How is a desk job affecting your health? [6 shocking facts]

Did you notice that for most of your waking hours you spend sitting? Driving, watching TV, browsing the internet on your phone, or tablet, eating, and of course, working at your desk.  Americans sit around 13 hours every day on average, which is a lot. 

As you probably know, sitting for a prolonged time is not healthy, not only for your spine but also for your whole body. It’s more than just weight gain, it is connected to many other health concerns, including obesity, metabolic syndrome, or high blood pressure.

In this article our spine surgeon in Palm Beach County, Dr. Matthew Hepler will present 7 surprising facts about how desk jobs are damaging your health. Stay with us and learn more!

1. Heart disease

You probably wonder how sitting can affect your heart. When you sit for a long period of time, your metabolism slows down, less fat is burnt by your muscles and blood flows more slowly. This means, your heart can be clogged easily by fatty acids. And that will lead to several heart diseases. According to the Journal of the American College of Cardiology’s study, women who sit for 10 hours or more a day have a much higher risk of heart disease than those who sit for five hours or less.

2. Osteoporosis 

Weight-bearing activities, such as walking and running, are the risk factors for bone loss. In other words, a lack of these activities leads to decreased bone mineral density and that can cause osteoporosis. So if you see yourself sitting down most of the day and missing out the weight-bearing activities you increase the risk of getting serious or debilitating fractures. 

3. Disc damage

You know that prolonged sitting has an impact on your spine. But did you know that sitting may cause disc damage and people who sit more are at a higher risk for herniated discs? How does it happen? When you are active during the day, the soft discs between your vertebrae expand and contract. Just like sponges. While they expand and contract, they absorb fresh blood and nutrients. It works the opposite when you sit for a long period of time. 

What’s more, a muscle called the psoas tightens, and pulls the upper lumbar spine forward. This causes the upper body weight to rest completely on the sitting bones which can injure your intervertebral discs. As the upper body weight should be distributed along the arch of the spine.

4. Upper Crossed Syndrome (UCS)

What is Upper Crossed Syndrome? UCS is a muscle imbalance in the neck, chest, and shoulders and it leads to the deformation of these muscles. People who often work at a desk, sit with poor posture, and slouch for the most time of the day, can experience neck, shoulder and back stiffness or even pain. 

Slouching over-extends shoulder and back muscles. In particular, the back muscles of the neck and shoulders, which are called the upper trapezius and levator scapula, become immensely overactive and strained. The muscles in the front of the chest (the major and minor pectoralis muscles) happen to be shortened and tight. 

Consequently, a person has tight upper trapezius and pectoral muscles, and weak cervical flexors and lower trapezius muscles.

5.     Diabetes

How can sitting for a prolonged period of time lead to diabetes?  When you are not active, then your muscles don’t respond as easily to insulin. As a result, your pancreas produces increased amounts of insulin to compensate. Increasing insulin production may cause diabetes and other diseases.

One study has shown that people who were sitting for the extended periods were twice as likely to have diabetes or heart disease than the others who were sitting the least.     

6.    Colon cancer

According to the HealthDay News’ study, “people who spend the bulk of their day sitting – whether behind the wheel, in front of the TV or working at a computer – appear to have an increased risk for certain kinds of cancers”.

What’s more, the study also shows, that those who spent the most time sitting during the day had a 24% increased risk of getting colon cancer than those who spent significantly less.  

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Learn more about Dr. Matthew Hepler – spine surgeon in Palm Beach County

Don’t let chronic back or neck pain take over your life. If you are suffering from constant discomfort in your neck or back, our orthopedic spine specialist is ready to help. Dr. Matthew Hepler is an adult and pediatric spine surgeon in Palm Beach County, including Fort Lauderdale, and Delray Beach

He treats all conditions of the cervical, thoracic and lumbar spine, and also provides spinal stenosis treatments. Additionally, he offers non-operative treatment options, such as pain medications, steroid injections, and physical therapy. But, he also offers operative treatments, including both minimally invasive techniques and complex reconstructions. If you would like to learn more about our orthopedic spine surgeon, please Contact Us. 

The material contained on this site is for informational purposes only and DOES NOT CONSTITUTE THE PROVIDING OF MEDICAL ADVICE, and is not intended to be a substitute for independent professional medical judgment, advice, diagnosis, or treatment.  Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your health.