We spend more time than ever sitting down. Whether it's at our computers at work, on our sofas watching TV or slouching over our iPads and mobile phones we spend more time on our derrières than ever before. The difficulty is that our bodies we're not designed to sit down on chairs or similar furniture, especially for such long periods of time. When we're sat down we generally lose the shape in our spine that helps it absorb pressure. We generally end up curving our lower spine (lumbar region) and in some cases people that slouch a lot actually sit on their spine rather than their bottom. Similar things happen up top; slouching over your keyboard will pretty much round off your shoulders, bending your upper spine (cervical and thoracic) in ways it doesn't want to go.
If you then add the fact that most people don't get enough exercise or actually look to stretch and take care of their joints and muscles you start to see a picture of abuse that makes it pretty clear why people are getting more and more back problems. But what can be done about it?
The best thing to do is to take away the cause. The main cause, as mentioned above, will be our over reliance on chairs and sitting down. The solution therefore must include not sitting down as much! That's actually easier than you think. If you work at a desk then just make sure that every half hour or every hour you get up out of your chair and go for a quick walk, loosening your spine and hips off as you go. Even better than that, spend a bit of time standing up whilst doing your work. The easiest way to do that is to get a stand up workstation - yes they exist! See our picture below for what they look like. When using other devices such as iPads, phones and TVs just make sure you are aware of the position of your back and don't allow your shoulders or your lower spine to curl, try and keep the natural curvature of your spine. Even better would be to use these devices standing up or even squatting down - your body was designed to squat!
If you can reduce the amount of time you spend sitting the you'll see benefits pretty quickly. If you can then also get yourself lunging and squatting properly you'll see even more benefits. Competing the lunge matrix will help loosen your hips and lower back. Throw in some upper body reaches and your thoracic and cervical spine will loosen up too. Squatting deep onto your heels will start to engage your glutes and hamstrings, allowing your legs to take pressure away from your spine.
Give all see a go regardless if you get back pain now or not and you'll either help get rid of it or you'll help prevent getting it. If you want more specific help just ask!