Sitting is the New Smoking

Sitting is the New Smoking

Chiropractic Brookfield WI Back Pain

Everyone knows smoking is bad for your health. Between information from the Centers for Disease Control to advertisements on TV, everyone has access to information about how smoking is bad for your health. Neurologists and chiropractors are now saying that sitting is as bad as smoking. This article shows some of the reasons why prolonged sitting is bad for us and how to prevent the problems this new “smoking” habit causes.


Minimal Spinal Movement

When we sit for long periods of time, we don’t move our spine enough. According to Nobel prize-winning neurobiologist Dr. Roger Sperry, “90% of the stimulation and nutrition to the brain is generated by the movement of the spine.” Lack of spinal motion cuts the amount of nutrition the body needs. Sitting for a long time also decreases how much and how efficiently blood flows through the body.

How to prevent minimal spinal movement? Get up from where you are sitting and move around. Take a stroll through the office (or around the block). Stretch. Bend down and touch your toes. Do whatever is comfortable for you, so long as you move.

Exercise also increases spinal movement. Yoga, Pilates, and tai chi are great ways to strengthen your core muscles (which provide support to your back…and spine) and gently move the spinal column. Also, consider a standing or treadmill desk over the traditional sitting desk. This helps keep the blood in your body from settling too much from sitting.


Poor Posture Leads to Poor Health

Dr. Sperry also noted, in his research, that “The more mechanically distorted a person is, the less energy is available for thinking, metabolism, and healing.” What does that mean?

Bad posture.

Poor posture can decrease lung function by up to 30%. This lack of oxygen in the blood makes it harder for the body to properly process fluid from inflammation. This causes the body to retain that fluid, which can lead to a multitude of health problems.

Chiropractors and neurosurgeons also recognize that the arc in the lower cervical vertebrae (that “s” curve in the neck) plays a large part in overall spinal and body health. Known as the “arch of life,” this 40-45 degree curve helps protect the brain stem, spinal cord, and nerves. We lose that arc in our neck when we stare at computer screens, tablets, and cell phones by pushing our head forward into what is known as “forward head positioning.” Loss of this arc can increase the amount of pressure the head puts on the neck by up to 30 pounds, pulling the spine out of alignment and causing headaches and breathing problems.

How to prevent loss of the Arc of Life? Lift screens up to eye level. Use an ergonomic keyboard and mouse. And put down the tablet and phone occasionally (this would be a good time to get up and move). If you must sit, use an ergonomically correct chair that provides good support for the lower back.


Subluxations and Lack of Spinal Motion

When we lose the arc of life, subluxations, or “misalignments,” of the spine occur. These subluxations can prevent good spinal motion and cause a number of health problems, including depression.

How to prevent subluxations? The best way is to practice good posture: stand up straight (your mother was right about this), keep the head pulled back, relax the shoulders, and engage the core muscles. You should be able to draw a straight line from your ears to your shoulders to your hips and down to the floor. Your body…and possibly your mood…will benefit from it.

Also, see your chiropractor in Brookfield, New Berlin, or Williams Bay about getting adjusted to reduce the subluxations. If you have cervical issues from forward head positioning, your chiropractor may want you to perform some exercises or use a Denneroll® to bring some curve back to the neck. Check out Pure Family Chiropractic and schedule an appointment for an assessment today.