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Sitting - why having "ants in the pants" could relieve your back

I have always been a big advocate of good sitting posture.

Sitting tall with a nice lumbar curve just makes you feel so much better.

You can breath easier, your head doesn't feel so heavy (because it isn't jutting forward like it tends to with a slouched posture), your back can relax and the discs in the lumbar spine are ideally positioned to safely take the weight of your upper body.

All good reasons to use a back support to help you maintain that nice sitting posture.

But then time passes - and you have been doing really well.

You have maintained that good posture - but why do you now start to feel that you may need to move?

Well one of the big reasons is that you need movement. you crave it.

Your muscles need it, your joints and ligaments need it and your discs need it too.

Motion b

rings with it an increase in blood flow, better oxygen delivery throughout the body, it can help lubricate and gap joints to ward off stiffness and in the case of your lumbar discs it gives them a chance to rehydrate and retain a greater resistance to the stress of the rest of the day.

And then there is CREEP. Yep - that's right - CREEP.

Creep is the slow lengthening that can occur with sustained pressure over time in ligamentous type structures. In the case of the spine this can occur for example around the facet joints which control the direction of motion available to the different areas of the spine.

Studies have shown that long periods of sitting can create ligamentous creep that can linger for hours if not days and influence the stability of the spine in some types of movement.

For example in large movements that only require small muscular effort - e.g. bending forward to pick up a pen from the floor - the spine is suddenly more vulnerable to injury.

What could be the answer?

Perhaps we need to make room for more movement.

Shift your weight from side to side, gently rock the pelvis forward and back a little, stand up and reach for the sky for a few seconds.

If you get the chance risk a walk to the next office to discuss an issue rather than sending that email. And if you feel like it - perhaps DANCE (just a little). You and whoever sees you will at least get a laugh and that causes movement too.

Sometimes I think we just need to pay more attention to kids and how they do things.

They are in constant motion, they bend well, they walk well, they run jump and skip - they rarely sit still or stay in one position - and have you noticed that they hardly ever complain of the tight neck and the sore low back that those of us that don't move much do?

So could the answer be a mix of the 2. Sit well, sit tall - but don't be a stiff. Use your support for short bursts - and then add movement to your day.

This may just be the recipe for a better back. And remember...

Better backs make for happier people - and we like to make people happy.

Try it out today.

Andrew Blyth

Body and Spine Solutions

301 Anson Street, Orange

(02) 5310 6259

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