Posted by: Dr. Paul Zemella - Santa Barbara Chiropractor | August 24, 2011

Body Mechanics of Slumping When You Sit

When you sit with your hips lower than your knees your pelvis tilts backward and your body slumps. This pelvic tilt leads to your lower back arching backward and your upper back and neck compensating by arching forward. This pushes your upper back and lower neck areas forward into a direction where there are NO muscles behind them to pull them back into place. This mechanism of slumping is responsible for a variety of painful areas. One person might get lower back pain while another might get neck pain or headaches. Other areas can be stressed as well. Wherever your body can use muscles to compensate and shift the stress off of the parts that went forward, it will use them and can cause pain there.

Proper sitting posture is so important that I teach it to all of my patients as soon as they begin treatment. Often, they will not feel better very long after I work on them unless they sit correctly between visits. How does it feel when you are sitting right? It takes no effort. Your entire body just wants so to stay upright naturally and easily.

You should test these sitting ideas for yourself to see if they are true for you chiropractors in Santa Barbara. Try sitting the way we suggest with your hips a bit above your knees. Use a book or towels on a chair to get your hips up a bit. Feel how upright you are. Just let your body go loose and see if you slump forward. Then, take out whatever you were sitting on and see if you slump and notice if it takes more effort to sit there.

Now, try the ideas presented in this report for a few weeks. After awhile, you will feel so comfortable sitting this way that you will notice anytime you sit incorrectly. I know that you want to be able to sit anywhere and NOT have it cause you any problems. This may not be possible. Very few places we sit are built with correct structural posture in mind. Sofas, recliners, cars, airplanes are all build LOWER IN THE BACK. Sitting in restaurant booths, movie theater seats, and sitting up in bed – are pretty much going to cause your body to slump. The ones you can’t fix will bother you no matter how you try to fix them. For example; I have not seen anyone be able to sit up in bed and not have it affect them.

Most standards for building chairs are to have the back of the seat one inch lower than the front. Chairs do vary some from this but seldom do you find one that is built up enough in back to be level (ideally above level). Even many office chairs, with all of the bells and whistles they have for making adjustments, generally have flaws. The shape of the seat, sometimes made like a saddle, is hard to sit properly on. This is especially true when you cannot adjust the height of your hips to be higher than your knees. As for sofas and recliners, I have not seen anyone with back or neck problems that can sit on one and get away with it. This bears repeating: sofas and recliners are made to slump in. I have tried many ways to fix them but have NOT been successful from chiropractors in Santa Barbara

The same goes for propping yourself up in bed to read or watch TV. chiropractors in Santa Barbara recommend lying on your side with your head propped up above level if you want to do these in bed.

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