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Sitting is the New Smoking

Dr. Misty Paul on getting UP to get healthy

Dr. Susmita (Misty) Paul owner of Basics First Chiropractic, is an expert in helping her patients practice “self-care.” She says, “as a chiropractor I treat neck pain, back pain, carpal tunnel, knee pain, jaw pain – I treat a lot of different things. But one of the things that I've seen a lot of especially over the pandemic, is pain from sitting.”

Sitting? Yes sitting. “it's something that we're doing all day long. Before the pandemic, most of us had a long commute. And then we’d go sit at work. And then we’d get into our car and drive home and lay down on our couch and say, ‘I'm so tired. I can't do anything.’ How can that be if you’re sitting all day?”  

To Misty, “sitting is the new smoking. Sitting is just as bad for you as smoking.” Why? It’s compressing the discs in our backs It limits circulation in our muscles, and so oxygenation of those muscles. Without movement, what happens is your muscles start to stagnate; they become weaker. You get flat butt syndrome, and text neck syndrome – not to mention headaches.”

Sitting also puts pressure on your lungs because you’re not getting enough oxygen throughout your body, so you’re more prone to diabetes and cancer, not to mention the shoulder stiffness, back pain and a slowing of the cognitive processes of your brain.

“You are slowly killing yourself and you’ve got to make some changes!” she insists. "If we’re all worried about aging to the point of taking pills and potions and putting lotions all over, it’s worth remarking on how old we’ll look if we’re all hunched over, she adds. “You’re aging rapidly from a foggy brain, poor posture and flabby abs.”

Standing desks are no better for you if you don’t take the time to stretch your legs and move around, she adds. But what does help are these three things:

1.     For every 30 minutes sitting you need to move for three minutes. “You don't have to be distracted from your task at hand. Simply get up. You can still be on the Zoom call. You can just walk in place. You can still be talking on a meeting and you can keep some light hand weights nearby so that, while you're in that meeting, you can just be doing some curls, some tricep extensions.”

2.     Keep your curves. “As you sit, start from the top of your head and concentrate on where you need to preserve your curves. Your ears are supposed to be over your shoulders.” Keep a mirror close by so every once in a while you can glance at yourself and say, “stop slouching!”

3.     Motion is lotion and hydrate to regulate. “We forget to drink during the day, so keep a water bottle close by. Use a physio ball. Switch it up, anything to keep yourself moving.” Just getting your hips moving, having a box with bicycle pedals on it to move your legs, or using stretch bands for resistance are all things you can do to get your blood moving and stop yourself from aging in place.

Those in leadership positions at work need to make “dates” with themselves to exercise and to establish good sleep patterns, she added. An essential oils whisperer, she also recommends using peppermint oil as a natural muscle relaxer and wild orange for mental stimulation.

When it hurts, or if you’ve felt better, she’s here to help, and now offers SoftWave tissue regeneration technology to heal deep muscle and joint pain. But in the meantime, “do yourself a favor and just get up!” (See, or call 703-777-2532.)

  • Dr. Misty Paul, Basics First Chiropractic

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