x-ray image of person sitting down working on a computer. The lower back is highlighted to indicate pain.

Too Much Sitting is Compressing Your Body

Nowadays too much sitting is it’s own pandemic, causing lower back, shoulder, hip and neck pain. Sitting is an act of compression that weakens the body, results in poor circulation, shallow breathing and pain. I’m going to explain compression and how it impacts different body systems.

What is compression?

The definition of compression is the action or state of being squished down or made smaller or more pressed together. When a pile of material is squished together and made smaller and more dense, this is an example of compression.

https://www.yourdictionary.com/

Too Much Sitting & Your Body.

Previously it was easier to move more during the day due to types of jobs and less technology. However today, sitting at desk day after day without many opportunities for moving around is commonplace. `Also pay attention to your sitting position by taking notice of your head, shoulders, lower back and hips.

  • Head hanging forward with chin sticking out
  • Shoulders rounded forward and hunched up
  • Lower back flexed forward
  • Hips rotated outwards & feet pointing outward

The front of your body is compressing. The chest muscles adapt into a shortened position and the shoulders protract forward. In addition the neck & upper back muscles are held in a long strained position – these are the ones that tend to ache which is why the need for a sports massage! Also the discs in the lumbar spine are under pressure hence the lower back ache or possible episodes of sciatica.

The Posterior Chain & Sitting

Equally too much sitting may dramatically effect the posterior chain. This is a group of muscles that run down the back of the body. As well as being important for posture they are also essential for maintaining stability and help with forward movement. Too much sitting and compression erodes the strength and efficiency of these muscles.

  • Erector Spinae
  • Gluteals
  • Hamstrings
  • Calf muscles

Also these muscles become weaker and out of balance through lack of use. Other muscles start to compensate, resulting in more symptoms. An efficient musculoskeletal system helps to absorb the forces of gravity. Weak muscles expose the skeletal system taking the brunt resulting in joint pain.

Similarly the act of compression not only impacts the musculoskeletal system but other important body systems.

  • Digestive system
  • Nervous system
  • Lymphatic system

However compression of these systems can result in a variety of symptoms from generally feeling unwell, a poor immune system and nerve pain. Compression of the brachial plexus can weaken the arm and shoulder, restrict movement & cause pins & needles. For example my youngest daughter had an injury, during her delivery, to the brachial plexus which temporarily paralised her arm. Compression in the lumbosacral plexus is a common cause of sciatica.

Breathing

In a similar way forward compression & sitting effects breathing! The rib cage drops forward and almost rests on the pelvis restricting inhalation. Try and take a nice deep breath in a slouched position. Also shallow breathing reduces the amount of oxygen coming into the body which impacts metabolism. In fact poor exhalation results in carbon dioxide sitting in the lower lobes of your lungs.

Also breathing helps to stimulate the lymphatic system. This system is essential for detoxification, maintenance of the immune system, drainage of fluids and also the regeneration of tissues.

Decompression is the Answer

Why your body needs to decompress is simply it needs space to function well and to be in balance. Decompression opens the body up and creates the space that is essential for the ribcage to expand for good breathing. It also makes room for digestion to take place. Importantly, it makes more room for nerve signals to travel easily and uninterrupted. Resulting in less pain, regained strength and controlled movement.

Foundation Training & Decompression

If compression is the cause then decompression is the answer. Foundation Training teaches decompression at it’s heart. It is also a powerful tool for health, well being and pain relief. Specifically it targets the parts of the body that suffer the most under compression. It can help you with the following:

  • Reduction of pain and symptoms
  • Better breathing & lung capacity
  • Helps to lengthen spine & attached muscles
  • Improves poor movement patterns at hips and shoulders
  • Strengthens the posterior chain of muscles
  • Provides a sense of wellbeing

Foundation Training is in some ways a pain management tool that can be done anywhere without the need for expensive equipment. I am the first & only qualified Foundation Training Instructor in Kent. I offer online group classes (timetable is coming soon) and one to one sessions. You can contact me for a discovery call on 07811 388339 or email me here.

Happy decompression!

Carol Seaborne

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