MARY FISCHER, MS, PT: Today I want to talk about low back pain, a very common problem that over 80 percent of Americans will experience sometime in their life. One of the main culprits in low back pain is poor posture. So to learn a little bit more about what good posture is for the back, let's look at some spine anatomy.
We have Kate here with us; thanks for joining us today. Look at her lovely posture.
Kate in standing has very elegant posture of her neck because she has maintained the three natural curves of her spine. The cervical portion of the spine curves in. And then at the thoracic area, you have a curve out. And then the lumbar spine curve in again, nearer in the neck. So she looks very balanced and symmetrical in standing and very healthy, really.
The problem comes when Kate sits down, and she has a job where she sits a lot. So we're going to look at her posture in sitting. And for many of us, sitting posture is a problem. And I think you can see why, because right as soon as she sits down, you can see she lost all of her curves. She's in a C-shaped curve throughout her lower spine. Which is very common. She's in a flexed lumbar posture right now.
But there's nothing to worry about, because Kate has learned to do posture checks throughout the day, at least every half-hour. When she feels herself getting tired, when she feels herself slumping in her chair, she sits up and she sits on her hands and feels for her ischial tuberosities -- those are the bony prominences of the pelvis. They're our sit bones; we're supposed to be sitting on them.
When Kate slumps in her chair, her ischial tuberosities scoot forward and they disappear out of her hands. But as soon as you sit up tall -- you feel them coming back in?
KATE: Yeah, I can feel 'em again.
MARY FISCHER, MS, PT: Okay, so she knows when does this activity, she knows that her spine has gone back to its three natural curves that she was so easily able to maintain in standing. So try that at work to avoid the problems of low back pain that can be caused by bad posture from sitting.
So thanks for coming in, Kate.
KATE: Thank you.
MARY FISCHER, MS, PT: And thank you for joining us at Working Well.