September 2014

December 11, 2014

A Structural Bodyworker’s Perspective

A series of observations about the way people sit, stand, and move (or barely move in some cases)

by Richard Green – Executive Director, MTW

Last month I introduced you to the role of your hip flexor muscles. Now every time you lean forward, whether sitting or standing, you should be aware that you are engaging your psoas muscles which incidentally are attached to your low back. So, if you’ve been experiencing back pain regularly, say at the end of a work day when you attempt to rise up from your chair but your low back says “not so fast; I need to let go first”, you need to start thinking about making some changes to your sitting posture.

We’ve all heard how everything in the body is connected to everything else. Well it’s true! What we weren’t told us that our nervous system is wired to notice everything we do, both consciously and unconsciously. The posture you take on when doing each activity is merely your variation of the way others do it: the way you sit, reach, raise your shoulders, extend your legs (or tuck your legs under). I’ll bet that no one else in the world does it exactly as you do. In other words, there’s always another way, perhaps even a better way, to do the same thing! So now we need to help you come up with a better, less stressful, more functional way to work at your desk and computer.

Ok. Let’s start with your chair. (Oh, so you’ve been seriously considering switching to a standing desk because it’s supposed to help your back. Well, yes and no. Yes it will help you deal with your current pain; however, other muscles will be forced to engage in order to hold you up, and how long before they start to fatigue and complain?) Ultimately, the overall best solution will be one where your body is properly supported without any assistance from your muscles. With the right chair you’ll be able to relax your shoulders, sit upright AND have back support! Stop by our office any time; we have two samples in our office for you to try out. In next month’s newsletter we’ll discuss additional changes you may need to make with your workstation in order to take advantage of that new chair.