“Don’t Sit Up Straight,” Some Experts Are Advising
Almost from childhood, people are told to sit up straight. New research suggests it could be bad advice.
Researchers at Woodend Hospital in Aberdeen, Scotland, found that sitting upright with a straight back and thighs parallel to the floor increases the strain on lumbar discs in the lower back, a prescription for pain. Waseem Amir Bashir, M.B.Ch.B., F.R.C.R, author and clinical fellow in the Department of Radiology and Diagnostic Imaging at the University of Alberta Hospital in Canada, delivered the researchers’ findings at the November meeting of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA) in Chicago.
The RSNA press release said the newly-designed magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) machine the researchers used provides a full view of the back in sitting position. It’s a positional scanner, which means patients can be scanned seated or standing. Traditional scanners require patients to lie flat, a position that places different strains on the back and can mask causes of pain associated with varied movements or postures.
“A 135-degree body-thigh sitting posture was demonstrated to be the best biomechanical sitting position, as opposed to a 90-degree posture, which most people consider normal,” Dr. Bashir reported. The study indicates that less strain is placed on the spinal disks and associated muscles and tendons in a more relaxed sitting position. See Times of London Graphic.