Office chair options for pelvic health
So you have pelvic health struggles OR you are concerned about developing them and you want to know about pelvis-friendly office chairs??!
Check it out!
No one chair will work for everyone and most chairs will require some sort of modification and awareness on your part.
You see sitting isn’t bad, it’s that ALWAYS sitting the same way for long periods of time can be mechanically stressful and a receptive movement that causes problems.
Think about sitting in terms of reps.
If you sit one way all day long everyday, that’s THOUSANDS of “reps” you are doing.
Thousands of reinforcements to the nervous and musculoskeletal system to move and stay in this one position.
If we want to maintain health of our muscles and nerves to remain capable and balanced, we need to be moving our respective parts (including the pelvis ) through their FULL range of motion.
If we are spending a significant part of the day, sitting, we are going to lose range of motion and develop all sorts of unpleasant things like neck and shoulder pain, tight hip flexors, stressed or unresponsive pelvic floors, achy tailbones, lazy glutes and non-responsive feet.
All this is NO BUENO if you want to maintain the health of your pelvic floor, not to mention all the OTHER parts of your beautiful body!
But we do have to work.
We do have to spend time writing (like I am now) and we have to figure out ways to make these activities work for us and our capabilities.
And so let’s talk about office chairs!
If you have one or you are buying one, here are things to consider-
You don’t want to tuck or sit on your tailbone, so if that’s the case (and it is with most chairs), then a towel or a stress wedge can help prevent tucking.
Being a position where it’s easy to keep the ribs down and access the diaphragm and relax the belly when you breath is important so that we don’t get into that shallow-chest breathing (fight or flight inducing) breathing pattern. **If you can’t breath there, you can’t live there.- Gray Cook.
So find positions that are FAVORABLE for relaxing breathing, even if it requires modifying your current chair and most chairs will require some modifying.
If possible, have a stool as well as a chair and switch between those two. Stools give us a lot of freedom of movement and leg position. They also force us to build core strength. Shoulders DOWN and not back ribs down too are helpful cues for alignment and posture!
If you work at home, have multiple work station options. I stand, sit on the floor, sit on yoga bolsters, stools and chairs to vary my position, massage my pelvis.
If you don’t have that option, just keep in mind that sitting in any one position for long periods of time can create mechanical stress not just in the pelvis, but the whole body and the pelvic floor can negatively respond to that and cause greater symptoms.
Changing position, getting up and moving every 30-60 minutes is wise. If one has a private office and can do some rocks on the floor (https://vimeo.com/323328668), that can be helpful. If not just simply shifting around, walking getting up, doing a few squats or pelvic lists, can be a good option too!!
Even the BEST, most ergonomic chair that keeps you in a upright, neutral position is going to encourage you to STAY in that position, but guess what, you are still sitting and in one position, all day long! So whether it’s a cheap chair or a fancy one, there is no substitution for good ol’ movement.
In the same way that we want our workouts to involve a variety of movements and require us to move in multiples planes of motion in order keep us strong and balanced in all the ways, we want our daily moving habits (including sitting) to be varied and helpful for maintaining strength, stability and mobility of the whole body, ESPECIALLY if we have a history of pelvic health problems!
Remember, we want our pelvic floor to be able to move through it's range of motion in coordination with the diaphragm, relaxing on the inhale and slightly lifting on the exhale.
We don’t want to be in situations where we have to hold a lot of stress and tension in the pelvic floor, grip our abs, compromise our breathing or reduce the health of our hips thus FORCING the PF to do extra work.
We also don’t want to be in positions (like tailbone tucking) that encourage a shortening of the pelvic floor and therefore tailbone pain, constipation, etc.
It’s tempting to spend the money on a chair that does all the work for us, but the reality is that we have to cultivate the habit of NOT sitting in the same position for long periods of time. The pelvis needs movement. No chair can offer you that!
Sarah Smith is on a mission to help women conquer their pelvic health struggles and build STRENGTH and SKILLS!
She is a strength coach, RKC2 Kettlebell Instructor, Original Strength Pro Instructor, certified personal trainer, postnatal fitness specialist and pelvic floor and gut health advocate with a Masters in Soil and Agricultural Science.
Sarah works online and in Raleigh, North Carolina.
She is a Believer, wife to her best friend, Jeremiah, a mom to three boys and one English Bulldog.
She loves soil, coffee and not folding laundry.
Come follow her on Instagram or Facebook.