IS SITTING UP 'STRAIGHT' ACTUALLY GOOD FOR YOUR SPINE?
SURPRISINGLY, THE ANSWER IS NO!
SITTING UP COMPLETELY STRAIGHT PUTS ADDED PRESSURE ON THE DISCS OF THE
THIS LEADS TO INCREASED RISK OF INJURY AND LONG TERM DAMAGE.
THE BEST POSSIBLE POSTURE TO MAINTAIN WHILST SITTING IS CALLED ‘NEUTRAL
SITTING WITH A NEUTRAL SPINE PLACES MINIMAL FORCES THROUGH THE
SPINE/DISCS. THIS HELPS TO KEEP THE SPINE HEALTHY AND REDUCES
UNNECESSARY EARLY DEGENERATION/DAMAGE TO YOUR BACK. IF
YOU HAVE ANY INJURY TO YOUR BACK, THIS SITTING POSITION AVOIDS
AGGRAVATING THE INJURY, DE-LOADING INJURED TISSUES AND
ENABLING HEALING TO OCCUR MORE RAPIDLY.
What is neutral spine?
Neutral Spine follows the natural curvature of the spine where forces are
evenly distributed, and muscle forces are balanced. This should be the
‘rest’ position or position you spend most of your time in.
How to gain a Neutral Spine?
- Sitting close to the back of the chair, relax through spine
- Roll pelvis forward creating a small concave curve in your spine – roll using your hip flexor muscles (a pulling forward action at the front of your pelvis)
- Do not move your trunk. You will feel like you are leaning backwards slightly – this is correct
- Check to see if your back muscles are ‘floppy’/relaxed. If they are
relaxed – you are sitting correctly. (If back muscles are firm/ropey
then you are using your back muscles to hold you and therefore
- You may feel a dull ache in the front of your legs/hips and/or lower abdominals. This is normal as these muscles are holding you in this
position. They will fatigue quickly (as they are not used to working in
this way) and will give you the ‘achy’ feeling. This will go away as
the endurance of your muscles builds up over time.
- Begin sitting this way for 5 minutes and build up your endurance by
adding an extra minute several times a day. You should eventually
be able to sit like this for an hour or more at a time.
- Every time you sit, you need to adapt this sitting posture, including
when driving [if you wish to avoid accumulative strain that leads to back pain and injury.
While you are building endurance, and perhaps can only hold the
sitting position for 10 mins, use this temporary strategy:
Continue to set up the sitting position in the same way – but start sitting
closer to the back of the chair. Then you can lean your trunk on the back
of the chair and place a rolled up hand towel in the small of your back.
This is a temporary strategy only while you build endurance in your sitting
It is often difficult to establish correct Neutral Spine Posture on your own
and this is where Baroona Physiotherapy can help you prevent
Call us now on ph. 3876 9990 and help ensure the health of your
spine for LIFE!
Enhancing the quality of YOUR life!
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