I recommend for my patients to use a seat wedge for applying this single most important datum about proper sitting:
Your hips should be HIGHER than your knees.
A seat wedge forces you to sit up straighter by forcing your knees lower than you hips. An even better solution is a office chair. These are chairs with a pad for your knees and a base for your butt.
The degree of slump in your upper back while sitting will dictate how steep of an angle your knees should be. The more of a slump while sitting, usually the more you need to angle your legs. There is a caveat with seat wedges: they are obviously at a fixed thickness. And of course people come in all shapes and sizes! So the biggest complaints about using a wedge are:
1) Causing too much pressure on the sitting bones
2) Feeling like they are sliding off of it.
A way to overcome part of this is to make sure the chair is tall enough. That goes for car seats as well as office chairs. Sorry to say this, but sitting up higher in an SUV or truck is going to be much easier on tall people than lots of sedans that have seats right at the floor board.
Look for lots of seat adjusting features in the driver’s seat the next time you are car shopping. The most valuable adjustments are raising the whole seat and tilting the seat bottom downward. Without these adjustments, changing the lumbar support provides little benefit.
LUMBAR SUPPORT PILLOW
Most people have heard about using a lumbar pillow. A lumbar pillow by itself isn’t near as effective as a seat wedge is for most people. But once you have the wedge, any kind of lumbar pillow or throw pillow behind your back will make your posture better.
Get your chair high enough. Tilt the seat base DOWNWARD to mimic the wedge effect. Then stick any kind of cushion behind your low back for support. No specific lumbar support is recommended once the other factors are set right.
If you are 6’2” and driving a Miata, none of this is going to help! Sometimes the only handling is to get a bigger car if your pain is worse after any length of driving in your car and you are really tall in a little car. Depending on your height, you may consider driving your spouse’s car if it fits your leg length better. Sometimes people are too tall for their car and no amount of seat wedge or lifting their seat will help. This is a limiting factor towards achieving pain relief and towards structural correction with ABC™ care.
Depending on how badly you want to make ongoing progress will depend on how many changes you’re willing to make—which may lead to you buying your own office chair for work or home office, trading cars with your spouse or in the extreme, buy a new seat for their vehicle or just buy a different car that fits them.
This may seem un-Coloradoan of me to say, but Subaru has some of the worst car seats for following these instructions. Please beware of the effects of bolsters on the seat back that roll your shoulders forward, the reversed curves of the seat back or bowed-in seat bottoms. Whether your car is a Subaru or any other car, these features force you to slump and curl forward which will make it tricky to get pain relief and stay stable between your ABC™ chiropractic visits.
Angling the knees to the ground allows a more natural low back curve which limits slumping in the upper back. The more of a slump you have when you are sitting, the more pulling on the spinal cord and muscles. Thus, more pain!
The most effective way of incorporating this key posture technique is to use a kneel-sit chair. Most of the staff in our office have the the Tempurpedic kneel-sit chair. Dr. Erica uses one at home as well. The kneel sit chairs don’t even have a back as is shown here. Healthy Back store used to carry this one but now they carry “Healthy Back Perfect Fit Plus Kneeling Chair”. They also have a newer product online that has possibility–the “Better Posture Jazzy Kneeling Chair”. It has a seat back for your lower back while still a kneeling chair. I have heard patients express that was a feature they would like to see. The local store gives our patients a 5% discount on their products. If you stop by our office we can give you the coupon or tell them we sent you–they will likely honor it.
The premium kneel-sit chair I have found is the kneeling chair offered by www.kneelsit.com. It has the best specs of any kneeling chair I have found. It is pricey for the consumer. But right in the range that companies spend on their employee’s chairs—$600-700 is very common.
Our office offers a service of performing ergonomic assessments at no charge for qualifying companies. Contact us to see if your company qualifies for a free ergo assessment. Once you fix the chair, there are many other factors that need to be addressed with your monitor, desk and keyboard.
There is definitely a gradient towards learning these instructions. It is a matter of testing and re-testing what works for you. Don’t get frustrated. Feel free to obtain a standard height or extra thick seat wedge from our office to assist you in better sitting posture. Our wedges are made of a high density foam that holds up fairly well over time. Once patients incorporate this vital data into the sitting habits, they are well on their way to better posture and less pain
Call 303-738-0390 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.