Relieve Soreness in the Lower Back by Correcting Pelvic Misalignment

A physical therapist identifies three harmful sitting postures and shares muscle-strengthening exercises to help maintain correct posture.Lower back pain is a common issue, primarily caused by improper sitting posture, which can result in pelvic misalignment. Pan Jiahao, a physical therapist at the Jing-Her Chinese Medicine Clinic in Taiwan, identifies three harmful sitting postures and shares muscle-strengthening exercises to help maintain correct posture.In traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), it is believed that prolonged improper muscle use can lead to skeletal misalignment or distortion. Before skeletal issues arise, various symptoms, such as lower back pain, shoulder pain, and neck pain, may occur.3 Harmful Sitting PosturesPoor sitting posture can result in anterior or posterior pelvic tilt. The body operates as a kinetic chain; engaging the wrong muscles while sitting can lead to inflammation and muscle soreness. Mr. Pan explained that a posterior pelvic tilt increases the load on the lumbar spine, potentially pushing the intervertebral discs backward over time. Similarly, an anterior pelvic tilt increases pressure on the lumbar spine, contributing to lower back pain.Mr. Pan outlined the three worst sitting postures as follows:Lying on the sofa: Postures that appear more relaxed tend to be more harmful. Sitting on a sofa often transitions into a comfortable lying position, resulting in a posterior pelvic tilt. This places significant strain on the lumbar spine for support, leading to lower back pain that can extend upward to the cervical spine.Resting feet on the wheels of a chair: Placing your feet on the wheels of a chair can lead to an unstable posture due to the feet’s tendency to slide, as the body instinctively seeks a comfortable point of support. Mr. Pan stated that this often results in poor posture, which can cause pain.Sitting on a high chair: Sitting on a high chair, where your feet cannot touch the floor, or you have to strain to reach the floor, can increase the risk of anterior pelvic tilt.Many people like to cross their legs while sitting. Mr. Pan explained that when sitting correctly with both feet flat on the floor, the pelvis is evenly stressed on both sides. However, crossing the legs can cause uneven pressure on the pelvis, accompanied by tension on the hip joints. This can lead not only to scoliosis and disc herniation but also to increased pressure on the knees, elevating the risk of degenerative arthritis. Improper engagement of the pelvic muscles can also cause excessive tension in the piriformis muscle, contributing to piriformis syndrome.The best way to address poor sitting posture is to interrupt prolonged periods of incorrect sitting. This involves readjusting to the correct posture every 30 to 40 minutes or changing positions to prevent overuse of the same muscle group. Additionally, strengthening the muscles required for correct sitting posture is essential. According to Mr. Pan, the key muscles for maintaining proper posture are the transversus abdominis and the iliopsoas.Key Muscles for Maintaining Proper Sitting PostureThe transversus abdominis is a deep muscle in the waist that acts like a waist guard to stabilize the lumbar spine during daily activities and exercise. The iliopsoas, composed of the psoas major, psoas minor, and iliacus, is the body’s strongest and most important muscle connecting the trunk to the lower limbs. It plays a vital role in controlling the stability and movement of the hip joint and lumbar spine. Activities such as walking, running, and leg lifting require the iliopsoas muscles to work together.The iliopsoas muscle originates from the transverse processes of the lumbar vertebrae and the 12th thoracic vertebra, passing through the pelvis and attaching to the lesser trochanter of the femur. Therefore, the tighter this muscle becomes, the more likely it is to cause anterior pelvic tilt, resulting in excessive pressure on the lumbar vertebrae. Mr. Pan also noted that women who frequently wear high heels are prone to anterior pelvic tilt.Mr. Pan shared two home exercises for improving sitting posture.Exercise 1: Abdominal BreathingStep 1: Lie flat with knees bent and feet flat on the ground. Place one hand on your abdomen and the other on your chest. While inhaling, focus on expanding your abdomen more than your chest. Try to engage your abdomen for both inhalation and exhalation.Related StoriesStep 2: As you exhale halfway, engage the lower abdominal muscles by pulling them inward, contracting the transversus abdominis. Be mindful not to pull in your ribcage; your technique may be incorrect if you sense movement in your ribs.Muscle training for maintaining correct posture: abdominal breathing. (The Epoch Times)While performing the exercise, breathe slowly and avoid holding your breath. Mr. Pan suggests prioritizing correct posture over speed to engage the transversus abdominis effectively. For those with a fitness background, it is recommended

Relieve Soreness in the Lower Back by Correcting Pelvic Misalignment

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A physical therapist identifies three harmful sitting postures and shares muscle-strengthening exercises to help maintain correct posture.

Lower back pain is a common issue, primarily caused by improper sitting posture, which can result in pelvic misalignment. Pan Jiahao, a physical therapist at the Jing-Her Chinese Medicine Clinic in Taiwan, identifies three harmful sitting postures and shares muscle-strengthening exercises to help maintain correct posture.

In traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), it is believed that prolonged improper muscle use can lead to skeletal misalignment or distortion. Before skeletal issues arise, various symptoms, such as lower back pain, shoulder pain, and neck pain, may occur.

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3 Harmful Sitting Postures

Poor sitting posture can result in anterior or posterior pelvic tilt. The body operates as a kinetic chain; engaging the wrong muscles while sitting can lead to inflammation and muscle soreness. Mr. Pan explained that a posterior pelvic tilt increases the load on the lumbar spine, potentially pushing the intervertebral discs backward over time. Similarly, an anterior pelvic tilt increases pressure on the lumbar spine, contributing to lower back pain.
Mr. Pan outlined the three worst sitting postures as follows:
  1. Lying on the sofa: Postures that appear more relaxed tend to be more harmful. Sitting on a sofa often transitions into a comfortable lying position, resulting in a posterior pelvic tilt. This places significant strain on the lumbar spine for support, leading to lower back pain that can extend upward to the cervical spine.
  2. Resting feet on the wheels of a chair: Placing your feet on the wheels of a chair can lead to an unstable posture due to the feet’s tendency to slide, as the body instinctively seeks a comfortable point of support. Mr. Pan stated that this often results in poor posture, which can cause pain.
  3. Sitting on a high chair: Sitting on a high chair, where your feet cannot touch the floor, or you have to strain to reach the floor, can increase the risk of anterior pelvic tilt.
Many people like to cross their legs while sitting. Mr. Pan explained that when sitting correctly with both feet flat on the floor, the pelvis is evenly stressed on both sides. However, crossing the legs can cause uneven pressure on the pelvis, accompanied by tension on the hip joints. This can lead not only to scoliosis and disc herniation but also to increased pressure on the knees, elevating the risk of degenerative arthritis. Improper engagement of the pelvic muscles can also cause excessive tension in the piriformis muscle, contributing to piriformis syndrome.

The best way to address poor sitting posture is to interrupt prolonged periods of incorrect sitting. This involves readjusting to the correct posture every 30 to 40 minutes or changing positions to prevent overuse of the same muscle group. Additionally, strengthening the muscles required for correct sitting posture is essential. According to Mr. Pan, the key muscles for maintaining proper posture are the transversus abdominis and the iliopsoas.

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Key Muscles for Maintaining Proper Sitting Posture

The transversus abdominis is a deep muscle in the waist that acts like a waist guard to stabilize the lumbar spine during daily activities and exercise. The iliopsoas, composed of the psoas major, psoas minor, and iliacus, is the body’s strongest and most important muscle connecting the trunk to the lower limbs. It plays a vital role in controlling the stability and movement of the hip joint and lumbar spine. Activities such as walking, running, and leg lifting require the iliopsoas muscles to work together.

The iliopsoas muscle originates from the transverse processes of the lumbar vertebrae and the 12th thoracic vertebra, passing through the pelvis and attaching to the lesser trochanter of the femur. Therefore, the tighter this muscle becomes, the more likely it is to cause anterior pelvic tilt, resulting in excessive pressure on the lumbar vertebrae. Mr. Pan also noted that women who frequently wear high heels are prone to anterior pelvic tilt.

Mr. Pan shared two home exercises for improving sitting posture.

Exercise 1: Abdominal Breathing

Step 1: Lie flat with knees bent and feet flat on the ground. Place one hand on your abdomen and the other on your chest. While inhaling, focus on expanding your abdomen more than your chest. Try to engage your abdomen for both inhalation and exhalation.

Step 2: As you exhale halfway, engage the lower abdominal muscles by pulling them inward, contracting the transversus abdominis. Be mindful not to pull in your ribcage; your technique may be incorrect if you sense movement in your ribs.

Muscle training for maintaining correct posture: abdominal breathing. (The Epoch Times)
Muscle training for maintaining correct posture: abdominal breathing. (The Epoch Times)

While performing the exercise, breathe slowly and avoid holding your breath. Mr. Pan suggests prioritizing correct posture over speed to engage the transversus abdominis effectively. For those with a fitness background, it is recommended to incorporate transversus abdominis activation into all core-related exercises.

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Exercise 2: Iliopsoas Muscle Strengthening

Step 1: Lie flat with your legs extended. Bend your right knee and lift it toward your body as much as you can, aiming to tilt the pelvis backward slightly.

Step 2: Lower your right leg to a position where your thigh is perpendicular to your torso and your knee forms a 90-degree angle. While doing this, ensure that your lower leg and thigh remain aligned without rotating inward or outward. Hold this position for 10 seconds.

Step 3: Slowly lower your right leg to the ground, keeping a 90-degree angle at the knee without swinging. You should feel the engagement of the iliopsoas muscle as you lower the leg. Repeat steps 1 to 3 on the left side.

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Muscle training for maintaining correct posture: iliopsoas muscle strengthening. (The Epoch Times)
Muscle training for maintaining correct posture: iliopsoas muscle strengthening. (The Epoch Times)

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Mr. Pan noted that beginners may notice a slight arching of the lower back while lowering the leg, which is normal. As the strength of the iliopsoas muscle improves, the degree of this arching will gradually decrease.

Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times. Epoch Health welcomes professional discussion and friendly debate. To submit an opinion piece, please follow these guidelines and submit through our form here.
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