Sitting. It’s the perfect way to relax, right? Wrong. By sitting badly, you put your spine under stress. Here are our guidelines on how best to sit for optimal spinal health.
It’s very simple: Sit With Your Hips Higher Than Your Knees. Everything we recommend revolves around this basic principle, and it will make a huge difference.
The wrong way to sit.
When your knees go higher than your hips, your body slumps forward and you can’t breathe as easily. Most sofas fall into this category, most car seats, and bean bags (see the above photo.)
How to fix it.
Put something underneath your bottom as you sit. A few towels work well. Alternatively, get a “lumbar seat wedge” to make life a little easier.
Try it – you won’t believe what a difference it makes.
- Find a seat that causes your bottom to sink in (knees higher than hips)
- Let your body relax. (You’ll see how easily it slumps.)
- Take the biggest breath you can.
- Now put something firm on the seat – a few towels – enough to get your hips higher than your knees
You should feel your body straighten up (even when relaxed) and notice you can get a fuller breath.
Why does it make such a big difference?
Sitting well prevents strain on your back and allows your body to relax and not work so hard. It rotates the pelvis forward – restoring normal curves in your spine. If you sit in a slumped position, this will reverse your natural spinal curves… not something that will help your body.
Other Tips We’ve Learned for Correct Sitting Posture
- Sit with your feet flat on the floor. This provides your body with the support it needs. It feels good and will cause much less strain on your body.
- If the seat or chair is difficult to get up from, most likely it is messing up your body. Find a new seat!
- Reading in bed will almost always cause problems which your body cannot correct on its own.
- Hold up your book or tablet so that your head isn’t tilted forward. Instead of sitting, you might consider lying on your front.
- Use a lumbar seat wedge at work and in the car. Patients and non-patients alike can purchase one of these from clinic reception.
- There is no perfect sitting posture. Get up and move about every 20 minutes and change seat height through the day. Even better, get a variable height workstation.