Did you know how you sit or lie can cause hip or back pain?

If we sit or lie in the wrong position, we are changing the alignment of the spine. This ultimately leads to hip and lower back pain.

The Hip Joint

The hip, like the shoulder, is a ball and socket joint. Its job is to help move your legs. The ball is at the top of your femur (your upper leg) and the socket is in your pelvis. The bones in the hip joint are protected by the capsule. Its lining produces fluid that lubricates the hip joint and maintains the cartilage. 

Surrounding the hip are various muscles. These include the hamstrings (muscles at the back of the thigh) gluteals (the muscles in your bottom) and the sciatic nerve.

Hip Pain

You can get hip pain by sitting with your legs crossed or with one leg over the other. Another cause is using a chair that’s too soft. A soft chair may cause your body to tilt on one side which puts pressure on your hip joint.

If you have hip pain, you will find sleeping on your side uncomfortable. Sleeping on your side puts stress on the joints and muscles of your hip and puts a strain on the hip joint you don’t sleep on. The best sleep position for your hips and spine is to lie on your back.

The Spine

The spine is made up of bones called vertebrae.  Our bodies have 7 cervical vertebrae in the neck, 12 thoracic vertebrae attached to the ribs and 5 lumber vertebrae in the lower back.

The canal in the centre of the vertebrae is where you’ll find the spinal cord. Spinal discs are in between each pair of vertebrae. The discs are like capsules that contain a gel-like substance. Discs provide flexibility and act as shock absorbers.

Many people who sit at a computer all day have poor posture. Most people slouch in front of a computer. Slouching puts pressure on your spinal discs and the muscles that support your spine. Over time the vertebrae will end up with stiff joints. Stiff joints don’t move into place correctly and cause pressure on the spine.

Lower Back Pain

A cause of lower back pain can be because you slouch when sitting. Another cause is from lying on your stomach in bed or sitting on the bed while using a laptop.

Slouching weakens your abdominal core. A weakened core causes your muscles to become painful and reduce the strength in your lower back. Sitting unsupported causes your spine to bend forward. This strains the discs in your lower back which may then develop hernias.

A lumbar disc hernia means that the gel that provides support leaks out into the spinal canal. This causes sciatica or a slipped disc. Sciatica can cause pain in your buttocks and your hips and legs. A slipped disc will give you lower back and neck pain.

How to Improve Your Posture

Changing your posture can help to improve hip and back pain. If you alter the way you sit or lie down, you will take the strain away from your hip and lower back. This in turn will reduce the risk of causing the damage that gives you pain.

How to Sit at a Computer

Use a comfortable chair while working.  An adjustable seat is ideal so you are sitting in the best position for your height. The chair should also tilt forward slightly and provide lumbar support. You should sit in it with your back in the chair in an upright position. Don’t lean forward or slouch.

Place your screen at arm’s length and make sure your desk is the right height. This useful chart tells you how to work out your ideal desk from your height. For example, a person who is 5’6” should have a seated desk of 67cm.

How to sit on the sofa

When you sit on a sofa your feet should be flat on the floor. Support your back using the back of the sofa or with cushions or a pillow. In this position, there’s no strain on your body. Your weight is evenly distributed, and your spine is aligned and not twisting in any way.

How to lie in bed

The best position to be in when you are in bed is on your back. This is because in this position your weight is evenly distributed so your joints aren’t strained.  You can further protect your hip joints by putting a pillow under your knees.

If you can’t sleep on your back sleep on your side. Sleep on the side that isn’t painful and place a pillow between your legs. A pillow between your legs stops any strain on your other hip and keeps the hips aligned.   

How to lie on the sofa

Sleeping on a sofa isn’t recommended because you are in a position which doesn’t support your back or neck.

But if you like to lie on the sofa for short periods then it’s best to support your head. Use a pillow rather than relying on the sofa cushions.  Then lie on your back and not on your side because your spine won’t be straight or supported.

What Should I Do to Avoid Hip and Back Pain?

Even if you have lower back pain or painful hips, it’s important to do some regular exercise. Exercise will keep the muscles strong. Strong muscles also support your joints and reduce the pressure on your hips and spine.

You need to improve your posture and stability. You can do this by strengthening your core and improving your flexibility. You can do this with exercises like Pilates which is a low-impact exercise. 

How Pilates Can Improve Your Core Strength

Pilates is beneficial because you will do exercises to strengthen the core muscles. This in turn will give you better posture, reduce or remove pain and enhance your flexibility. Pilates exercises are also designed to correct breathing and improve balance and coordination.

 You don’t even have to go outside your home to practice pilates. We have online classes that you can do from anywhere.

If you would like to find out more about our classes , or the online classes we provide, contact us at www.simonparkerpilates.com or email contact@simonparkerpilates.com