How you sit says a lot
I just got the Denver Chiropractic Center Primary Pattern Rehab Protocols back from the printer. After all of these years, I finally put those protocols to paper and you’ll start getting them now at your appointments. Thanks to Otto the Hungarian Typesetter for doing the layout (really, he lives near Budapest).
Did you know that I can pretty much tell if you’re at risk for back problems based on how you sit down into a chair? It’s true. Since the glutes and back extensors, if properly firing and properly patterned, control your descent into a chair, I can tell if yours are working or not. If you tend to put a hand on your knee or an armrest when getting into a chair, you’re in trouble.
Using the arm to ‘build a bridge’ tells me that your glutes are not firing effectively. This means that you’re probably not using your glutes for other tasks, like picking objects up from the floor. Failing to use these muscles is a recipe for future back problems.
A typical patient with a back crisis thinks that it was caused by the bag of dog food he stooped over to grab. Or perhaps that patient was trying to get that squirming child into her car seat.
The reality is, almost all back problems are cumulative. Bad motor habits cause important muscles, like the glutes and spine extensors, to work less and less. If you’re not firing these muscles, you’re using other muscles, probably smaller spinal muscles, to take up the slack. This is what wears out spines and causes big back problems. The dog food and squirming kid are just the straws that break the camel’s back.
A great way to protect yourself is to start working on the squat pattern and getting it right. The Chair Squat Protocol is a Phase 1 Primary Pattern exercise that will help you. Remember of course to check with your doctor first.
Start with a sturdy chair, ideally with its back against a wall (1).
With your calves barely touching the chair, maintain a slight arch in your back and move your rear down and backwards into the chair(2).
Without shifting all of your weight onto the chair, use your glute muscles (by pushing your heels into the floor) to come back up (3).
My arms are extended in the pics as a counter-balance, but you don’t need to do that. Using this little exercise, every time you sit into a chair, you can work on protecting your back over the long run by using your glutes and spinal extensors.
This will help ensure that you continue using these important muscles and supporting your spine functionally. Yes, there are even more aggressive ways to work these muscles (that’s Phase 2 and Phase 3).
If you’re putting up with pain, whether it’s back pain, shoulder pain, headaches, shin splints or anything else, give us a call 303.300.0424. We’re here to help you.
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