Increasing awareness around the pelvis and knowing how to find a neutral spine in sitting is a great way of reducing pain in the hips, lower back, shoulders and neck. Discomforts can arise or be exacerbated by the increased duration of sitting in the same posture or sitting with a poor ergonomic set up.
Humans are designed to sit on the two egg shaped rockers of the pelvis called the ischial tuberosities or more commonly, the sit bones. We can find these by sliding your hands under your bottom when sitting (a hard chair is best) and tilting the pelvis forwards and backwards until you feel the body bits we’re talking about.
When we sit tall on the parts of our skeleton designed for the purpose, we can take pressure off the hips and lower back and indirectly affect the positioning and comfort of the upper body too.
For Slouchers | Seated Exercise
The pelvis is in a posterior tilt. Often the feet stretched out in front to act as a counter balance to the weight of the body being rolled backwards and more scrunching through the neck and upper shoulders. Lower back pain is common.
Roll up onto the sit bones by imagining a little more space between your pubic bone and your ribcage. Feel the shoulders open through the front and return to a more neutral position.
Stretches: hamstrings, pecs and lats.
Strengthening: shoulders, especially rhomboids and external rotators.
Sitting Up Too Straight
Many people fear slouching so much that they tilt the pelvis too far forwards into an anterior tilt. This often causes lower back pain and tight hips. The feet may be tucked backwards, ankles crossed underneath the chair. In standing the posture is often described as having a sway back.
Roll back slightly onto the sit bones by activating the abdominals and decreasing the distance between your pubic bone and ribcage and reducing rib flare. The skeleton and core muscles should be maintaining a balanced posture, not the hip flexor muscles.
Stretches: hip flexor stretches e.g. psoas and quadriceps
Strengthening: core/abdominals but ensuring the hip flexor do not take over. Pilates abdominal exercises would be great.
Melbourne Natural Therapies