Sciatica—that feeling of pain, numbness or tingling you may be experiencing in your buttocks and down one or both legs—is often due to the sciatic nerve being irritated. What we refer to as the sciatic nerve is actually several nerve roots from the lower spine that have joined together. It then connects to many other nerves that branch out throughout the lower extremities and into the ankle and foot.
Because of the way car seats are made, it is very easy for us to curl our torsos as we sit at the steering wheel, and the weight of our body ends up being supported by our tailbone. But the tailbone is not designed to carry that weight. Our “sit bones”—the ones that are shaped like rockers and that can be felt underneath you when you are sitting—are the bones that are supposed to be holding us up.
According to a British study done in 2006, driving can cause quite a bit of pain. Of those involved in the testing, 81% suffered from foot cramps, 74% experienced low back pain, a stiff neck, and side achiness, and 73% reported headaches or eye strain. That is at least three-quarters of drivers! Read More
Have you ever watched someone else using a cell phone? Was their posture good or poor? Most likely it was quite poor. When we get focused on a phone or tablet, we tend to want to create some “private space.” To do that, we pull our heads and necks forward and curl our upper body into a ball to get that private feeling. If someone is talking on the phone, they may also be hunching their shoulder up to cradle the phone next to their ear.
Where are your legs right now as you are reading this? Tucked under you? Crossed? Wrapped around your chair legs? There is no one “correct” position for your legs, but there are some positions which are less likely to create painful issues for you.
Last time we discussed your sit bones. Now let’s look at your head’s role in computer posture—or your posture at any time!
With your upper body balanced over the sit bones, let’s look at your head. Take a moment to be aware of your head. Where is it? Is it balanced over the top of your spine, or is it leaning forward to see the screen? The second option is all too common. The head is at the opposite end of the spine from the sit bones. It counterbalances the sit bones. If either end is out of balance, then the whole upper body is compromised.
No matter how great our furniture is, if we are contorting our bodies in unnatural ways while we are using the furniture, we will still experience pain.
Any time we balance on the correct part of our skeleton, the muscles are not overworked to hold us up. We have several balancing points in our torso. If we allow those to line up, then we will be held upright by the skeleton and the muscles that were designed to do the job. A typical slumping posture may seem to be more relaxed, but it actually leads to more tension.
Today almost all of us love the things technology can do for us. It can help us find the information we need, entertain us, or connect us to anyone in the world. What we don’t love so much is the way we often feel after we have spent time in front of our laptop, tablet or cell phone. Many common complaints today can be traced back to our use of technology: Pain and fatigue in the muscles and joints, nerve injuries, high blood pressure, decreased muscle strength, and muscle swelling have all been associated with long periods of computer use. New terms have even been coined recently to describe some of this. You’ve probably heard of “text neck” or “text thumbs.”