How does sitting down all day affect your your bone and joint health? – Press Enterprise

Feb 5, 2024 | Canyon Crest Guide Newspaper | 0 comments

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By Dr. Andrew J. Wassef, guest columnist

We often say that motion is the lotion for your joints.

The impact of movement, even gentle movement, can be extremely beneficial to overall health.

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But many of our jobs have become more sedentary, with long days sitting at a desk. This inaction negatively affects your joint mobility and health by tightening your hip flexor and hamstring muscles, putting excessive stress on your joints and stiffening them.

Prolonged sitting with poor posture overworks the muscles in your neck, back and spinal ligaments – straining the discs and surrounding structures in the spine. Inactivity for long hours may also cause your bones to lose strength, contributing to osteoporosis.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates more than 15 million Americans have severe joint pain. This pain can limit a person’s ability to perform basic functions and compromise their quality of life.

While most people associate joint pain or loss of bone strength with older adults, that doesn’t mean it can’t impact young people too. Young people may brush off their symptoms because they think they’re too young, but if you’re experiencing joint pain, don’t ignore it.

Too much damage to your joints leads to chronic pain and may require you to have joint replacement surgery, so it is important to take the necessary steps to prevent this from happening.

Research points to the simple fix – less sitting and more moving.

Physical activity helps you maintain a healthy weight, prevent muscle loss, improve bone density, and protect your joints from excessive wear and tear by absorbing the forces impacting them. When you walk, jog, climb stairs or lift weights, your bones and muscles become stronger to provide stability for your body while moving.

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When movement is not possible, using an ergonomic chair provides benefits by supporting your posture and reducing the strain on your spine, neck and joints while sitting. Try to keep the spine in a neutral position and adjust your computer so it is high enough to avoid looking downward.

Other ways to prevent negative effects of sitting on your joints include:

  • Stand up for five minutes every hour.
  • Take brisk walks throughout the day, especially during phone calls.
  • Incorporate stretches or yoga into your workday.

If you are experiencing chronic joint pain and find yourself needing medical intervention, MemorialCare Joint Replacement Center at Long Beach Medical Center is ranked among the best U.S. hospitals in orthopedics by U.S. News & World Report. Orthopedic surgeons at Long Beach Medical Center diagnosis your injury or disorder, provide treatment with medication, exercise, surgery or other treatment plans depending on your specialized needs.

If medication and physical therapy fail to provide relief, the Joint Replacement Center offers the latest robotic technology for a complete spectrum of care, including hip, knee, shoulder and ankle replacement.

To find the joint care you need to get your life back or to schedule an appointment, visit

Dr. Andrew J. Wassef is a fellowship-trained, board-certified orthopedic surgeon with Long Beach – Lakewood Orthopedic Institute in Long Beach. He serves as the medical director of the MemorialCare Joint Replacement Center at Long Beach Medical Center.

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