Whether you're back to sitting waaaaaay too much because you're back in school or it's just a normal part of your work day, you might as well choose to sit in a way that will best avoid pain and promote good musculoskeletal alignment.
These recommendations are based on the postural patterns we assume when we are not musculoskeletally stable (i.e. Are experiencing pain or poor posture) as defined by PRI. They are for someone presenting as a left AIC and/or right BC person (Don't remember what that means? Review it here). These will be most impactful after seeing a therapist at Integrate 360 for a thorough evaluation. Not only will this let you know what pattern you are in, we can customize the recommendations for you - no guess work!
1) Sit with your knees at hip height or higher. This allows your pelvis and lower back to stay in a neutral or slightly rounded position. Most furniture is made for people who are 5'8". If you are shorter than this, your knees are likely lower than your hips. This pulls your pelvis forward which will arch your back and create pain. You can always put a footrest, or even your backpack, under your feet to bring them up. Also be sure to get rid of any lumbar support or roll you may be using. This will put your lumbar spine in too much extension or arch.
2) Feel your heels. Make sure that your heels are in contact with the ground. Pushing up onto your toes and not being able to get your heels to the ground subconsciously tells your brain to activate the calves and other extensor muscle groups. This sets your body up for failure when it's time for you to get up and move. Your brain is not prepared to use all of your muscle groups appropriately to move you forward. Plus, if your heels cannot reach the ground, there's no way your knees are at hip height.
3) Shift your left hip back. Pretend there is a spool of thread between your knees that you are trying to pull closer toward you as you pull your left knee back toward you. Our pelvis' tend to get stuck pointing toward the right when we get out of a good musculoskeletal position. This will help to pull the pelvic back toward the left, placing it in a much more neutral position.
4) Lower your left shoulder. Our diaphragms are much stronger on the right side than the left. This causes us to bend our trunks to the right slightly and lower our right shoulder. By bending back toward the left, crunching our left abdominal wall, or simply lowering our left shoulder, we help to better align our spines.
5) Reach across your body. Because of that diaphragm position and right hand dominance, we tend to reach with our right hands a lot. Reaching with you left hand makes your brain more aware of the left side of your body which will help to keep your posture symmetrical. It will also help to keep your body moving in a reciprocal and alternating way - the way our bodies should move all of the time! Unfortunately, in this world of sustained sitting and repetitive movements, this is harder and harder to incorporate into a normal day. This can lead to repetitive movement injuries and pain.
6) TAKE BREAKS AND MOVE! Easier said than done, we know, especially if you're in a classroom. But try to take breaks as much as possible. Get up and move around. It can be simply walking to the back of the class to the front, using the restroom, or getting a glass of water. Keeping our bodies moving keeps them healthy, and you awake!
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