Lower back pain? Just a quick one!

This is the best single tip I can give you if you suffer from lower back pain. I have seen this make a difference to so many people even with really long term back problems.

This is especially important if you do a lot of driving as our driving position can cause agonies. Or if you sit at a desk all day this may apply to you too, although we tend to be a bit better at adjusting our desk seating.

It all sounds very simple and you may have heard it before but maybe you have never believed it would make a difference…..?

Sit in your car or on your desk chair. The place you where you park your backside for the most time!!

Now put something under your feet so your knees are a good few inches (6-8cm for the metric out there) higher than your hips.

OK? Now slump………….can you feel how your body collapses into a dreadful blob and how awful that posture feels? It stops you breathing properly. You can’t digest any food. And the muscles supporting your spine are being put under a huge strain. If you have a lower back problem anyway this will probably feel pretty awful. If you don’t have a problem already, you will if you do this for too long!

So the solution is simple, do the reverse. Remove the ‘something’ from under your feet and just check the level of your knees and hips. Now adjust with ‘something’ under your bottom so that the knees are lower than the hips.

At this point the difference can be really subtle. It only needs to be half an inch (or 1 cm). So sit up straight and check the knees are just that little touch lower than the hips and try to slump. Yes ok if you try hard you can still slump but it is much more difficult! It is much easier to sit straight because the position of the pelvis has shifted.

The pelvis has rolled slightly forward and this has bought the natural curve of the lower back inwards, and shifted your centre of gravity. So now the bony spine is supporting most of your upper body weight instead of those poor muscles. Even if you use a lumbar support to ease back pain, it won’t always help as the pelvis can still be tilted backwards. In this case the muscles of the back can still be under extra strain.

So give it a try. You will probably only need a very thin cushion. A small adjustment can make a big difference. Play around with it and find your ideal height.

Good luck and look after your back!

If you want some help with an acute or more long term back problem then give me a call or email. Clinics at Skipton and Keighley and now at Saltaire too.

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