Posted by: Dr. Jamey Dyson | April 11, 2012

The Sitting Rule

Sitting – one of the most common activities of modern humans.  Experts now say the average person spends 9.3 hours per day sitting.  Now that’s a lot of tush-time!

As a chiropractor, my biggest concern with sitting is that it can be damaging to the joints, discs, muscles, and other tissues of the spine – especially when you sit incorrectly.  You can usually tell if you are damaging your spine based on the amount of pain and stiffness you feel.  As  pain and stiffness levels increase, you can bet your spine is heading down a rocky road.  Pain is your friend.  Pain is your body communicating with you.  Learn to listen to it.

It is estimated that 80% of the population will battle severe, disabling back pain at some point in their lifetime.  Back pain now accounts for 1 in 5 doctor visits and costs more than $100 billion per year in medical bills, disability and lost productivity at work.  And now, sales of addictive opiate pain killers like oxycodone and hydrocodone are at all-time highs.  Basically, it has become blatantly obvious that spinal problems are a HUGE drain on individuals, families, and communities.

What if most of this could be prevented?  What if the cause of much of the pain is from the way in which people are sitting and the amount of time they spend sitting?  Well, I believe sitting (especially incorrect sitting) is one of the fundamental causes of spinal pain and disability.

In my clinical practice, I treat people for spinal pain and dysfunction that results, in part, from sitting incorrectly.  One of the most important skills my patients can learn is how to sit correctly.

I’ve created a short video to explain and demonstrate one of the fundamental rules of correct sitting.  Check it out:

So, after watching, you can see that the key to sitting upright without using a lot of muscle effort is to keep your pelvis from rolling backward.  The simplest way to accomplish this for most people is to keep your knees lower than your bottom.

As seen in the video, you can use the “Slump Test” to evaluate whatever surface you are sitting on.  In this test, you are simply breathing in and out and letting all your postural muscles relax.  If it makes you slump, it’s BAD for your back.

Many times you will need to use something under your bottom, like a seat wedge, folded towels, or some type of cushion.  This helps get your bottom up higher than your knees, allowing your pelvis to stay in the correct position.

Give it a try and let me know how it works for you.  And remember… don’t let gravity get you down!

Be Well,
Dr. D.

Dr. Jamey Dyson is a Doctor of Chiropractic (DC) and Certified Chiropractic Wellness Practitioner (CCWP) who has been in private practice at Advanced Chiropractic in Salem, Oregon since 2000.

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