For your back in this case, or for your rights as Bob Marley suggested, but whatever the reason, just get out of that chair!
I recently read an article in the May 20th issue of the New Yorker that discussed the fairly new trend of using a treadmill desk in the office, which inspired this post. The author, Susan Orlean, stated the benefits she experienced from switching to this innovative set up a few months prior to writing the article. She reported being able to cover up to a few miles in a typical day while still accomplishing all of her daily tasks with ease. All of this with the added benefits of increased energy and no back pain!
While not everyone has access to this technology, or to the cost of it at this point, there are alternatives. Simply dedicating more time to standing while at work, say while on phone calls, or having a snack, or even meeting with a colleague while walking around the office instead of slouching over a desk, can all make a difference. Investing in a standing desk that can ideally be adjusted to be used alternatively sitting and standing would be preferable to hours spent in a chair as well.
For those who must endure being seated for hours at a time and don’t have other options at this point, there are a few things to keep in mind about posture which will eliminate excessive lower back tension:
Use a chair with a flat seat. Bucket seats encourage us to sit back into the pelvis, which will round the lower spine and cause the head and neck to thrust forward.
Sit with your weight in front of the sits bones. When seated, the ischial tuberosities, or sits bones as they’re referred to, are the pelvic bones that feel like two knobs under each side of our bums when seated on a hard surface. When we distribute our weight forward over those bones, so the belly is falling over the waste line, the spine retains it’s natural shape and the rest of the body is well supported, making it harder to slouch forward.
Adjust seat height so that the hip sockets are higher than the knees. This again will encourage a forward tilt of the pelvis, which as explained above helps to retain the natural spinal curvature from low back to neck.
So ideally move whenever possible, alternate sitting and standing, and get into the right position when seated to prevent unnecessary lower back compression and pain. In the next post I’ll discuss the major hip flexor muscle, the psoas (pronounced so – as) and it’s relation to lower back issues. Stay tuned…