Let’s take a minute to think about what we do with our legs throughout the day. From the moment you wake up, you’re engaging your legs. Regardless of whether you sit or stand for the bulk of your day, your legs are an active participant in all of your activities. Did you know that how you position your legs could be the cause of your lower back pain?
From the classic one foot on the opposite knee, to standing with your toes pointed outwards, you could be causing lower back pain, along with hip and knee issues that could lead to further back pain. These types of positions are not natural and they place stress on the external rotator muscles of your hips. This stress can lead to tightness and compression on various nerves running around these muscles. Compression of these nerves can lead to discomfort, numbness, and pain, as well as increasing your risk of more serious injury. So, what are some things you can do to combat this?
Keep Your Hips Above Your Knees – When you’re sitting, take a moment to notice where your hips are in relation to your knees. Ideally, they should be situated slightly above your knee level, with your feet flat on the floor, toes facing forward. It may be hard to never cross your legs, especially if it is a longtime habit, but simply limit the amount of time that you do this. Your joints will appreciate it years later.
Perform Some Desk Yoga – No, you don’t have to crank the heat in your office up to 130 degress and perform any vinyasa flow, but there are some simple exercises you can perform at your desk to prevent tightness and compression from occurring. For example, perform a forward bend stretch. Sit towards the end of your chair with your feet on the floor, slightly wider than shoulder width. Then, drop your shoulders and lower your head to the floor so your shoulders are between your knees. This will help to take pressure away from the rear section of your spinal discs.
Stay Staggered – Perhaps you’re a person who spends most of your time on your feet. If this is you, then try to be cognizant of the positioning of your legs. When possible, try to stagger your stance, keeping one leg in front of the other. This combined with keeping a slight bend in your knees will help to alleviate pressure from building up throughout the day.
Of course back pain can come from a variety of sources, your leg positioning just happens to be one of them. However, it is simple enough to begin fixing immediately and as an added benefit, you’ll help limit the wear and tear on sensitive joints and muscles.