You May Be Sitting Wrong

Back pain is often brought on by movement, but sitting can also contribute to back discomfort. Even though we sit more than ever these days with office work and computers, the problem is not so much how often you sit but the way in which you sit.

How difficult can sitting be? You just put your backside in a chair. It turns out that there is more to sitting, and the manner in which you sit can drastically affect your spine.

Modern Sitting

The United States’ National Public Radio recently published an article examining how people in pre-industrial cultures sit. The reporter noted that these individuals tend to sit straight, rather than with their spines curved in a C-shape, and suffer fewer cases of back pain than in the Western world. On the other hand, people in industrialised societies – like Canada and the US – often jut out their mid-back when they sit. In other words, they tuck in their pelvis and their neck.

The Problem

This modern way of sitting is usually the result of long hours spent in front of a screen – computer, television, or otherwise. Unfortunately, this posture can create multiple problems in the neck, upper, mid, and low back. When you sit in this manner, you create pressure on one side of your intervertebral discs.

The NPR article likened these discs to jelly doughnuts. This is an accurate analogy, as your intervertebral discs are filled with soft material. And just like a jelly doughnut, pressure on one edge of these discs will cause that material to bulge out. The result is disc herniation, pain, and loss of mobility.

What Can You Do?

Try to sit up straight consciously, but with this important caveat – avoid jutting out your chest. It is instinctive to raise your chest when attempting a straight posture, but this can cause more harm than good. Instead, pay attention to your pelvis and be certain that it is positioned in a straight line beneath your head and not tilted inward.

Also, always remember to take breaks from sitting. You should not stay seated for more than 45 minutes continuously without a five to ten walking/stretching break. Maintaining any position for too long is unhealthy and puts stress on your body.

Are you having trouble with your sitting posture? Ask your chiropractor for help. Chiropractors are experts in both body mechanics and posture, and your chiropractor can explain and demonstrate proper sitting posture to help you avoid back pain and other difficulties.