As this week was Back Care Awareness Week, we thought now was a good time to learn how to sit correctly to prevent back pain.
For many of us, using ergonomic equipment is the only way we can get ourselves in the right position when seated, but if we took a few tips from babies, this could all be avoided.
Babies learn to sit up all on their own. Sure, mothers do help out a little by propping their babies up, but ultimately it is all down to the baby figuring out how to align their spine and balance that heavy head. The key to their success is the rather oddly shaped pelvis bone. When babies are able to rest their weight on the pubis ramus at the front of the sit bones, they can finally sit up unassisted.
So, what lessons can we take on board from these clever infants? Take a look at this step-by-step method to help you sit correctly wherever you are:
Step 1: Build a foundation by anchoring your pelvis
The first lesson you'll need to master is parking your pelvis like a baby. Do this by sitting on a flat surface with both feet on the floor. Then, lean forward a bit and slightly over to the left - slide your right hand under your right buttock (palm facing up) and rest your weight on your hand. From here you should be able to find your sit bone - your goal is to rest your weight on the front of the sit bone. Lean over to the right and 'walk' your left sit bone to the back of the chair, pushing your right side back as well until you are resting your weight on the front of both sit bones.
Now, bring your torso up vertically - if this makes your lower back arch, don't worry, we'll get to this! If you feel pain however, stop what you're doing and consult a medical professional for further advice.
Step 2: Relax your belly
This step gives you the opportunity to get rid of any excess tension in your body. Take a deep breath and exhale, releasing any pent up tension from your belly.
Step 3: Let your chest drop down and your back rise up
We know what you're thinking - isn't that slouching? Technically - yes, but stick with us! At this point you are encouraged to let your upper back rise up while your chest drops downwards. Pay attention to how your core muscles feel here, they should engage and begin to feel firm.
Step 4: Position your shoulders on top of your rib cage
Now it's time to rectify that slouch. Do this by taking one shoulder at a time and rolling it back so it rests above the rib cage. You'll notice here that your chest feels more open even though you haven't actually lifted your chest.
Step 5: Put your head on straight
At this point you should allow your neck to gently rise upwards. You shouldn't feel any pain or tension here so be sure to stop if you do.
Step 6: Melt into it
Finally, it's time to get comfy. Now your pelvis is sitting right, your spine is aligned and your bones are in the right place you can relax and enjoy the posture, feeling secure and pain-free.
Alternative therapies like the Alexander Technique, Chiropractic Treatment, Physiotherapy and Osteopathy can all help you address your posture and how it affects you physically.
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