The Sitting Society: Impacts of Sitting and How to Reach Our Goals Injury Free

min read


The Sports Injury Clinic

Liam Staines

November 11, 2014


As practitioners, we see the impact of desk-based sedentary lifestyles every single day. From long work hours, to the time taken getting to and from work in transport - cars/ trains/ buses etc. - the hours of seated immobility add up and the results are not good.

Despite whether you are an active person, or even a competitive athlete, a desk-based job can still cause problems and your body will eventually tell you it's had enough of sitting for extended periods. This is usually done by sending shooting pains up our spines, dull aches across our shoulders & necks or your body will just feel generally stiff all over. 

Some of the impacts on the body from sitting (from a physiological point of view) are alarming and include:
  • Decreased blood flow downstairs -pooling of blood in our legs & tight calves
  • Spine: load can increase in sitting by over 200% on the lower back discs
  • Bum: is literally switched off, hence the increasing "buttless" society
  • Hips: are in a closed/ flexed and compressed state - bad for our hip flexors and hip joints
  • Balance: loss of the use of basic stabilization activity from increased non-weight bearing -subtle maybe, but true.

Some of the warning signs from sitting:

  • Stiffness often precedes pain
  • Little tweaks or pains can lead to a bigger injury
  • Any lower back pain/ache or leg ache should be addressed immediately

Thankfully, there are solutions to this problem!

  • Be proactive, not reactive - Use preventative, proactive measures before needing to seek a cure -get professional advice and treatment. Ongoing treatment gives you confidence and is insurance against further injury 
  • Treat yourself - Remedial massage therapists/Myotherapists can assist in reducing the constant strain of sitting in most of the above issues to reduce the effects of work postures on our bodies. Having a professional "soft tissue therapist" remedial massage therapist or myotherapist to assess and treat postural dysfunctions and musculoskeletal imbalances can be the difference between just "making" an event or really "enjoying" an event.
  • Regular Maintenance - Even if you aren't a competitor there is much benefit of a regular maintenance treatment plan while you are attempting to keep active, fit and healthy.

Goals Through Your Day:
  • Sit well - as you see in the diagram above, sitting tall and lengthening the spine considerably reduces some of the pressure on the discs in your back, compared to slouching -which is approximately 25% more.
  • Sit less/Move More - try sitting for no more than 30-40 minutes at a time at work. Some smart "sitters" even put an electronic reminder on their computers -alerting them to do a small lap of the office every 30-40 minutes. This can be enough just to break up the day's work session, and give the body a break from constant strain.   

If you're worried about the impact your desk-based lifestyle is having on your body, speak to one of our expert remedial massage practitioners who can talk you through treatment options. Call us on 9783 9990 or book online.


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