How changing the way you sit can help decrease back pain

Changing the way you sit may help alleviate back pain.

ABC News chief medical correspondent Dr. Jennifer Ashton said that you may want to think about your core when you have pain in your back.

“When you slouch, it pulls everything in your back tighter — muscles, disks, your spine,” Ashton said today on “Good Morning America.” “When you sit up straight, you have slack now. So it’s about working the front, as well as the back.”

Jenn Sherer teaches a new sitting practice called “spinefulness.” While sitting less is a good idea, Sherer said, you can also sit better.

First, stop thinking about your posture because that’s not sustainable. Instead, Sherer said, sit down differently.

“If you find yourself slumped or hunched, don’t pull everything tight to get back in alignment,” she explained. “Just stand up and start over again.”

Here’s a healthier way to sit, according to Sherer:

1. Stand with feet hip width apart, visualizing a fig leaf covering your pubic bone.

2. As you sit down, the fig leaf will rotate through your legs, causing your bottom to stick out. You will feel your hamstrings stretch and your quadriceps relax. Your imaginary tail is now free to wag.

3. No need to lift your chest, which causes back tension that can lead to pain. Breath into any tensions you still feel.

4. When you’ve lost your relaxation, don’t tense up to realign. Instead, stand up and start the process over again.

PHOTO: Dr. Jennifer Ashton discusses what to know about studies on how sitting for too long is bad for your health, and a simple change you can make in your posture to help alleviate back pain.ABC News
Dr. Jennifer Ashton discusses what to know about studies on how sitting for too long is bad for your health, and a simple change you can make in your posture to help alleviate back pain.

Ashton added her own tips, noting that you should start from “head to toe.”

“First of all, you want your chin tucked in, you want your shoulders back and down, your core engaged, you want to be sitting on your sit bones and you want your feet right under your knees,” Ashton said. “It’s all about having everything over everything else. You want to be in a straight line.”

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