The majority of us suffer from back pain at one time or another, but could simply changing how we sit be the hack to prevent back pain and all its associated problems?
We know that sitting for long periods of time can be harmful to our spinal health, but that’s just modern life, isn’t? Well no, not according to Jenn Sherer, an American-based therapist who teaches people how to sit properly. According to Sherer if we want to prevent back pain we need to readjust how we sit from the base up.
Instead of straightening our spines, which sees the majority of us simply stick our chests out, Sherer says we need to imagine our spine as a stack of building blocks and start by securing the base. In this case our pelvis. Because how can our spine sit straight on an unstable base? It makes sense right?
And it explains why so many other cultures don’t have the back issues we do. Because they sit properly.
So what’s the hack?
Think of yourself as a dog with a tail and then find a friend to practice with. Go with us here. If you look at your friend while sitting sideways you’ll see their spine curved into a C shape. Their pelvis will be tucked and their shoulders will be curved. So, if you imagine you’re looking at a dog, the dog is technically sitting on its tail. But once the dog untucks its pelvis its tale will wag. Which also releases the lower back and helps elongate the spine.
Still with us? Try it and see. At first it will feel like you’re sticking your behind out, but with practice and over time your lower back muscles will loosen and you’ll start to feel comfortable.
“If you untuck your pelvis while you sit, your quadriceps muscles can relax, and then your hamstrings can stretch,” Sherer says. “If you don’t feel your hamstrings stretch — and your quads don’t relax — you’re probably not doing the action correctly. Then you’re probably using your lower back muscles to push your butt out, which cause more back pain. You don’t want to do that.”
You want to imagine your spine is elongated and resting in its natural state, which sees a curve at the lower back.
Stick with it!