Sit Your Ass Down

source I am a desk jockey.  I spend the majority of my working life sitting at a computer typing important (?) things. I am also affec...

I am a desk jockey.  I spend the majority of my working life sitting at a computer typing important (?) things.

I am also affected by a back injury in my lower back. 

I've found that when you put these two things together, how you sit in your chair becomes very important.  I know so many people who complain of back pain, shoulder pain, arm numbness, and headaches.  With a few simple corrections in how they sit, they're able to alleviate the majority of the adverse stress they put on their body while sitting at a desk.

There are many Web sites on the internet that want you to sit a certain way (usually involving a stick up your ass):

The examples above are very passive ways of sitting -- the chair (and gravity) does the work.  You are expending very little effort in those positions.  Subsequently, it is much easier to have bad posture when sitting in such a passive manner.

As a musician, I've been taught a bit differently.  I was taught the Alexander Technique by many of my voice (opera)/choral teachers.  Long story short it was created to help people use their bodies more efficiently (at first for performers, but now even athletes study it).   As a general disclaimer, I don't think Alexander Technique is the be-all, end-all, cure-all to any or all of what ails you as some people believe.  I just like it because it taught me a way of sitting.

In this position, you're using your butt and your abs to sit up straight.  I'll even put my ankles under the chair, underneath my butt and push against the floor to add extra support for my lower back. 

This is active sitting.  Notice there is no chair back?  If you're sitting in an active manner you do not NEED a chair back. 
On days when even sitting in this manner does not help, I'll use a Nada Chair.  It uses the tension between your legs and back to create support.  It's also great when you're going to places with bleachers, or when there are no chairs/benches at all.

So.... the moral of this story is to try a new way of sitting if you're finding the way you're sitting just isn't working out for you.

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  1. I have never in my life heard of the Nada Chair, or seen one in action. That thing is pretty darn cool! And the pic of the bad postures? I am top left corner and bottom right. I go back and forth between the 2 cause I'm cool like that.
    Nerdy is cool, right?

  2. Charlie: The Nada Chair got me through my worst periods with the back problem -- when I couldn't even stand up straight. I'd even sleep in it. My boss even got one (she has hip issues). It's so worth it!

    As for your positions.... at least you're alternating. The constitutes some form of fidgety exercise, right?

  3. I hate typical office chairs for this reason! I would actually prefer a standing desk to an ergonomic (aka, lazy) chair.

  4. Standing desks have their own issue -- the main thing is that we need to be moving more (standing, sitting, kneeling, yoga ball) and still less.

  5. I pretty much sit in all ways of bad posture all the time. I noticed if i uncross my legs and put my feet under the chair my posture drastically improves. About 15 years ago my family had that alternative chair you showed. I think it helped but we gradually stopped using it.

  6. Yeah crossing your legs doesn't help with posture or balance (creating a disparity in muscle strength, flexibility, stability, etc.). Occasionally, sure. But as you pointed out, when you uncross your legs, things dramatically improve.

  7. I catch myself sitting in terrible positions all the time. I like your feet-under-butt suggestion, it forces good posture. I'm going to work on making that a habit. Thanks!


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<3 Robby