PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Back pain that comes from sitting for hours. 3 On Your Side Medical Reporter Stephanie Stahl says it’s a growing problem for millions.
It’s how most Americans spend their days; sitting at a desk, on a computer. Endless hours sitting, and it’s far from relaxing.
“I was never really without pain. It was just varying degrees,” said Jill Amitrani Welsh, who often spends 12 hours a day in front of a computer.
And so does Eve Troutt Powell, a professor who’s writing a book. She does even more sitting in a car, shuttling her teenage kids.
“Every woman I know my age, with kids, has the same back pain in the same place,” said Eve.
An achy lower back that comes from sitting too much. Experts say it can happen to anyone.
“It’s a huge, huge problem,” said Chris Leib, a Physical Therapist with Aquahab Physical Therapy. He says it’s usually related to poor posture, slumping forward, that puts pressure on spinal discs and nerves.
“Make sure your feet are planted on the ground,” described Chris. He says there are some simple things you can do at your desk to ease back pain. Keep the computer screen at eye level.
“Make sure you put your buttocks all the way back in the chair,” described Chris.
The proper sitting position is all about 90 degree angles, with a slight arch in the back.
He taught Eve how to stretch while sitting, to improve blood flow and ward off stiffness. And then stand up and arch your back takes tension off the nerves. Eve also takes breaks, a little walk, at least once an hour.
“Much better now,” said Eve.
Jill now uses a lumbar roll on her chair to keep her back in the right position.
“I’m back to normal now,” said Jill.
Chris also says exercises to strengthen core muscles are critical for treating and preventing back pain. Doctors say an anti-inflammatory, like Ibuprofen, can sometimes help relieve back pain. And if the discomfort radiates, especially down the leg, that could mean there’s a herniated disc.
Experts say it’s important to make sure the chair you’re sitting in can be adjusted.
Reported By: Stephanie Stahl, CBS 3