Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Why the hip joint matters when sitting

It helps to know where your hip joints are – in order to sit well and avoid pain.

How a fellow traveller described his problem

In Vietnam, a traveller we met talked about recurrent pain in his lower back. He attributed this to years of training for competitive snow-boarding – a sport in which one leg is consistently placed in front of the other on the narrow board. His muscular development around the pelvis was consequently distorted.

What I saw

He and I were together only briefly– we shared a meal together.
I was struck by how he sat. His lower back was rounded, and it was as though his legs were about to fall off the front of the chair – the typical slouch of the teenager.
In anatomical terms, his pelvis was tilted acutely forward - taking the hip joints with it. This position was placing enormous strain on his lower back muscles, and over time this would have repercussions for the entire muscular-skeletal system.

My tentative suggestion

I pointed to where his hip joints really are - closer to the bottom of the pelvis than to the crest, and about a hand-width apart.
Then, with a gentle hand on his back, I asked him to try pivoting forward and back from these joints. He could do this quite easily, especially if he thought of leading the movement with the head.
I believe that he learnt something important from our few minutes of conversation.


This blog is about the usefulness of body mapping and applying the principles of Alexander Technique. Alexander teachers are not trained to diagnose or cure medical conditions.

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