While sitting, try to hold your spine straight for only 10 minutes. It is likely that you will relax and slouch soon, as your muscles can't withstand such load.
Now, what happens when you sit all day long for many years?
Your tired muscles relax, and the body weight is carried by the spine, putting all the pressure to the intervertebral discs and ligaments. The discs and ligaments are overloaded, and start to degenerate.
Some muscles and ligaments shorten, some get tight. Muscle disbalances develop, forcing you to stand, walk, move, and exercise incorrectly.
Lenses' muscles get tight from focusing to the display's short distance most of the time.
Low blinking rate keeps the eyes dry, irritated.
Moving the eyes constantly among the keyboard, display, and the documents, makes the eyes' muscles overstrained.
Forward-head posture overloads the cervical discs, potentially causing disc bulge and nerve irritation.
Headaches, and hands' tingling or sensitivity issues, are the consequences.
Static posture with hands on a keyboard leads to an overload of nape muscles, and weakness of scapulae muscles.
The result is a chronic neck pain, and rounded and elevated shoulders.
Slouched sitting position in a chair overloads the intervertebral discs, potentially causing disc bulge and nerve irritation.
Chronic back pain, tingling or sensitivity issues of the feet, are the consequences.
Overloaded discs dehydrate, crack, and degenerate. Worn out joints and inflammation makes the body react by changing the bone structure.
Bones get weak, and spine gets less flexible, resulting in more pain.
Unused muscles are weak, providing no spine support.
The lumbar spine is vulnerable when lifting weights for example.
Short psoas muscles drag the lumbar spine forward. Short hamstrings tilt the pelvis backward.
Together with weak glutes, the pelvis and thus the spine, is not held in a neutral position.
Body flexibility is reduced, overstraining the spine.
Cartilages need movement to absorb nutrients and regenerate. Sitting causes knee degeneration.
Sitting puts pressure on the blood vessels, reducing the blood flow.
Legs do not get enough oxygen and nutrients.
The negative effects of everyday sitting can't be fully compensated. However, you can reduce it at least.
Keep a straight sitting posture, and change your working position often.
There are many options: regular chair, exercise ball, kneeling chair, dynamic sitting, standing desk, lying position.
The rule of thumb: If you feel tired and can't keep a straight sitting posture, change your working position.
There is a disc in between each vertebra. Discs are cushions for your spine, absorbing shocks and giving your spine flexibility.
The discs consist of an outer layer called anulus fibrosus - a strong fibre cartilage, and an inner gelly-like core called nucleus pulposus - a shock absorber.
While muscles get tired and you feel that strain, cartilages do not offer such a feedback luxury. That's because the spine cartilages do not contain nerves. You can't feel their overstrain. And that's the most dangerous thing about them.
Cartilages need movement to regenerate. A lot of movement. Movement is the only way for cartilage to absorb nutrients from surrounding tissues, because they do not contain blood vessels.
It's important to realise that the only one who can really help you is you. You're the only one who decides how you treat your body.
If you have no back issues yet, listening to our advice will help you keep your spine healthy.
If you already have back issues, sticking to our advice is essential to prevent any spine flare-ups.
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Copyright © 2019 Pavel Lobodinský.
Many thanks to all my friends and app users, who provided me with precious feedback. You're the best.
Special thanks to:
Antonín Grund, my dear friend, for app beta testing, and web review.
Barbora Sokolová, my wonderful physical therapist, for web site fact checking.
Jana Volencová, my brilliant colleague, for copy editing.