How To Sit To Avoid Spinal Problems and Back Pain – by Dr Scott Walton, DC

Everyone knows that we sit too often. Most professionals blame sedentary lifestyle and prolonged sitting as a primary cause of back pain.

Instead of focusing on how long we spend sitting down, what we should be focusing on is how we are sitting.

As a chiropractor, I see many clients who complain of back pain while seated at work, all of whom claim to have terrible posture. Many of whom have seen the acupuncturist, physiotherapist, and/or general practitioner prior to coming to see me.

Why do we suffer from higher amounts of spinal problems and back pains than others?… We spend more time sitting at a computer and desk than other cultures. Research comparing resting posture times amongst American society and other demographics actually disprove this.

Most people spend 10 hours per day seated. So why does American society have such a higher rate of back pain when compared to others? It’s because we don’t know how to sit properly. Let’s look at a side on view of a seated person. Most people are in some sort of C-shape, with the shoulders rolled forward and the pelvis/hips tucked underneath. It’s this posture which is hurting your backs and spines.

A C-shaped spine will often begin to damage the small shock absorbers within the spine called intervertebral discs. These cartilaginous discs are filled with a jelly liked substance, which when pinched on only one side can bulge out, or worse… rupture out. This is similar to a bulged or ruptured disc in the spine.

To resolve this, we need to “untuck” our pelvis by being sure to bend at the hips when we sit down. Imagine you have a tail instead of a tail bone. When we sit our tail should stick out behind us instead of tucked under us. The movement should naturally stretch the hamstrings and relax the quadriceps muscles. Do not use your low back muscles to arch your back and stick out your tail, this will only cause more back pain.

We also need to uncurl our shoulders. When we see our seated posture from side view, we should have our shoulders and mid back in the shape of an “I”, stacking our vertebrae without pulling back our shoulders by sticking out our chests.

Activities such as yoga and pilates can make us masters at having a relaxed seated posture. Untucking the pelvis, stacking the upper back, and learning to bend at the hips are essential in how to sit.

To book an appointment with Dr Scott please call 3482 2637 or click here to book an appointment online.

By: Dr. Scott Walton (BSc. DC) Chiropractor, Wellspring Chiropractic at North Lakes, Brisbane.