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How a Sedentary Lifestyle Leads to Chronic Pain

Dr. Derek Koh

Head, Health Screening at Thomson Wellth Clinic

MBBS (Singapore), GDFM (Singapore)

Dr. Derek Koh practises preventive medicine through tailored health screenings & wellness programmes including the management of Andropause, Menopause and Obesity. He is also Board Certified in Anti-Ageing; has attained his Fellowship with the American Board of Anti-Ageing.

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Do you have no choice but to sit at a desk for long hours a day due to your 9-5 job? A sedentary lifestyle with lots of sitting and lying down and little to no exercise does not just increase your risk of obesity and heart diseases, but also contributes to chronic pain. In fact, globally, one in four adults does not meet the recommended physical activity levels.

Sedentariness then leads to disuse syndrome, a condition stemming from the lack of physical activity. Disuse of the musculoskeletal system affects your blood, oxygen, nutrients, cellular respiration and nervous system, causing the deterioration of many bodily functions. 

In this article, we will be focusing on the common chronic pain that most people experience with a sedentary lifestyle so you know when to seek treatment at a sports medicine centre in Singapore – keep reading to find out more. 

Learn more: What is Sports Medicine and How Does It Promote Health

Common Chronic Pain Due to a Sedentary Lifestyle

  • Lower back pain

Prolonged inactivity from sitting down at your desk for long periods of time significantly increases your risk of lower back pain as well as the incidence of recurrence. This is caused by poor circulation to the back and buttocks, leading to muscle wasting and ultimately pain. Slouching while sitting down also increases muscle stiffness and pressure on the discs of the spine. On the other hand, sitting in a tense and erect posture or with your legs crossed can put more stress on your back muscles. 

  • Neck pain

From computers to smartphones and TVs, people spend a large amount of time craning their necks and shoulders to stare at screens all day. If you are one of them, chances are you would have experienced neck pain before. Dubbed “tech neck”, letting your head drift forward and your posture into a hunched position puts strain on your cervical spine, causing neck pain in return. 

Tips for Relieving Lower Back and Neck Pain

1. Switch up your workstation

Before you seek treatment at a sports medicine centre in Singapore, it is worth making a few modifications to your workstation and seeing if there is any improvement to your lower back or neck pain. 

Place your monitor at eye level by propping it up, bring your keyboard close to your body to maintain a 90-degree bend in your elbows, keep your feet firmly planted on the ground, and alternate between sitting and standing throughout the day.

Ergonomics Correct Sitting and Standing Posture When Using a Computer-Singapore sports medicine centre

2. Stretch regularly

Stretch regularly-sports injury specialist

Taking a few minutes out of your busy schedule to stretch can do wonders for your lower back or neck pain! After all, when you visit a sports injury specialist for such chronic pain, stretching exercises are often included in the treatment process. 

Perform trunk rotation, standing lumbar extension and neck rotation daily to relieve stiffness and minimise your pain.

3. Sit on an ergonomic chair

Sit on an ergonomic chair-Singapore sports medicine centre

If possible, switch out your regular office chair with an ergonomic one which is designed to support the natural ‘S’ shape of the spine, preventing slouching and reducing stress on the pelvis and spine. 

Other than just reducing lower back and neck pain, an ergonomic chair can also boost your productivity at work when you are no longer suffering from chronic pain.

4. Take note of your sitting posture

Take note of your sitting posture-sports injury specialist

A good sitting posture is essential to prevent lower back pain – take note of these steps that will help you to achieve optimum comfort while sitting down: 

  • Adjust the height of your chair so that your feet get to rest flat on the floor
  • Do not cross your legs and your ankles should be positioned in front of your knees
  • Place a small pillow behind your back for support if needed
  • Ensure your head and neck are balanced and in line with your torso
  • Relax your shoulders

5. Visit a sports injury clinic

Visit a sports injury clinic-sports injury specialist

If these tips do not improve your symptoms or if the pain is causing hindrance to your daily life, then seeking treatment at a sports injury clinic in Singapore early is crucial. A sports injury specialist does not just treat athletes, but also the average person who is suffering from chronic pain. 

Non-invasive treatments like Low-Level Laser Treatment (LLLT) may be utilised to help reduce stiffness and pain quickly and with long-lasting results. 

Learn more: 3 Treatments Used By Sports Injury Specialists in Singapore

Defeat Chronic Pain Today 

Thomson Wellth Clinic is a sports medicine centre in Singapore well-versed in treating a range of musculoskeletal problems including chronic lower back and neck pain. 

Our minimally or non-invasive treatments aim to help relieve pain, accelerate healing and prevent recurrences. 

Get in touch with us to find out more!

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