Posture tips for human chairs and sofa bears

Sitting posture set. Right and wrong positions. Healthy lifestyle.

“A good stance and posture reflect a proper state of mind.” – Morihei Ueshiba

“Posture simply means configuration of the body” – Ian Loram, 2016

‘Text neck’ is gaining momentum as the millennial version of RSI (repetitive strain injury). We are all spending an increasing amount of time at our computers and on our smart phones. Team this with long commutes; prolonged sitting in the office and a Netflix addiction and it’s no surprise that mechanical, postural related pain is becoming a real problem.


But is ‘bad’ posture…bad?

It is normal to slouch from time to time and it’s good for us to be relaxed in a sitting position. However, sustained slouchy, c shaped posture can result in abnormal spinal loading and pain. A typical human chair c shaped individual maintains a forward head position, rounded, elevated shoulders, a rounded spine shape and a posterior pelvic tilt (backward tipped pelvis). C shaped human chairs have difficulty tipping their pelvis forwards to sit up and struggle to move their lower and mid backs independently of one another.

The effects of this are often:

  • Increased loading of the spine
  • Headaches, associated with the forward head position.
  • Tightness in the muscles at the front of the body, due to bracing of the abdominal muscles
  • Reduced lung capacity and a shallow breathing technique.

If you have this c shaped postural type and are uncomfortable in sitting, try sitting with your bottom right back in your chair and gently tilt your pelvis forwards (anteriorly pelvic tilt), reducing strain on your spine by reducing the c shaped position of your back and coming into a neutral spine position. Move more! Regularly get up out of your chair! Getting fit is also important so shake off the sofa bear in you and get active!
Another common postural type adopted by human chairs, which can also lead to pain in sitting, is the one assumed by those of you who think that you’re in the army. Overly archy types (those with an increased lumbar lordosis) constantly sit up straight and often on the edge of their seat. The overly arched among you often think that you’re doing yourselves good, as you’re so upright and working your back so hard. However, this position too can be painful and exhausting!

The effects of this are;

  • Increased loading of the spine, as if you sit in this position, you’re working your spinal muscles too hard and they’ll tell you by becoming painful and tight.
  • Over loading the spinal joints.
  • Tense shoulders, as I bet you’ll look like you’re using those to keep your ears warm, as you sit at your computer frantically typing away.

If this is you, sit back into your chair, tilt your pelvis back a bit, reducing the archy curve in your lower back (lumbar neutral) and relax! Let the chair support you and do some of the work. Your back will thank you. And just like your c shaped colleagues, take regular breaks from sitting and move, move, move!

Wearable technology is really useful to set reminders to ensure that you regularly get out of your chair. Remember to wriggle, move, fidget, wander… whichever is your favorite; just move! Preferably for a couple of minutes every hour.

Of course there are lots of other postural types and unhelpful ways that some of us sit and move. The good news is that it is surprisingly easy to return to good, relaxed posture; it just takes a little regular self-discipline and sometimes the help of a fab Physio. If you need some help with your back pain and think it is related to how you’re sitting but just can’t seem to change it yourself, book an appointment with one of our Physio’s and they’ll be able to help!

Call 01245 505 866 for an appointment.