You have to learn proper sitting posture if you want to keep lower back pain at arm’s length. For those of you who spend most of their day sitting in the chair in office, it is even more important to learn the correct way to sit at your desk because your spend one-third of your day (most likely > 8 hours!) sitting there and a wrong sitting posture may lead to a good deal of back pain. Follow these tips to develop the habit to sit the way you should.
Start by positioning the joints of your hip and knees: Sit in the chair and position your lower body. In this position, your hip and knee joints have to come to an angle of 90 degrees. Continue to adjust the seat height until you get the desired angle. Aside from positioning your hip and knee joints, you should also make sure that your feet are resting on the floor. If they don’t (because of the height of the chair) you may want to put a footrest under your feet.
Balance your weight: When sitting, you body weight is passed from the pelvis to the seat of the chair. At the bottom of your pelvis, you have two bones called sitting bones. Try to feel if your body weight is transferred to the chair under the bones. If your sitting posture doesn’t let you transfer your weight onto the chair, you are more prone to muscle tightness, disc injury, and lower back pain. In order to balance your weight on the sitting bones, you should try moving back and forth on the chair to locate the correct balance so that your weight sits on the chair through the sitting bones instead of your lower back or your butt.
Protect your curves: Your lower back should have a slight curve, and the function of spinal curves is to help sustain upright posture. Because of the curve, you can put your hand in the space between the back of the office chair and your lower back. You may have problems when you tend to over arch your lower back. As a result, you may suffer from muscle spasm or strain. If you tend to over arch, you should try to drop your pelvis into a neutral position; this way your weight will be on top of your sitting bones. On the other hand, if you tend to slump, try to avail a lumbar cushion. If the muscles of your back are tired or weak, you may place a lumbar roll between the back of the chair and your lower back. This will support your curve very well. A health human being should have a neutral arch of around a hand’s thick – so try measuring by slipping your hand on your back.
Take a long, deep breath: The diaphragm is the main breathing muscle. When you inhale, the diaphragm tends to move down your trunk in order to make adequate room for your lungs to increase in size (expand) with air. Since the movement of the diaphragm is vertical that helps up intra-abdominal pressure, its role is of great importance in upright posture. Moreover, a breathing technique called diaphragmatic breathing may help you get the most of this muscle.
Check the shoulders: If your shoulders are up by the ears, you probably have, or will have, tight trapezius muscle. You shoulder should rest comfortably, with the same height as you putting your arms down. Try using an arm-rest if you are having trouble relaxing them on your own.
Position your head: Your head is connected to your spine. It can be seen in people with kyphosis. In this condition, the head and upper body are forward of their torso. Now that you have the right sitting position without any tension in the shoulders, you should try to bring your head back in the right position. An ideal position is where your ears are aligned with shoulders. You may not achieve this position easily at first. If you find it hard at first but always remind yourself and in time your body will remember the proper posture.
Now that you have learnt the proper posture, it’s time to remember them and practice them. It will take time to develop these posture habits but once you do it will be with you throughout the rest of your life and believe me, you will thank yourself for it.
Cover Image Credit: bark