Most of us spend a good deal of our time sitting in front of the computer at work, sitting at the table during lunch or sitting in front of the television in the living room at the end of the day. Although this is an act whose goal is to ease our body and make us feel better, many of the common sitting positions we choose don’t benefit us in the short term and cause long-term health damage. In the following sections, you can learn about the 6 common sitting positions that many of us choose throughout the day, the damage they can cause to our bodies, and how to prevent or treat them.
Sitting cross-legged is a comfortable and common position that many of us like to sit in, but despite the convenience, it can lead to a variety of health problems that should be avoided. In studies that examined the association between blood pressure levels and our sitting habits, it was found that cross-legged sitting could temporarily increase systolic blood pressure by 7% and diastolic blood pressure by 2%. At the same time, many therapists and physiotherapists say that crossing legs often can lead to back and neck pain and even to disc herniation. This is due to the deformity created by the thighs when placed on top of each other, which can lead to an imbalance in the pelvis, increased pressure on the spine, and pain.
Beyond the orthopedic problem, sitting cross-legged for a long time can cause damage to the ligament that stretches between our lower back and our legs, which can damage your nerves over time. The last drawback is related to the thickening of spider veins. The pressure exerted on the legs during the session inhibits the flow of blood, leading to the blood being collected in a certain area of the veins and causing the appearance or exacerbation of the existing varicose veins.
Many of us are familiar with the recommendation to sit with your back straight when your knees are ninety degrees off the floor. Indeed, a sitting position that provides good back support is one in which the knees and buttocks are at the same height. However, try to find the problem in the picture below:
Although the photographed man is careful about the right angle of his legs as much as he can be, he forgets that in order to derive the benefit from this sitting position, it must be done in its entirety, and not just a part of it. Many who suffer from back pain, or whose back muscles are weak and unable to provide proper support, reach a position where the lower back fails in its efforts to keep the back straight, and curls forward instead of staying straight.
As a result, the shoulders also curve forward, followed by the neck and head. Prolonged sitting in a position where the back crouches or curls forward, while the knees and buttocks are left at a 90-degree angle, may cause lower back and neck pain, stiffness in the shoulder area and even headaches.
Many of us spend a good deal of time sitting in front of a computer, either at work or at home, leading to us leaning forward to get close to the screen or to stabilize ourselves as we help our muscles rest. All these lead to us ending the day with a variety of problems, including shoulder pain, neck and head pain, knee pain and, of course, lower back pain.
Remind yourself of the correct rules of sitting - although we all know that it is important to sit with your back straight, this is actually a matter of many other factors such as the height of the screen, computer keyboard, chair and so on. The following video will remind you how to correct the common mistakes that cause us all to lean forward and harm our health.
The equivalent of leaning forward is the opposite - leaning back. Most of us sit like this on the couch in front of the television, but sometimes we do it either at work or when playing on the computer. When we feel pain in the back, especially in the lower back, our tendency is to move to a position that will strain our muscles less, and slack sitting allows us to move some of the load onto other parts of the back.
However, by moving to this slack position, we convert part of the muscle load onto our bones, tendons, and even nerves. These parts are not supposed to carry the weight we lay onto them in the loose sitting position, so we may suffer from long-term and even immediate damage.
Knees are a vulnerable and sensitive area, and sitting positions that apply prolonged pressure on your knees such as leaning or squatting on the knee joint are responsible for quite a few of the injuries and pains that many suffer from. The most common injury caused by strenuous sitting is associated with an infection in the Patella (Infrapatellar bursitis), which is located on the front of the knee.
Today many complain of pain in the area after cleaning or gardening, but also due to physical activities during work. Because the joint is responsible for a wide variety of activities, its injury can lead to pain when ascending or descending the stairs, running, moving from sitting to standing and even waking up in the middle of the night when changing sleeping positions.
Indian style sitting is a favorite form of sitting for many, and it is also the form of the initial sitting position in yoga classes, and not by accident. It has attributes of calmness, balance, and peace. Some yoga students choose the lotus position, which is an oriental position where the feet lay on top of the thighs and not under them.
However, in order to gain the benefits of this position, one would need the flexibility of the hip joints and back muscle strength, which otherwise may collapse under the difficulty of this sitting position and lead to back pain, hip and ankle inflammation and especially long-term damage to the inner knees. At the same time, this sitting position also includes disadvantages due to it being an asymmetrical position, because one of the legs is placed on top of the other, which affects our pelvis and may later lead to changes in our entire posture.