Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Sit, Slide & Lean

Tired of work?  Does work, school or your day make your shoulders sore, tight and achy?  Many people carry their stress in their shoulders.  Are you tired of end of the day aches and pains?  Well let’s do something about that!

We tend to be creatures of habit.  What are your habits at work, in the classroom, or at home? These habits continually stress the muscles, ligaments and joints to repetitively produce the habit. One thing most people enjoy is a seat.  Sitting is not a good position for your body and specifically, your spine.   Taking a seat shortens the hip flexors, bends the spine forward, and places strain on the low back, upper back and neck.  Furthermore practically every action we do when sitting involves reaching in front of us; to type, grab the phone, move the mouse, or grab a drink from our water bottle.

As we begin the second half of the school/work year, let’s review a good position for your desk or work station.  It’s really as simple as “Sit, Slide & Lean” (1).

Sit. First, prior to sitting brace your core and drive the hips back to find the chair, as opposed to crashing into it with a thud, gently locate it with your tush. The chair height should allow 90 degree angles for both the knee and the hips.  The feet remain on the floor.

Slide.  This means sliding your rear end all the way to the back of the chair, so that your butt and back make a corner out the intersection between the back of the chair and the base of the chair. When we leave a gap between our back and the back of the chair, we round our back in order to “fit” into the chair.  This worsens as we tire of holding ourselves fully upright.   This places a tremendous of load, specifically flexion, on the lumbar spine, which may irritate discs. Furthermore it allows ligaments to creep, which is a deformation or stretching of the ligaments. Finally, the muscles such as the hip flexors stay in a shortened and unnatural position for many hours.

Lean.  Lean your back into the chair.  This allows you to maintain a neutral spine. Leaning back allows you to maintain proper lumbar, thoracic and cervical curves and good posture.   Your head will rest naturally over your shoulders, reducing stress on your upper back.   From this position you can maintain a relaxed and comfortable “base position” to accomplish your daily greatness.

So take a minute to step outside of yourself in order to look at how you are holding yourself while you are sitting down.  What would it look like if you could see yourself?  Now try “Sit, Slide and Lean”.  Comfortable, relaxed and confident.  Now look at your most frequent places that you sit… your desk, office, kitchen table, comfy chair, etc and apply the above to your environment. Finally, get moving with ladder reaches.  If you have any questions, give me a call, I’m here to help you.  My goal is to help you move well, live well. 

(1) Dr. William Brady,DC- Personal communication &