Posture starts in the pelvis
-Melanie Connell PT
Have you tried to sit up straight by raising your chest, and throwing your shoulders back? Maintaining this posture is very fatiguing. If you experience continual back or neck pain when sitting, then adjust your base of support first. Your base of support is not your neck and chest, but it is what your sitting on, namely your legs and pelvic girdle. When your pelvis is in the right alignment, then the mid back, neck, and head will follow along. For example consider these photos, when the legs and pelvis change, so does the head and neck.
Getting your pelvis set allows for proper core engagement without having to suck in or hold your breath. If you are know you are a breath holder, then go visit my video here called, Stop Holding Your Breath.
Once you understand the base of your posture, then you can adjust accordingly. Remember posture is not ARCHING YOUR BACK AND SQUEEZING YOUR SHOULDER BLADES. This adjustment is inefficient and unsustainable. Consider these 5 tips below.
Place your chair in front of a mirror so you see your profile.
Reflect on how you are sitting. Look at the position of your feet, hips, low back, and head/neck.
Try adjusting with the following tips:
- When sitting make sure your hip level is higher than your knees.
- Make sure your feet are flat on the ground.
- I tell my patients to “hinge forward at their hips.” This means come to a 90 degree angle where the top of your legs align with your torso. It does not mean slouch forward. As you lean forward with a neutral spine you will feel your abdominal muscles engage. Hint* your weight should be felt more over your pelvic floor than your tail bone.
- Once you feel your abdomen engage slightly, relax your arms down to your side. Roll your shoulders up and back around gently, then turn your palms facing out in front of you.
- Now look in the mirror. Are your ears over the shoulders and your shoulders over the hips? Is your core slightly engaged? Is your breathing relaxed?
If you have taken these steps and are still dealing with nagging neck and back pain then consider coming in for a free postural consult in our office. It may be that you could you more mobility in your pelvis and/or thoracic spine. It may be that you could use more core strength to maintain this posture. Either way we can help you align and adjust to get you on the track to more efficient posture and reduced pain with sitting.