How many times have you been sitting on the sofa, feeling comfortably, and then as you’ve got up your body feels stiff and achy? The reality is that’s most of us! The reason your body does this is because your sitting position has been causing your body to go funky, and when you then go to move around it takes it’s time in trying to function again. This is also why so many people get a fuzzy head when ‘standing up too quickly’. The problem with this is some of the bones that will have been moved around by your sitting position will have been shunted forwards, and the body doesn’t have any muscles able to pull them back. Over time this is what causes your body to deteriorate and give you trouble, as well as disrupting your treatment, making things take longer and costing you more money!
The ideal sitting position is to not sit at all, but we know that in modern everyday life, this isn’t really doable, so we’ve got a few tips to try to help keep your spine as healthy as possible on the occasion that you do need to sit. Generally, you should be able to decrease the amount of sitting time quite significantly with relative ease by changing small things in your day to day life. One way to decrease the amount of time sitting if you have an office job is to use a standing desk. If this isn’t possible, try to take a brief walk every hour (going to get a glass of water is a great way to stay hydrated too). Another great way to keep your spine upright is to walk as much as possible. This will also enable your body to compensate well when something does to slightly wrong.
If you do have to spend some time sitting, the ideal position is sitting upright, knees below your hips, shoulders relaxed and the middle of the screen (or whatever you’re looking at) at eye level. We recommend using one of our seat wedges to help keep your hips above your knees as they are custom made from the firmest foam we could find, giving your body the added support it needs (although they are a little bit hard on the bum). Here is a diagram to show what we’re talking about.
When looking for a chair, the ideal would have a totally flat base, preferably not too soft, with a seat wedge on top to keep your hips above your knees and your spine upright. Ideally the chair should be height adjustable too, enabling you to raise the seat at just the right height for your hips to be higher than your knees whilst keeping the entire feet on the floor. Ideally the back of the seat should also be flat as if it has a curve, when you lean back, the curve will push bones of the spine forwards causing you to have problems or fall back into pain. This also happens when you sit on a chair that has no support or is too soft like a sofa. As you lean back and sink into the sofa, the weight of your body, combined with the poor position of your body, end up knocking bones forwards, leading to problems.
Car seats are another problem entirely, however the same basic principles apply. The ideal is always to try to keep your spine in a neutral position, hips above the knees, head looking straight forwards and hands and arms relaxed just below shoulder height. The problem is that most cars aren’t big enough to be able to do this, which is why driving is often one of the biggest problems when in pain. If your car is able, try to flatten the base of the seat as much as possible and lift the back of the seat to as upright as possible. If you struggle to set your car up yourself, let us know and we can schedule a time for Aaron to set the car up for you.