Back pain affects up to 8 in 10 people at some point during their lifetime. Back pain is common in part because the spine is central to many of our daily activities, whether strenuous or not. The spine consists of 24 interlocking vertebrae, which are divided into three types: cervical, thoracic, and lumbar. Fibrous ligaments, discs, and muscles connect these bones, allowing for a combination of stability and flexibility to allow us to perform a variety of daily activities.
While we typically think of sitting as a restful activity, prolonged periods of sitting can lead to chronic back pain. Today’s lifestyles often involve significantly more time spent sitting than in previous decades. We all can enjoy the modern luxuries of being able to watch TV, browse the Internet, or order in a precooked meal at the end of a long day of work. However, for many of us, that long day of work involves sitting at a desk, so we go from sitting at work to sitting at home. It has become increasingly recognized that spending many hours planted in a seat is actually detrimental to one’s health. While a brief period of sitting is natural, long periods of sitting typically place the spine and pelvis in an unnatural position for an extended time, leading to low back pain among other issues.