Creep. Yep. Just one simple word. Our backs hurt after sitting because of Creep. You can blame it all on your ‘Creepy’ Low Back.
Believe it or not, ‘creep’ is actually a technical term. ‘Creep’ refers to what happens to your low back muscles when you sit. Sitting for periods of time causes the low back muscles to stretch or ‘creep’ into a longer position.
When you stand, the muscles don’t retract to their normal position right away. If you have trouble straightening after you have been sitting for awhile then you are very aware of that fact. Those cases are extreme, though. Everyone, though, experiences creep. The muscles eventually bounce back to their functional length.
Interesting, though, is that those who have experienced low back pain take a very long time for those muscles to retract to their normal length. For a normal spine, 80% of the ‘creep’ is gone after two minutes or so of standing. Someone with low back pain? Or even a history of back pain? Wow. The time for the muscles to retract can be up to 7 hours!!
Creep explains why it is dangerous to lift after being seated. If you are seated at your desk and then get up to immediately lift boxes you are putting your spine at risk, especially if you are lifting with a flexed spine. So for someone with a healthy spine, you’ll want to give it two minutes of standing before lifting. If you have back pain, it’s hard to tell you how long you’d have to wait and chances are you won’t wait anyway. So what do you do?
You need to use stellar lifting techniques which will have to be another blog but here’s a quick little tip because even waiting two minutes before lifting is not always possible. Think of the medical profession or firefighters. When firefighters get off the truck they don’t have any luxury of waiting before pulling heavy loads. They can choose to sit without flexing their spine, so shoulders on the seat-back and they can choose to do mini-extensions of the spine while seated. You can actually do a mini-extension right now. Lift your chest to the ceiling. That’s it! Now hold your stomach towards your spine while you do that. Excellent. Small extensions of the spine are going to keep the spine muscles engaged and not allow for flexion and therefore, creep.
Now it’s time to be pro-active and get your back in better shape so that creep won’t happen in the first place. The stronger and more elongated your spine, the better off you’ll be. We are big,
BIG fans of the K2 Therapeutic Spine Wedge. You can use it to elongate (aaahhhh… can you feel the relief?) and to strengthen (Strong spines are happy spines!). It’s hard with all the demands of life to remember to take care of our own spines. But you can do it! And it’s completely and entirely worth it. Less pain and more life. You can do this!
Wishing you great health. K