The concept of “bad posture” versus “good posture” is hardly a new phenomenon. In a society designed to sit it’s a pretty hot topic that comes up regularly- especially in the workplace.
We’ve been writing about different ways to fix posture issues and bad sitting habits for a few months now, but we haven’t really dug into how to properly identify what the bad habits actually are.
How can you fix things you aren’t even sure are broken!!
This week we’ve decided to put our detective hats on and figure out how to identify bad posture habits.
Before we talk about the three most common “bad” posture habits let’s first let’s talk about some spine stuff.
There are three really basic observations that you should be aware of when trying to determine if you have good or bad posture.
1: A Healthy Spine Has Curves.
A straight spine is a dangerous thing. If you are sitting with a tucked under pelvis, the integrity of the lumbar curve is dramatically thrown off. And when you change one curve, you affect the entire spine.
2: The Spine Is Connected To The Pelvis.
The fused joints of the sacrum and the connected coccyx (tailbone) create a bridge that connects the posterior “wings” of the pelvis.
3: The Spine Is Connected To The Head.
Tension or problems in any one of the three components - spine, head, or pelvis- will affect the entire spine, which in turn affects your nervous system and therefore pretty much your entire well being…. No big deal.
Some Classic Bad Posture Habits.
One of the most common “issues” for people who tend to sit with bad posture, is the tendency to “tuck under.”
One of the biggest key players in sitting is our hips. A lot of us rarely use our hip joints to create a nice angle where our legs can bend and our spines can be free. Instead, we curve our spine so that we sit on our sacrums (the flat bones just below our spine- basically right where your pants pockets sit). This leads to a strain in our lower backs, not to mention a complete lack of core support. This ends up altering our line of gravity and can lead to all sorts of alignment issues over time.
Of course, sitting like this won’t kill you. Sometimes it’s good to change positions and let your body stretch. However, if you find yourself sitting like this most of the day, everyday, there is a good chance you will end up experiencing back pain- if you don’t already.
The Forward Head.
This definitely falls under the “sitting with bad posture” label.
We are in a world where our attention is increasingly channeled straight ahead, usually at some sort of screen. Rather than letting whatever object we are looking at come to our eyes, we find ourselves straining our head forward to see. This of course affects the entire spine and pulls off our line of gravity again. Over time, sitting like this will cause us to have a hard time releasing our shoulders so you’ll experience tense shoulders, neck, and (yup, you guessed it) back pain.
The Levitation Game.
This final habit is less spinal and more muscular.
Trying to “levitate”, or pull ourselves up is a major problem. Not only do you look afraid (as you should be, bad posture is spooky), but the constant contraction of the muscles in the shoulders is exhausting to say the very least.
This habit is often the result of a desk that is too high that makes us we feel we have to lift our arms while we work. If this is the case for you there are a few simple tricks to you can do instead of buying a whole new desk. Consider sitting on a phone book or a balance disk (which will also help with core support) or a thick, supportive cushion. Try releasing downward as you are sitting. Consider Newton’s law: For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. When you release down in the chair, the chair can push back. When the chair pushes back we will experience a beautiful lengthened posture through the intelligent design of the skeletal/muscular system’s tensile forces.