Physical traumas, mental/emotional stress and nutritional/environmental toxins are the three major causes of spinal misalignment.
However, you don’t have to be in a car accident or suffer from a sports injury to have had physical trauma in your life. Chances are you’re suffering physical trauma every day as the result of prolonged sitting.
Whether it’s in your car, on your living room sofa or in your chair at work, prolonged sitting is one of the most damaging activities you can do to your spine.
The sitting position, if done incorrectly, shortens your hip flexors, making it difficult to stand up straight when you first get up. Those tight muscles attach to your hip bones and pull your hips out of alignment as a result.
This in turn causes misalignments not only in your lower back and further up the spine, but also in your knees, ankles and feet.
If you’re going to sit for any length of time, here’s how to do it properly to minimize the damage your body:
- Adjust your seat height so that your hips are slightly higher than your knees. This prevents the hip flexors from getting tight.
- Sit at the front edge of your seat so that your pelvis tips forward. This engages your leg muscles and core because you have to use those muscles to keep from falling out of your chair. This is “active” sitting.
Bonus: Wear an extra light or light resistance band around your legs just above your knee cap and gently push your knees out against the band. This will help increase tone in your gluteus medius muscle. Try it for 2 minutes when you first start and work your way up to 5-10 minutes before going to a heavier band.
Dr. Michael McGovern, D.C., is an associate chiropractor at Chiro One Wellness Center of Vernon Hills and contributing writer for the Be Well blog. He earned his doctorate in chiropractic from Palmer College of Chiropractic and specializes in nutrition, hormone balancing, sleep optimization, vitamin therapy and adrenal fatigue.