Today I am going to talk about some posture hacks and some things that I have certain kind of discovered for myself and my scoliosis over the last years especially when I’ve been really kind of researching this topic a lot more.
I will go through in this order.
We’re going to talk about sitting, standing and then we’re going to talk about sleeping positions as well.
Understing the spine.
Before we go to the main topic i want to introduce you to some common things about our spine as we are going to talk about a lot more. It is very important to introduce first
- Natural inward curves in the spine
- Inward curve
- Outward curve
We’re gonna start with sitting posture and position in a chair before we talk about anything else because you know that’s where we spent the most time.
Notice: Sitting, in general, isn’t great for us right any kind of static position that we’ll spend a lot of time in is not a good posture so even if you sit in the most amazing long position here which is probably not sustainable it’s not great.
So make sure to stand up to do a little bit of moving the hips from side to side walking around as much as you can.
If you’re sitting for long periods of time you might want to consider like changing it up
- maybe sitting on a gym ball or something like that for a while
- or a different chair that makes you sit slightly different that you’re not always sitting in exactly the same way
- and getting up obviously as much as possible
What is the best sitting position for scoliosis?
so when you sit in your chair what you want to, first of all, make sure is that when you sit that the natural curves of your spine that they are still present right.
what is the worst sitting position for scoliosis?
So very often what happens is we kind of sit in a chair all the way back and then we kind of go like this Straight backed not keeping the pelvis neutral. Now, this might be kind of the relaxed way of sitting and it might feel kind of that you’re relaxing on the shoulders.
However, for the spine, this Straight backed sitting position creates a lot of pressure and a lot of tension especially here in the lumbar vertebrae they don’t like this position.
What you need to train your muscles to be able to sit upright position. you might feel this kind of sitting habit takes a lot more effort because you need to train your muscles to be able to sit upright position.
How to find your Ideal Lumber postion/Natural curves of your spine?
So to exploar your ideal natural curves of your spine point I would suggest that
First Get a chair, not a yoga chair just a completely regular chair or office chair and we are gonna sit down right there and Come forwards a little bit more of your seat.
Put your hips are either in level with the same level as your knees or they’re slightly higher so that’s another thing.
- Sometimes chairs are a little bit too low or they can be too high so make sure that you adjust them.
- Also if you are quite short and your feet don’t touch the ground then you definitely want something underneath your feet so that they can be flat.
Then explore if you can tilt your pelvis a little bit further forwards.
Now if you have a spinal fusion in your lumbar spine this is not going to work for you obviously but for those of you who don’t have a fusion in that area, You will kind of notice where this natural curve point is.
Or you can just play around with tipping your pelvis forwards and backward and then find the place that is in between.
You can probably notice there’ll be one point where you can lengthen up through the spine a little bit more and that is probably your ideal position.
Sitting Posture: My Own Tips and tricks on how to sit with scoliosis.
So I’m gonna take a couple of blankets here and see a couple of things that you can do to adjust. (An image of blanket)
So obviously the obvious thing and probably most of you know as well is to use something in your lower back to support your lower back.
- Now I would put the blanket in between my back and the back of the chair
- and I sit back a little bit more put it into my lower back,
- not all the way down but a little bit higher to be able to sit supported so like this I don’t have to hold myself there but I can have a little bit of a rest here into the back of the chair.
Now, this regular straight-back chair is not a good chair right this is not the preferred way of sitting because if I put the blanket here it’s probably not going to stay. there are things that you can get to put over the seat of your car for example or your office chair for scoliosis as well that will have lumbar support. so that’s just one thing just to keep in mind.
Scoliosis Adjustment: How do you sit with scoliosis if you have just one curvature?
so the other thing is obviously we have sorted out the natural curves of the spine now we need to sort out that side with a curvature of the spine now.
so s-curves are always going to be the most complicated.
But if you have just one curvature you probably notice that when you sit you’re kind of there will be more weight into one side of the sitting bones than the other. In this case, you could try and support that dominant side of the sitting bones with a blanket.
For example, You have got a left cervical lumbar curve so I would imagine that you feel like there is more weight on your left sitting bone right in which case you could try and support that left side of the sitting bones with a blanket.
Basically, this raises the left hip a little bit more and kind of evens this imbalance out.
How do you sit with scoliosis if you have a dominant lumbar curve?
This is the same for the lumber curve so if you have a dominant lumbar curve then you can do exactly the same as well and just try it out and see if it’s helpful or not and see if that helps to keep the other side of the waist a little bit longer
so I, for example, have a left lumbar right thoracic curve but my main curve is the lumbar curve so this actually feels quite good and quite supported for me so I do use this sometimes.
Now with the thoracic curve, there’s not much that you can do in terms of the hips to level this out so that there’s you have to kind of adjust in a slightly different way but this is definitely one tool that you can use simply raising the side of the sitting bones that is convex.
How do you sit with scoliosis if you have a large hump?
The other one is if you have quite a large hump don’t like that word but I still haven’t found a better one mountain sometimes call it you know what I mean the more bulky side
on your left side if you have a left side sticking out to the back and you sit back into your chair what you could do is just support that left side a little bit more and kind of this gives you a little bit of a d rotation actually. Which is you know it’s stronger if you come to lying down on the ground but this is another way of adjusting this pose.
What do you have to be mindful of is that you don’t start to arch then more into your right side.
So it’s a little bit more complicated a little bit more tricky but I’ve had a lot of people that found this quite helpful as well good so.
How do i sit with an anterior pelvic tilt
if your pelvis is already tilted forwards and so you need a little bit more for kind of bringing it back to neutral position.
And that’s what I was saying when we first started that You need to play around with this pelvis position a little bit and tipping the pelvis forwards and backwards until you find them somewhere in between. So for someone who’s got quite a more of an anterior tilt so he’s got kind of more of a sticky out bottom you can actually do the opposite. So you could actually sit a little bit further back and just kind of use the especially if you have got quite a straight chair that might be beneficial. If you’re the other way then you would have to sit a little bit further forward.
So again it’s very difficult for me to suggest something that works for everyone because everyone has got slightly different patterns.
But I do just want to say something about my thoracic scoliosis for those people who might be studying and sitting at a desk for long periods of time.
- how you collapse right
- how you relax when you relax what do you do
- how do you kind of slouch
If you have a preferred way you will notice that you have a pattern
- is it over to one side
- is it that you cross a leg over very often with scoliosis we like to cross the leg because our spine really likes twisting.
So notice some of these things and then the first thing to do if you have established that you have kind of a pattern.
The easiest thing is to do the opposite because then you already know that you’re doing something that kind of goes against the curvature of your spine.
So for example, for me, it feels much better to lift the left leg over the right so i simply swap it around so i bring the right leg over the left and see how that it feels really awkward but that and then i know that i’m going against the scoliosis curvature.
The other thing is also if you have thoracic scoliosis for example let’s say you’ve got a right thoracic and you’ve got something here that you could rest your arm on then your resting position could be kind of this way that your arm is supported and then you rest into a productive position as you can see here from the from the shirt rather than the other way you can see that’s where you would make scoliosis worse so this way would make it a little bit better.
I know this is a bit more difficult you would have to kind of pile things up around you but again this is something you have to be a little bit creative good
it’s good to notice what your pattern is right
not just in terms of your x-ray
- what you can see
- or what you’ve been diagnosed with
But what you notice about yourself
- and that might be in a mirror
- or it might just be looking down and noticing if you have a preferred way of doing things
Standing Posture for Scolisis
We’re going to talk about standing. There are a few things to say about.
Again notice your patterns and i usually when i do a one-to-one session
- the first thing that we do is i have someone kind of walk on the spot a little bit and then stand without thinking about it or maybe walk around the room a little bit
- and then stand not like a yogi but try to stand how you would actually usually stand without kind of being aware of that or how you’re standing
- and notice if there are any patterns
so i can see i have trained myself obviously not to do this but my right foot has a tendency of wanting to turn out so i know this about myself i know that there is a little bit of a exterior rotation in my right leg and that the arch of the foot is slightly dropping as well so that’s one thing that i noticed.
The other thing that you want to notice is where is your weight
again just like in sitting do you collapse into one side or the other So you could shift your weight just from side to side forwards and backwards and then find the place that kind of feels centered.
So where have you got equal weight in both feet and we’re just exploring that to see if that feels any different.
Then the most important thing is is to to lengthen up towards the ceiling the crown of the head so you don’t have to think about oh i need to you know that was the wrong way i need to create space here create space there at the same time when you’re standing no you don’t you just have to lengthen up through the crown of the head and it will probably sort itself out already a little bit.
then the next thing you want to do is again notice how you collapse so when you rest how would you rest again if you have a thoracic curve and you know this about you if you rest somewhere for example if you have something like a wall or anything you could rest your elbow on your concave side definitely.
notice if you stand on one hip or kind of collapse into one hip. notice if you have a pattern of if you’re doing this and if you’re collapsing somewhere chances are that you probably need to do the opposite or safest way is avoiding it all together lengthening through the crown of the head.
Agin with Standing like a soldier is not a great posture either so the best posture is a moving one.
So you know make some movements around maybe coming back to a little bit of stillness but there is always something happening you’re not just standing completely still and this is a little bit easier than sitting i find because naturally, we’re moving around.
Sleeping position for scoliosis
let’s talk about sleeping. first of all, we need to establish what is working already so do you sleep on your back or do you sleep on your side.
I am already saying, not sleep on your tummy because that is never gonna work that is the worst position for sleeping so we’re just gonna try to avoid this. I know a lot of people do like sleeping on their stomachs but it’s just not very good for the back.
if you sleep on your tummy probably something like this will happen – you will bend one knee up and then you’ll turn your head to the side now this really compresses your lower back. It’s asymmetric not a great way of sleeping and especially if you stay in this position for whatever for six-seven hours you’ll wake up and your back might not be happy.
So that’s the time to reconsider maybe how you’re sleeping.
So sleeping on the side is much better and sleeping on the back is probably the most symmetrical for the back obviously but also I find the most difficult to kind of to sleep in.
What is much more important than you know how exactly you sleep is that
sleeping is not going to make your scoliosis worse even if you sleep in a really bad position. The worst thing that will happen is that you have pain and that you wake up in pain but it’s not going to actually make your scoliosis curvature worse as far as I know.
I have asked a lot of people about this so you know you can eliminate this kind of fear around this already that for some reason in your sleep your scoliosis will get worse it won’t so let’s just clear this up straight away.
Now I’ll show you what we can do lying on the side.
If you’re lying on the side you want to make sure that your head is in line with the rest of the spine. So with my left lumbar scoliosis here and this is sinking down now this part here is really compressed right and this one is overstretched here and I tend to get pain in the convex area of my curvature. so I would support the convex site with a blanket or something soft so it should be comfortable but then you can see that kind of supports that curvature a little bit more and yeah it’s a much better position. You could bring this higher up obviously so you ae got a steric lumbar curve so it would be on the peak of the curvature if you have thoracic it would be even higher up so you always want to think about what’s sinking down when you’re lying on your side can I support it a little bit more.
Now when you sleep on the other side if you have an s-curve you might support different areas of the spine and if you don’t have an s-curve you just wouldn’t support anything.
what do you think about hanging when possible during standing I mean to use natural props like the top of a doorway
I love hanging yes I do like hanging and I have actually one of those. I’ve got one of these things that you can put in the in doorway and you just attach it and then you can hang from it very useful so yes that’s what I do as well. if I feel compressed or everything is kind of sinking together then I used hanging to get a little bit more length.
good, what’s your take on doing stretching hanging exercise on a wall bar that’s kind of what that’s the same thing isn’t it? it can be helpful I wouldn’t do completely free hanging because then you’re just hanging into your shoulders right but if you still have support or if you still have the feet on the ground you can use this and then lengthen kind of in opposite directions if you bend your knees and then lengthening through the tailbone that can be really useful.
I’ve talked about some tips about sitting with scoliosis I talked about standing what to look out for and I talked about sleeping positions as well but just to make it clear again that scoliosis is very individual no scoliosis curve is the same as the next there might be other conditions as well so it’s very difficult for me to kind of give advice that will work for everyone obviously. but here but I’m just kind of sharing a few things that have worked for me again I’m a yoga teacher so that is my thing I’m not a physiotherapist I’m not a medical professional I’m not a doctor but I have been working with people that suffer from scoliosis for a long time and yes I feel like I have a very good understanding of the condition and I have seen lots of different cases as well and different ways of adjusting things so basically if you are looking for more kind of tailored advice then you might want to find someone in your local area who knows about scoliosis.