In order to prevent an injury, you need to identify the main cause. One of the main causes for the majority of musculoskeletal problems that I see is sitting. Yes, sitting! Many of us sit for hours at our desks for work, we sit in our cars to drive home, and sit more in front of the TV or yet again at the computer.
All of this sitting plays havoc on our bodies. Sitting has been shown to result in reduced blood flow to our internal organs, such as our stomachs, and our ‘sitting’ or gluteous muscles (aka glutes). The lack of blood flow means lack of oxygen! When our body is faced with the stress of reduced oxygen and blood flow, it makes small changes so that those areas require less oxygen in an effort to reduce the stress. This means our glutes can become inhibited. This means they activate and fire less frequently than they should during normal activities and especially during intense activities, such as running or weightlifting. So, you literally now have ‘lazy glutes’. This can result in injuries like hip pain, low back pain, and sciatica.
The answer is to get off your lazy – I mean, inhibited – backside. Here are some useful tips for preventing these injuries:
- Every 15 minutes stand up from your desk. Find an excuse to walk to the photocopier, get a drink of water or stand when you answer the phone.
- Go for a 15 minute walk at lunch and after work. Now that the warm weather is here, get outside to get that coffee or soak up some of that sun.
- Unable to stand up at your desk as frequently as recommended? Then try squeezing your glutes together while still sitting. This increases the awareness and blood flow to these muscles. (Don’t worry, your co-workers won’t look at you too funny!) You can also do these in the car or at home on the couch. Try 10 repetitions, 5 times per day.
- Lastly, get up from your chair and perform 2 sets of 15 squats a day.
Even if you follow these tips, the problem may already exist. If that is the case, physiotherapy can help by teaching you how to re-activate your glutes and correct any other muscle imbalances you may have. At Choice, we are proud to be the first to offer advanced wireless muscle stimulation. This device helps you determine which muscles you should activate during a certain activity ensuring that you correct your own muscle imbalances fast and effectively. If you think you have this problem, please contact us at 902-404-3668 to book a detailed postural assessment today.
by Saba Chishti, PT