Sitting More Dangerous Than Smoking
Sitting for extended hours per day increased risk of death by 40 percent, regardless of other activity levels, found by Van der Ploeg and colleagues.
Additionally, “May result in the loss of 30% of vital lung capacity” According to University of California’s director of physical medicine and rehabilitation, Rene Cailliet, states that by, “pulling the entire spine out of alignment” a condition commonly referred to as “Forward Head Posture” FHP, can literally according to studies, “add up to thirty pounds of abnormal leverage…”
By now, many of us in the health community understand conviencinly the research that demonstrates the damage we’re doing in sedentary desk jobs. Emerging research shows that sitting for extendended periods of time creates conditions like metoblaic syndrome, heart disease and the risk of stroke and overall death risk, among others. Those who sit a great deal also have lower life expectancies, larger bottoms and slower metabolisms.
How the Neck could this happen you may ask?
What may on the surface appear to be a pain in the neck could potentially be something far more significantly affecting your vital organs. “FHP leads to long term muscle strain, disc herniation, arthritis, and pinched nerves.”
Well let’s begin with the basics in anatomy by asking the simple question, what organ system controls all function to the body? What controls all the 5 senses in your body? That’s correct…Your Brain and Central Nervous System controls and coordinates every organ, tissue and function in the body. As a Doctor I’ve always been fascinated by Nervous System. As you already know your Nervous System controls all your 5 senses, but it also controls the things we commonly take for granted, like it controls your vital organs, it makes your eyes dilate or even have vision, it makes your lungs breath, your nervous system is even what makes your heart beat rhythmically and make the food you eat digest properly. Your nerve system controls digestion and your glandular functions by telling each gland like your thyroid gland to produce healthy hormones at the right time in the right amount which in return creates other function dependent upon your neurochemical hormone balance. Essential your Healthy Nervous System Controls every system and every function in your body. A tragic example of this is the former Actor Christopher Reeves, the Actor who played “Superman” as a result of less then 1cm of pressure to his spinal cord (nervous system) his lung function stopped immediately, his heart and digestive system could only be supported by millions of dollars of technology and machinery.
Just think of your head as an 8-10lb bowling ball. The beauty in how God created our body was to be able to biomechanically and structurally support that bowling ball under impact of gravity to support that weight with certain spinal curves (cervical, thoracic, lumbar) and facet joints in our spinal column. Essentially eliminating the damaging effects of gravity. Now imagine holding that bowling ball standing upright close to your chest ready to throw a strike. Standing upright close to your chest you could hold that 8-10lbs hours, but the moment you stand upright and hole that ball (your head) 2-5 inches forward it’s going to add and extreme amount of strain, stess and tension to your muscles. How long could you hold that up verses another 3-8inches forward. Essentially what studies have found is that for every 10 millimeters (not inches) you head moves forward it’s literally adding and additional 10lbs of weight to the non-structural weight bearing muscular and ligmant intergrity of your back and neck. Which simultaneously and chronically fatigues your ligements, muscles and begins and degenerative process in your discs of the cervical spinal column.
Additonally research has shown that this type of posture leads to the progression of a condition known as “Forward Head Posture” FHP and / or HyperKyphosis. Something many of us typically referred to as Granny Hump Posture, but now I’m also referring to Teen Texting Posture….which over time can also be life threatening because according to the Journal of American Geriatrics article “Could That Hump On Your Back Be Killing You” they found that correlates with higher mortality rates from Cardio (Heart) and Pulmonary (lung) problems.
At the 1997 Seattle Fibromyalgia International Team Conference, Dr. Herbert Gordon explained that head and neck posture is a major factor in the fatigue and immune dysfunction in sufferers of fibromyalgia (FMS) and CFIDS patients, chronic fatigue and immune system dysfunction syndrome.
The clusters of small, layered muscles at the top of the spine can begin to atrophy in as little as 20 minutes, Gordon said, when unused.He reported that a 1985 study found postural problems common in people that suffer from FMS, myofacial pain syndrome and TMJ. The study found poor sitting and standing posture in 96% of the cases; forward head posture in 85% of the cases; and forward and rounded shoulders in 82% of the cases.
Everyday there are people like the prominent news Anchor Tim Russert who drop dead of Heart Attacks. In a statement detailing autopsy results, Dr. Michael Newman said his famous patient had passed a stress test on April 29 Russert’s stress test on April 29 was “normal,” Newman said. “At a high level of exercise he had no symptoms,” Newman said, adding that his blood pressure and cholesterol were “well-controlled.”
Like many people everyday unfortunately for Mr. Russert while on the surface everything appears to be normal and healthy. Tim was a prominent new Anchor who had wealth and routine stress tests, but he died due to an abnormal heart rythym…God bless this guy and his family, but had he been in our clinic I would have noticed this immediately. Despite his great illustrious and expensive doctors I would have immediately began a simple at home corrective care protocol to reverse his nerve system getting essentially crushed. It’s imperative that my patients know that although they may have complex and sometimes dangerous conditions it doesn’t mean there is not a simple, safe, and effective solution. What would that have meant to his family and to the world? He may be still telling bad jokes and good news everyday. So once again I ask the question what controls the normal rhythm of the heart beat? And look at his Sittting, Forward Head Syndrome crushing the nerve system affecting his heart. You don’t need to be a Doctor to realize that a healthy nerve system means at least the opportunity for a healthy organ function.
Chiropractor Adam Meade explains that the curve of your cervical verterbrae are referred to as “the arc of life” by neurosurgeons because these bones protect the brain stem and are the thoroughfare for spinal nerves that affect every organ and function in the body.
Subluxation is the term for the compression and irritation of nerves because of misalignments of the spine.When the cervical curve is misaligned, the spinal cord stretches and shrinks in circumference, Meade says, losing nerve conductivity.
The most common factors that lead to this type of Insidious (unknown) trauma leading to forward head posture can come in the form of Sitting, Texting, Chroinic Computer use, car accidents, slips or falls, or even birthing trauma from forceps or vacuums.
“Text Neck” in your Teens or Family directly relates to damaged vital organs as well. Dr. Dean Fishman has seen increasing cases of FHP in young patients and has termed the condition “text neck.” He says that the degenerative bone changes and abnormal cervical curve in these younger patients is related to the use of hand-held devices such as cell phones, portable video games and e-readers
Teens are at greater risks and are breaking records for the amount of preventable health conditions today simply by texting, playing video games routinely and working diligently at their computers. This has now created a nationwide epidemic of health conditions related to “due to Chronic compression of the spinal cord” What I have been refering to clinically as “Texting Tension of the BrainStem and Spinal Cord” which is literally affecting and damaging the BrainStem and creating neuropathological tension on the brainstem and spinal cord, which in effect can relate to not just the headaches, but when every hormone and neurochemical pathway is being damaged the whole body is affected. Once again….”Complex Condition….Simple Solution”
A 1999 study published in the November issue of Spine took a look at 985 students from five different high school years and the effects of carrying backpacks. The postural changes that occurred in “the arc of life” were significant with backpack use in every case.
Warning Signs for Sitters!
Many people don’t realize how some of these common symptoms could be caused by the same underlying damage to your nervous system.
- Altered blood flow
- Chronic Aches resulting in Fatigue and Pain
- Cardiac Arrhythmia
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
- Herniated Discs or Disc Degeneration
- Knots in the back of the neck
- Numbness or tingling in the arms and/or hands
- Rocks in the shoulders
- Sleeping Problems
- Sore chest muscles
- Stress or “Hormonal” Headaches
- Tension Headaches
- Tempero-mandibular joint (TMJ) dysfunction
- Trigeminal neuralgia (facial pain)
When setting at your computer workstation, a neutral body position is most desirable. This includes a comfortable working posture in which the joints are naturally aligned. Working with the body in a neutral position reduces stress and strain on the muscles, tendons, and nervous system. When attempting to maintain neutral body postures while working at the computer workstation, the following are important:
- Head is tilted slightly up (approximately 15-30 degrees), forward facing, and balanced. Generally, the ears are in line with the shoulders. This can be easily achieved by raising the computer screen so that the bottom of the screen is inline with the eyes or top of the head.
- Back is fully supported with appropriate lumbar support when sitting vertical or leaning back slightly.
Regardless of how good the posture is, working in the same posture or sitting still for prolonged periods is not healthy for your ongoing Spinal Condition. Changing position frequently throughout the day will be highly beneficial. That can be as simple as:
- Make small adjustments to your chair or backrest.
- Stand up and walk around for a few minutes periodically (every 30-45 minutes).
- Find a wellness or corrective care chiropractor who can determine if you have lost any of the vital curvatures in your spine. It’s important that they Test not Guess with X-rays which can also allow you to see what if any damage has already been done to your “Arc of Life”
- Don’t overload your child’s backpack (or yours, if you use one). Visit the Backpack Safety America site for tips on using a backpack.
It is NO longer enough to expect your friendly family physician to be an expert in all things. Although you may really, really like them, value their opinion please keep in mind they may not be Experts in the Spine and Nerve System and more importantly….How to correct what’s causing the damage, reversing the cause and creating a simple, safe and permanent solution for life.
If you want me or the other Spinal Doctor sharing this article with you to personally identify someone that can objectively evaluate your spine and nerve system if this condition is truly affecting your life, health or future. Call: 815-708-6195 Email us personally and we will make calls on your behalf or just facebook message us. Personally I have a nationwide network of highly skilled, trained and certified doctors that specialize specifically in this type of Spinal Correction.
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Lunardi AC, Marques da Silva CC, Rodrigues Mendes FA, Marques AP, Stelmach R, Fernandes Carvalho CR
Dr. Frank M. Painter (2009)
Dr. Adam Meade (2010)
Denver Tech (2010)
Dr. Dean Fishman (2010)
Elizabeth Barrett-Connor, MD+ and Gail A. Greendale, MD* (Mayo Clinic Health Letter, V.18, #3, March 2000)
Journal of the American Geriatrics Society -Volume 52 Issue 10 Page 1662 – October 2004 doi:10.1111/j.1532-5415.2004.52458.x Men and Women: A Prospective Study Deborah M. Kado, MD, MS*, Mei-Hua Huang, DrPH*, Arun S. Karlamangla, MD, PhD*,
The Chiropractic Resource Organization (1997)
The Chiropractic Resource Organization (2000)
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