Monday, July 30, 2012

Where do you sit on your Sits?

Many people have heard of the sits bones which are the bony projections of the pelvis that we sit on.  Properly named the ischial tuberosity this area serves as the attachment site of the hamstrings and many other soft tissue structures.  Alot can be learned about your posture by the way that you sit on your sits bones.  First, make sure that you can locate these bones (you should be sitting on them!).  Hopefully you have found them.  Now, where do you sit on them?  Do you sit on the front/anterior aspect?  Do you sit on the the back/posterior aspect?  How about favoring one side over the other?  Do you sit more on the left or the right or maybe symmetrically?  Let's break down what happens when you sit on each aspect.

First of all why is this important?  Since most humans average at least 4 hours of sitting per day this is a posture you are in for most of your day.  Wolff's law states that your bones develop according to the demands placed on them so the way that you position yourself becomes the actual structure of your skeleton.

Sitting on the anterior aspect - This seating alignment causes an anterior shift in your pelvis and an increase of the lower back curvature (lordosis).  This way of sitting is most often the best and helps to maintain normal anatomic structure.  This will help people with disc injuries and a lumbar support will help you to hold this posture while seated.  Try to sit on the front of these bones and see how it changes your posture from head to toe.  This even helps your neck to be more upright and your mid back less forward preventing neck pain, mid back pain and possible headaches.

Sitting on the posterior aspect - This is what I call the tired posture.  After many hours of sitting it can be tiresome to sit upright on the anterior sits bones.  Sitting on the posterior sits bones is what I believe causes many of today's chronic back pain, neck pain and headaches.  It flattens out the lower back curve and rounds the mid back which leads to forward head posture and tightening of the trapezius and suboccipital muscles.  A good lumbar support can help you to avoid this posture.

Sitting on the left or right ischial tuberosity -  You may notice that you shift your weight to one of the sits bones more than the other.  This can be a good indicator that your pelvis is out of alignment and you may need a chiropractic adjustment.  Even if you have no symptoms of lower back pain this imbalance should be addressed so that you do not become a lower back pain sufferer.  This position can lead to a shearing stress on the intervertebral discs as well as place excessive loading on the pain sensitive facet joints of the spine.  Not to mention lead to muscle imbalances which will translate up and down your entire body influencing the position of many joints. 

Alot can be learned about our sits bones and the way that we sit on them.  Use them as a good indicator of how to fix your posture and decrease your chances of pain.  Check this video our for a good visual...

1 comment:

  1. Dear Dr. R,
    What a great commentary on sitting Dr. R. I have sciatica and sitting is very uncomfortable for me.

    After watching your video I have adjusted my sitting position to sitting on the front of my sits bones and am pain free.

    I was experiencing numbness on one side as I was crossing my leg as well.

    I will keep your video in mind and hopefully I can remain out of pain from sitting incorrectly.

    Nicely done!!
    Minni Ackerman