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Do you sit with your legs crossed? Beware of back and knee pain

  • Added: 07.08.2019   |   15881 readings / views

We develop many bad habits in our lifetime. One of the most common bad habits of (not only) women is sitting cross legged. Few people know that this can lead to problems not just with the legs but also the back. How does this happen? This is discussed in the following article.

Sometimes it’s unavoidable 

If you wear skirts or dresses, you can hardly sit in public with your legs apart. That’s when siting cross legged is okay. Some people even regard it as the proper thing to do. However, if you are sitting at your desk or at home, sitting like this is definitely unnecessary. All you need to do is think about it and not be tempted by the force of habit. This bad habit can lead to serious health complications in certain situations.

What happens when you sit cross legged? 

Sitting with one leg over the other shortens the muscles of the inner thighs and groin. When you stand up, your legs will tend to twist into an X-shape. Your buttocks also weaken, and other muscles take over, which can overstrain your lumbar muscles and cause back pain.

What are the possible consequences?

As your thigh bone turns inwards, your tibia outwards, and your foot in again, your knees, especially their inner part, may suffer. Overstressing can stretch the ligaments in the knee or even break the meniscus. By overstressing the lumbar muscles, as mentioned above, not only are you sowing the seeds for back pain but also for a crooked spine and overall poor posture.

Health complications can then build up. Poor posture may lead to flat feet or heel spurs. Then you will have to deal with both the consequences and overall cause.

How to put a stop to it

First, you will need to start working on your habits and learn correct posture and how to sit.  The correct way to sit is discussed below. Apart from this, you can focus on strengthening  your deep stabilization system (DSS), which includes the core muscles that many of you are certainly familiar with. These are the muscles that support correct posture. For a better idea, this involves exercises such as planks or pelvic floor exercises. You can help with deep breathing, which you can do at work or at home.

How to sit properly 

We don’t simply want to ban you from sitting with your legs crossed. That’s not what we want at all. Just remember that sitting a few hours a day with your leg over the other is a guaranteed path towards health problems.

What is the correct sitting position? If you have a sedentary job, you must surely have thought about it from time to time. Ideally, you should sit upright and keep your spine in its natural shape. Correct head position is also important. The position of computer screens especially affects this. Screens should be at eye level. You should have your feet side by side at right angles and the soles flat on the floor.

One of the things Dr Brügger studied was sitting using the three cogs model.

However, if you plan to sit in the same position for several hours, then this is also not right. Ideally, you should alternate positions. It doesn’t matter if you sit hunched for a while or with your legs crossed. You can also sit on a ball for a while or do yourself a favour with an orthopaedic chair. However, it is important to balance sitting positions so that incorrect positions are only a small percentage.

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