Spine and Intervertebral Discs
The spine is the central support of our body. On the one hand, it protects our central nervous system whose neural paths run through it. On the other, its task is to protect the sensitive brain against shocks generated when running and jumping. The spine is stabilised by its surrounding muscles. They are responsible for our upright posture. Therefore, healthy muscles are the essential requirement for a healthy spine.
The spine consists of 23 bony segments separated by 22 cartilaginous (gristly) intervertebral discs. They are primarily responsible for the elasticity and mobility of the spine. Intervertebral discs do not have their own metabolism. They nourish themselves - like a sponge - from the lymph (tissue fluid) surrounding them. They suck it in when relieved and press it out when loaded. If intervertebral discs are pressed constantly on one side, such as when sitting rigidly still, they lose their elasticity. However, if the back is kept moving, such as when sitting on the Swopper chair, Muvman, or 3Dee-Active-Office-Chair, the intervertebral discs are constantly loaded and relieved at various points.
The previously typical sitting posture at work at the desk or in front of the computer is the rounded back or hunchback. The risks of this unhealthy sitting posture are clear: the intervertebral discs are incorrectly loaded, above all the discs in the lumbar spine area, which are particularly susceptible because they are moved the least. In this area the intervertebral discs are greatly pressed together on one side through the forward tilt of the upper part of your body and stretched on the other side. The brittleness stemming from years of malnutrition combined with limp muscles due to rigid, tense sitting with a backrest, significantly increases the probability of a slipped disc. By sitting in movement on the Swopper chair, you can immediately feel that it does your back good, especially in the lower lumbar region. It keeps the intervertebral discs well nurtured, fit and elastic, and the muscles constantly active and in movement. In this way sitting on a Swopper effectively prevents back problems caused through tension and slipped discs.
Joints are flexible connections between bones. When joints are painful due to wear and tear, it is referred to as arthritis. To a certain extent arthritis is a natural sign of old age, but this can fluctuate enormously. Characteristic for joint pain is sensitivity to movement.
The first signs of arthritis are stiffness and a feeling of tension after long periods of immobility. You have the typical "start-up pain" which diminishes the more you move. A continued relieving posture due to the great pain increases the danger of stiffening of the joint through lack of movement and weakening of the muscles. Furthermore, lack of movement decreases the circulation of blood through the joint capsule, which diminishes nourishment of the cartilage that it is already damaged.
The treatment recommended by doctors includes regular gymnastic exercise, cycling, swimming and walking according to the motto "movement is good, too much is damaging." Sitting on the Swopper, Muvman or 3Dee is completely in line with this motto. The constant minimal motoric activity of many groups of muscles and joints when sitting on Swopper active seats helps arthritic patients avoid the typical "start-up pain", ensures good nourishment of the tissue, preserves the existing range of movement and thus reduces their troubles.
From birth on the human being has the predisposition of a hunter and gatherer. Walking upright is enabled by the muscles supporting the spine. As long as you move enough, your whole musculoskeletal or locomotor system remains fit and healthy.
However, nowadays we move much too little compared with our primal ancestors and thus not enough for our genetic programme. For our backs, our mainly sedentary activities lead to one-sided postures which tense the muscles that are made for alternating tension and relaxation. Hours of tension while working at the desk and then long periods of relaxation (slackening) by leaning on backrests, is something completely different to alternating tension and relaxation of different muscles when walking and running. Movement is essential for our health and well-being.
Doctors, especially orthopaedists, are constantly demanding that we move as often as possible wherever and in whatever way. A bit of sport in our free time in the evenings and at weekends does not compensate for the damage done by hours of rigid sitting during our long work days. Until now a sedentary activity and a mobile back were mutually exclusive. The invention of the Swopper, the seat that moves in all three dimensions, makes it possible to exercise your muscles in a similar way to jogging while sitting. Sitting on the Swopper chair keeps your muscles always slightly in motion. Muscles in motion cannot tense up, active muscles do not slacken, exercised muscles help keep the musculoskeletal or locomotor system fit and healthy.
Backache has become the most widespread complaint around. The current data shows that almost 80% of the population suffer from acute backache. In many cases the pain becomes chronic and significantly diminishes the sufferers' quality of life. The statistics of the health insurers show that back problems are at the root of one in three doctor's notes and the reason for every other application for early retirement filed. Backache comes from bad posture, especially when sitting, and lack of movement.
To prevent backache, it is therefore important to adjust your behavior and environmental conditions to be better for the back. This means we should move more - not only during our leisure time - and set the highest ergonomic requirements for that which we do the most: sit. The Swopper products Swopper chair, Muvman stool and 3Dee office chair provide a solution on both counts. You sit in motion. This means that you automatically sit correctly, your muscles cannot tense up, and bad posture and one-sided loading are avoided. "Swopping" is like jogging sitting down. It keeps you fit and healthy and prevents backache.