Blog posted by Nic Craw, Physiotherapist at Bureta Physiotherapy
As human beings our bodies are made to be standing upright on two feet. With advancing technology, the internet, computer based work, learning and communication we are spending more and more time sitting. This has an effect on your spine, especially if you have an injury or an ongoing niggle.
In standing our spines have a series of natural curves known as a lordosis in the Lumbar (lower) and Cervical (neck) spine and a kyphosis in the Thoracic (mid-upper) spine. These curves allow for normal movement, shock absorption and maintaining our centre of gravity over our feet.
When we sit down it can be difficult to maintain these natural curves and most people are not aware of their spinal posture when they sit. Often when we sit, our pelvis rotates backward (posteriorly), flattening the Lumbar curve (lordosis). Flattening of the lumbar lordosis leads to an exaggerated bent forward upper back (thoracic kyphosis) in order to maintain our centre of gravity over our pelvis where we bear weight in sitting, which in turn causes the head to protrude forward.
When educating clients about their spinal posture I often get them to maintain their poor sitting posture and get them to stand up. Clients find their posture in standing to be stooped and bent forward. Maintaining this position for even a short time can lead to or aggravate numerous spinal related problems both in sitting and standing.
To improve your spinal posture in sitting, start at the pelvis ensuring it is rotated forwards giving you that natural lordosis in your lumbar spine - (a lumbar roll can assist this if you sit for long periods - available through the clinic). Once this pelvic position is set it becomes much easier to pull your shoulder blades back and tuck your chin in to achieve an upright sitting posture. One of the fundamentals of treating spinal pain is re-educating clients on posture
Maintaining this posture requires a strong core, shoulder blade stabilisers and neck strength and the team at Bureta Physio can guide you through a program to improve these areas and your postural awareness in sitting. If you spend a lot of time sitting either at work or play then maintaining a good spinal posture is very important not only when recovering from a spinal problem but to prevent them developing in the future.