Your spine has four essential curves
These are, from top to bottom:
- The cervical curve: 7 vertebrae, concave curve
- Thoracic curve: 12 vertebrae, convex curve
- Lumbar curve: 5 large vertebrae, concave curve
- Sacral curve: 5 fused vertebrae which connect to the 4 fused vertebrae of the coccyx, convex curve.
Describing this spring-loaded, S-shape, helps us understand how the curves compress and expand throughout the day to perform shock absorbing and stabilizing duties that keep us upright and injury free. However, compressive forces, including the excessive pressure that comes with poor posture, can work over time to actually change our spinal curvature and leave us worse off.
Sitting to support your spinal curvature
Sitting loads the lumbar vertebrae with up to 3 times more pressure than standing, which is already considerably more than laying down. That means we need to pay extra attention to good posture when we are sitting, especially for long periods of time. Perform this posture reset:
- Sit up straight and relax your shoulders, rolling them back and dropping them down
- Pull your navel in towards the spine and upward to the rib cage
- Make sure your butt is touching the back of your chair and drop your tailbone down toward the floor.
- For the final step, look straight ahead, making sure that your head is balanced atop your spine.
In this position, you should feel a fairly straight line between head and tailbone. This is the position which loads the lumbar vertebrae with the least pressure while sitting. It is as close as you can get to a neutral posture while sitting, which makes it very important for spinal health.
The problem is that this position is difficult to maintain because of overly tight postural muscles and overly weak phasic muscles. At Scorca Chiropractic, we have a plan to help you overcome problems associated with sitting posture. If you are interested in protecting your spinal curvature despite the amount of sitting you have to do, give our office in Fremont a call to schedule an appointment today.