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. Something that can help those in this type of position to prevent creep would be to sit with a lumbar support. The lumbar support will not allow the spine to fall into such a flexed position. The less flexed the spine is the less creep will occur.
The DVD ‘Pilates for Healthy Bodies’ has a complete 25-minute exercise program that is a complete program for creating a healthier spine. The program focuses on all muscles of the spine: not just the abs, and not just the spine but both of those groups and many more.
Wishing you great health. K