The Art of Sitting.The Fix.
In yesterday’s post, I discussed the subtle loss of stability in the lumbar spine when most people complete the sitting action.
Today, I’ll be giving you some quick physiotherapy tips on how you can fix your sitting. In the next post, I’ll give you tips on how to improve your standing from a sit.
As always, I’ll be using my trusted three part approach for relieving low back pain:
2. Motor Control
First, recognize that you are doing something to yourself multiple times a day (repeated sitting with loss of control) that is causing trauma to your tissues and that you must remove these injurious forces in order for healing to take place. If these forces aren’t removed or resolved, things just won’t get better.
You have take action to fix it.
This is the knowledge component.
Second, improve your motor control.
Recognize that motor control encompasses four major components including posture, movement patterns, mobility, and muscle balance. Each of these areas will have to be addressed for a long term solution.
This is the action phase where you apply your knowledge.
Start by fixing your posture as described previously (just click the link to be taken directly to the posture post).
Next, learn proper sitting mechanics. Sure, you’ve known how to sit since you were an infant, but when’s the last time you checked to see if you were doing it right? Are you sure you haven’t picked up any bad habits along the way?
You can work on mobility (loosening the hips and stabilizing the spine) and muscle balance (think about resolving any imbalances you may have because of compensations or specific movement habits) concurrently using simple drills such as the quadruped hip rocking movement in the following video clip.
Finally, and just as important as the other two areas, is fixing your fitness level. If you’re de-conditioned, you’ll let gravity do more work than it should, especially on the sit (remember the plop?).
Putting it all together…The sit breakdown:
From a standing position, control yourself down towards your seat while keeping your lower spine in neutral position (between rounded and arched). As your buttock descends towards the seat, push your hips backwards, making sure you keep your spine in that optimal, stable alignment.
Some common errors include standing with your feet too close together, rounding your back as you sit down and of course, not controlling yourself down. Another often seen compensation is the use of the arms to lower yourself down.
As your buttock touches down on the seating surface, this is where you need to be aware of the potential for loss of control through the lower back and pelvis. The plop tends to allow the lower back to round and the pelvis to fall into a posterior pelvic tilt (tailbone tucked under position).
For a proper sit, don’t allow the lower back to deviate from the neutral position throughout the WHOLE movement. Maintain that position right from the standing to the descent into the seat.
And that, my friends, is how you should be sitting. With control and purpose.
How many of you can honestly say that you pay attention to how you sit down every day?
If you’re experiencing low back pain, it’s probably time you started.
In the next post, I’ll work through the standing component to keep your back healthy and safe.
Yours in movement.