us, back pain can become so severe that it requires expensive medical treatment and potentially leads to disability. In fact, back pain is one of the top causes of disability in the US.
A major part of America’s back pain problem is that most of us sit for upward of 7 hours on a typical workday. Unfortunately, spending so much time in a chair is one of the most harmful things that you can do to your spine. When sitting all day hurts your back, it’s a good idea to speak with a health care provider about what you can do to make your work environment safer for your spine.
Your Office Chair isn’t as Safe as You Think
…Unless you’re one of many Americans who suffer from lower back pain, in which case you likely know exactly how perilous it is to spend the day sitting. Spending the day in a chair is particularly a problem for those of us who slouch, and those of us who sit at desks that aren’t designed with ergonomics in mind. Sitting incorrectly for long periods of time compromises the natural curves of the back and puts extra pressure on the spine. In fact, sitting actually puts more pressure on the spine than standing. Poor posture can over-stretch the ligaments in the spine and can shorten the hip flexors, which changes the position of the pelvis and lower back.
Poor seated posture is even more dangerous for those who don’t regularly take breaks throughout the day. Movement is necessary in order for the body to move nutrients into the disks between the spine’s vertebrae. When these disks don’t receive nutrients, they deteriorate and become less effective at cushioning the spine. In addition, lack of movement results in the loss of strength in the muscles that support the back. This increases pressure on the spine and increases the likelihood of back injury.
I Sit All Day: What’s the Worst that Could Happen?
Aside from making you feeling uncomfortable in your chair, sitting predisposes you to a number of back injuries that could result in lengthy treatments, medical bills, and lost time at work.
In addition to unspecified aches and pains, years of sitting in an office can lead to problems such as muscle spasms, herniated disks, degenerated disks, and other disk injuries. These are all potentially severe problems that can lead to chronic pain.
What Help is Available for Sitting-Induced Back Pain?
Finding help for your back pain will depend on the specific condition that’s causing the pain, as well as the severity of the pain. The first step in finding help for back pain is to consult with a health care professional. He or she will be able to assess your back pain in order to determine whether a specific cause can be found, as well as which treatment options are available. Furthermore, if your pain is disabling, having a formal diagnosis might help you secure legal recourse.
For mild cases of acute pain, it may be sufficient to find a more ergonomic chair, adjust your posture, and take more frequent breaks throughout the day. More severe cases of back pain might require time off from work. If your back pain is a symptom of a back injury, you may be eligible for worker’s compensation in order to help cover lost wages and medical expenses.
If you’re suffering from back pain and are wondering what legal steps you can take, contact us to learn how Meshbesher Law Firm can help.