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Sitting Too Much Can Lead To Varicose Veins

   This post has been quality checked in line with our Editorial and Research Policy.

Sitting Too Much Can Lead To Varicose Veins

What many people may not know is that sitting all day negatively affects their health. It has even been compared with smoking. There is clear evidence that prolonged sitting has adverse effects on your body. It’s a shame that regular exercise does not seem to counteract the damage done by sitting for long periods.

As a general rule, long periods of sitting prevent your body from actively pumping blood. Because of this, obtaining blood to the heart is harder. In some cases, reduced blood flow can lead to deep vein thrombosis. Therefore, it is important to exercise regularly and walk often.

My experience as an ergonomic advisor and a chiropractor might help if you are suffering from varicose veins from sitting too much. I’ve collected some research-based tips for sitting that can be helpful!

This topic has also been discussed in my book ‘Rethinking Posture in the Modern World‘ and exemplifies how a sedentary lifestyle can be detrimental to your vascular health. Most people do not associate sedentary behaviours with varicose veins. With my tips, you should be able to mitigate this condition.

Treating Varicose Veins Treatment at Home

man treating varicose veins at home

The best way to treat varicose veins is through self-care or at home. Self-care can relieve symptoms and slow the progress of varicose veins. Of those who receive home treatment, many find it to be the only treatment they need. Here’s what I recommend:

 Learn How to Sit Correctly with Varicose Veins

good vs bad seating posture wedge

Four essential components that you need to know when sitting with a varicose veins condition:

  • Feet on Floor. Ensure that your seat is as high as you can go with your feet flat on the floor.  
  • Forward Tilt. If your chair does not have the forward tilting capacity, you can place a seat wedge on it instead.  This angle not only helps set your pelvis in the correct position, but it can also improve your blood circulation to your legs and feet.
  • Seat Width. When seated at the backrest, two to three fingers should be between the back of your knees and the edge of the seat.
  • Chair Height.  Make sure that your chair is as high as possible while maintaining both feet on the floor.  Just like a sumo wrestler, I always encourage people to space their legs as far apart as possible.

Exercise for Varicose Veins

exercise for varicose veins

The Best Exercises for Varicose Veins

Getting regular exercise may help reduce symptoms and slow varicose veins’ progression.  

  • Keep legs moving. Stretch your legs out when you’re sitting down, and rotate your feet. Make sure that you have plenty of room for your legs and feet. 
  • Keep moving. Try to stand up every fifteen minutes and walk as much as possible.
  • Low impact exercise. The best exercises for varicose veins are swimming and light cycling.
  • A Healthy Weight is Important. The symptoms of varicose veins may be relieved more quickly by maintaining a healthy weight and losing weight if necessary. 
  • Leg elevation, ideally above the heart’s level, curbs leg swelling and increases blood flow to the rest of the body. 
  • Rest your feet on a footrest at work and home
  • When you get home, place your feet up at heart level. 
  • Improve blood flow back to the heart by lying on your back with your feet propped on a wall or on pillows. 
  • You should cross your legs from the ankles to the knees when sitting so that blood can flow freely. Crossing your legs at the knees can pinch veins and block blood flow.
  • Avoid long periods of sitting or standing. 
  • Standing while working for extended periods will exacerbate the pressure on your veins. Try to sit down regularly while working (with your feet up). If you are standing while at work, check out using a footrest to prop one foot up at a time.

Compression Socks for Varicose Veins 

compression socks for varicose veins

Varicose veins are usually treated with compression stockings that improve circulation and relieve symptoms. These are sold at any chemist or drug store.

Do Standing Desks Cause Varicose Veins? 

man standing at desk

Do most people associate standing desks with being healthier than sitting all day, but are they indeed more beneficial for everyone? Individuals with a family history of varicose veins are especially at risk. People who are on their feet for too long are prone to varicose veins.  It is essential to move around every fifteen minutes when you are using a standing desk. You will need to take intermittent rests in which your legs are elevated. Getting your feet up as much as possible and combining sitting, standing, and moving, is the best advice. 

Why Am I Suddenly Getting Varicose Veins?

woman suddenly getting varicose veins

Veins with varicose veins have veins that are narrowed or damaged by weakened or damaged valves, so they have blood pressure within them which causes veins to broaden. Being overweight, smoking, and being inactive can all contribute to varicose veins. Wearing compression stockings and elevating legs can help treat varicose veins.

Is Standing or Sitting Worse for Varicose Veins?

young woman at standing desk

Varicose veins get worse with too much sitting and standing. As the blood pools in your legs, veins burst into massive cords of stretched skin. The key is to keep moving. When you are not moving, keep your feet elevated.

Can Poor Posture Cause Varicose Veins?

poor posture causing varicose veins

Healthy and continuous blood flow is necessary for optimal body functioning. Bad posture causes blood to stagnate in the veins, causing constrictions. Your poor posture can be painful and can also cause varicose veins.

When To Worry About Varicose Veins

You should get your physician if you experience any of the following symptoms of varicose veins: 

Can Varicose Veins Disappear on Their Own?

Sometimes varicose and spider veins become less visible on their own. There are times you may also find that your symptoms disappear temporarily, particularly if you lose weight and become more physically active. Over time, though, your vein symptoms are likely to return.

Are Varicose Veins a Sign of Poor Health?

Veins that are varicose are likely to cause legs to feel heavy, tired, or achy, but they pose no significant health risks. The presence of ropy veins is not a warning sign for cardiovascular issues.

How to Get Rid of Varicose Veins Without Surgery?

laser treatment leg

Large varicose veins can be treated by endovenous laser therapy. During the procedure, a thin tube known as a catheter is passed through the vein, while on a duplex ultrasound screen, the doctor monitors the vein. There’s more minor discomfort with laser surgery than vein stripping and ligation, and it’s quicker to recover. Unfortunately, sometimes varicose veins recur after this treatment. 

Do Compression Boots Help Varicose Veins?

compression boots

If you try compression boots, they are one of my favourite therapies for varicose veins. If you use them, start at a lower pressure setting (around 40 mmHg) and use a peristaltic setting to pump blood and lymphatic fluid gently.  

Takeaway

It is important to know that sitting for too long can lead to varicose veins. While it may be difficult, try and get up as often as possible during the day to take a break from your chair and stretch your legs. To make this easier on yourself, consider using an ergonomic office chair or standing desk so you don’t have to sit all day long!

If you want more information about how prolonged sitting affects people’s health in general (and not just those who have varicose veins), check out our blog post on the topic here. What are some ways that you’ve found helpful when trying to reduce your time spent sitting? Here’s a video I made on how to sit perfectly:

 

A lack of exercise, sedentary postures, being too overweight, and smoking may contribute to vascular problems. All of these factors put your physical health at risk. 

Therefore, you need to follow this advice given to you today. It would be best to remind yourself that unconscious and complacent movements will eventually make you break down. If you stay active and attentive throughout your day, your vascular issues may decline. 

Sources:

  1. Alexander, C.J., 1972. Chair-sitting and varicose veins. The Lancet, 299(7755), pp.822-824.
  2. Tüchsen, F., Hannerz, H., Burr, H. and Krause, N., 2005. Prolonged standing at work and hospitalisation due to varicose veins: a 12 year prospective study of the Danish population. Occupational and environmental medicine, 62(12), App.847-850.
  3. bramson, J.H., Hopp, C. and Epstein, L.M., 1981. The epidemiology of varicose veins. A survey in western Jerusalem. Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health, 35(3), pp.213-217.
Dr Lawrence Woods DC

Dr Lawrence Woods DC

Founder

My goal is to create the highest quality ergonomic office chairs and accessories for unmatched comfort.

With 30 years of spinal healthcare experience in Ireland as a chiropractor, I learned the value of high-quality sitting for living a happy and healthy life.

I have a Chiropractic Degree from Life Chiropractic College West and I am NBCE Physiotherapy certified.

 

Dr Lawrence Woods

My goal is to create the highest quality ergonomic office chairs and accessories for unmatched comfort.With 30 years of spinal healthcare experience as a chiropractor, I learned the value of high-quality sleep for living a happy and healthy life.I have a Chiropractic Degree from Life Chiropractic College West and am NBCE Physiotherapy certified.

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