Within codependent relationships, very only a few can cause as much harm as the relationship to American backs as well as the chair in which they rest.

October 13, 2022Penn State Health News

Few couples are as frequent. A January 2020 study by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that 15 percent of U.S. adults are physically inactive, and that’s even before the pandemic caused an influx of telecommuters. Inactivity is the main cause of overweight and heart disease, as well as type 2 diabetes, and some types of cancer.

But that’s not all. Because many Americans sit for hours in chairs at work with unnatural posture, physical therapists such as Dean Plafcan deal every day with injuries that are not traumatic. “Injuries are caused by repetitive or excessive postures that cause one to experience an issue with neck or back,” said Plafcan as the chief physical therapist in Penn State Sports Medicine in State College. “Sitting in a slouched position could not result in an accident, however that constantly stressed out posture and you’ll end up suffering injuries.”

The solution doesn’t need to mean endless hours in the gym or a stretching regimen that resembles an act of contortionist. A few simple, gentle movements will do wonders for the health of your spine, Plafcan says.

But the most important thing is moving. Find an incentive to move.

Plafcan presents the most effective five exercises and stretches that can aid in avoiding the injuries and pain that can result from sitting for long periods of time. This is him in the pictures.

“Do this at least four to five times per day,” he suggests.


The trick itself isn’t that any kind of trick. Place one foot between the other. Repeat.

But the reasons can be difficult to determine. Social media, email Zoom, email – all of this technology has eliminated the necessity of walking.

Plafcan recommends challenging yourself. Don’t park in the spot closest to the entrance; try to find a corner of the lot that requires you to take a walk. Do not send the email, instead stand up and chat with the person who received it.

“Movement is linked to positive wellbeing and health,” he said. “You examine the system of the body, breathing improved digestion, bone health, circulation, energy and general strength and it’s everywhere.”

CDC recommends taking 10,000 steps every day. This is about five miles.

Make a stand

Plafcan recommends using a pillow to raise your knees more than if you were sitting in the chair, removing the crouch.

At least once a throughout the day, stand up. Engage your arms and lift your hands above your head.

“Just take a break from sitting at least once a throughout the day.” He said.

Static back arch

Relax your shoulders and pull your hips up. Be gentle. The main thing to remember when doing any of these techniques is to not overextend, but rather to counter the creep.

Muscles may be flexible. When you bend in a certain manner and remain in that position for a certain amount duration, you’ll notice that your muscles and limbs tend to keep going in that direction. or, as Plafcan describes it to move into the direction of.

When you sit at your desk at your computer, you might notice your body is bent over. Moving your body gently towards the opposing direction can counter your body’s natural tendency to move towards this direction.

Seated arch

When you are sitting in your normal posture, place your hands on the lower part of your back using your fingers. Feel the vertebrae’s buttons. You can now gently bend your back until they go away.

Don’t over-arch your back too much. Relax your abdominal muscles by engaging your front muscle – the transverse abdominalis as well as the muscles of lower back.

“It’s an easy move,” Plafcan said. “You don’t have to push yourself to the maximum extent you could. There is no need to put your back in the full length. This will draw blood to circulate and flush out substances that have built up.”

Neck stretch

Image alt=”Cut-out picture of Dean Plafcan stretching his neck in the chair.” class=”aligncenter size-full wp-image-74906″ height=”799″ loading=”lazy” sizes=”(max-width: 1200px) 100vw, 1200px” src=”https://pennstatehealthnews.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/10/combo2_1200.png” srcset=”https://u6a7g6r4.stackpathcdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/10/combo2_1200.png 1200w, https://u6a7g6r4.stackpathcdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/10/combo2_1200-300×200.png 300w, https://u6a7g6r4.stackpathcdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/10/combo2_1200-1024×682.png 1024w, https://u6a7g6r4.stackpathcdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/10/combo2_1200-768×511.png 768w, https://u6a7g6r4.stackpathcdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/10/combo2_1200-800×533.png 800w” width=”1200″/>

“Your head is like the weight of a bowling ball that weighs 16-18 pounds,” Plafcan said. “Once you have the bowling ball up enough to your neck the structures of your neck get stressed. Therefore, if you could locate a way during the day to ease off those small amounts, it could be a huge help to keep your neck in good shape.”

Plenty of patients go to visit Plafcan with complaints of discomfort in their necks and their the middle back. A prolonged support of the head in a slouching posture may cause this discomfort. The stretch causes the head to move in the opposite direction.

Similar content

The Medical Minute is an everyday health news report created through Penn State Health. The articles are written by experts from doctors, faculty and other staff and are intended to provide accurate, timely health information to a large population.

In the event that you’re experiencing difficulties accessing this content or would prefer to have it in a different format, please contact Penn State Health Marketing & Communications.