Does sitting on the ground make your hip or lower back pain worse?
Do you have trouble getting back up everytime you go on the floor to stretch or exercise?
Sometimes even going to the beach or sitting outdoors and have a picnic can feel like a hard thing to do.
It’s not easy to find a comfortable sitting posture. And if we’re not careful, it can quickly trigger a flare-up.
If any of these things resonate with you, you’re in the right place… Below I have 8 tips that’ll help you avoid flare-ups and pain whether you just want to be able to sit on the ground and have a nice picnic pain-free…
…Or if you have trouble getting on the ground to exercise or stretch.
I wanted to write about this specific topic because I remember one time, I decided to get down on the floor to do a few stretches to help ease my lower back pain. The stretches didn’t help so I decided to just move my way up. And that’s when I was stuck on the floor for over an hour.
I couldn’t get back up. The pain was excruciating. I felt like my nerves were being pulled up.
I was alone at home. And at that moment, I felt I couldn’t trust my body anymore.
Every time I went down to sit on the floor for any reason, I had fear in the back of my mind… I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to get back up.
When you live with an invisible debilitating pain, everything feels like a burden. You just feel like you can’t live normally somedays. So I know that a nice thing like going out on a picnic, or simply sitting on the grass or on the ground somewhere may be hard to do.
I wanted to write this post to share my experience, and tips that’ll hopefully help you.
There are so many tricks and tactics that I learned throughout the 7 years dealing with piriformis syndrome, sciatica, a herniated disc, and spinal arthritis. I’m sure if these things helped me, that they can help you too.
And hopefully, you can enjoy sitting on the grass during the spring and summertime and not have to worry about making the pain worse. Let’s get started.
8 Tips To Sit On The Ground Without Hip Or Lower Back Pain
Always Use A Wall Or A Tall Structure
Whenever you want to sit on the floor or the ground anywhere, make sure you’re close to a wall or a solid tall structure you can rest your back on. If you’re outside, find a tree to lean on. When you’re also doing your stretches and exercises, be close to the wall.
You never know when you’ll need some support to help you get back up. I also really like to sit with my back leaning on a wall and keeping my legs straight and joints aligned.
You can place a think pillow underneath your laptop and even do some work on the floor. Also, to make this even more comfortable, sit on a thick yoga mat.
Keep Your Knees Low (Not Above Your Hips)
If you’re sitting outside on the grass or indoors on the floor, avoid flexing your body and elevating your knees above your hips. Because this leads to rounding of the back and shoudlers.
This ‘C’ position leads to lower back tension and hip tightness.
Make sure to keep your legs straight as demonstrated earlier, or you can also use a cushion or a pillow to elevate your hips and keep your knees below your hips.
Use A Cushion
Sitting on a pillow or cushion will help you maintain a neutral spine and stabilize your lower back. It’ll also provide more stability and support for your pelvis.
If sitting on hard surfaces is an issue…this is a very good cushion I used for years. I took it with me everywhere and it’s very nice and helps you stay upright while also sitting comfortably. You can place it on top of a pillow or a cushion as well.
Change Positions Every 20 Minutes
Whether you’re standing or sitting, make sure you move your body as much as possible. You want to avoid any muscular tightness or stiffness. You can achieve this by maintaining movement every 15 to 20 minutes.
You can get up and move around. If you can’t get up, just move your legs and rotate your hips to each side. Moving your hips will keep them mobile and avoid stiffness and muscular tightness.
Rest Your Arms
When you’re sitting on the floor, a great way to help take the load off your back is by resting your elbows on a table or a chair close to you.
The goal is to avoid compressing the intervertebral discs especially if sitting triggers pain.
Avoid Twisting At The Hips When Sitting
This rule applies whether you’re sitting or standing. Always use your feet to twist or rotate. Don’t twist at the hips as this can exacerbate any disc damage that’s already present. You want to always protect your spine so it can heal and recover.
When you’re sitting down on the ground, make sure you’re moving your full body when you need to twist. Don’t just twist from your waist.
When you’re not working on adding stability and support to your spine, don’t make things worse by engaging in flawed movement patterns. I cover this in detail inside my program the Back Pain Bootcamp.
Avoid Rounding Your Back
It’s easy to start rounding the back when you’re sitting down. We covered tips on how to avoid that above, like using a wall or a tall structure such as a tree for example. In addition, when standing up, use your legs and lunge your way up.
Lunging up will help you maintain a neutral spine from the sitting position all the way up.
Just use your glutes to push your hips up and get on your knees. Then put your foot forward and push through your foot to stand up. When you want to get back down. Do the same thing…
… Lunge down, then put both of your knees on the floor. From there you can bend your knees to sit.
Avoid Chairs That Promote The ‘C’ Posture
If you’re planning an outdoor activity like a picnic, you may bring a chair with you. Just make sure to avoid sitting on any chairs that promote the ‘C’ or ‘cashew’ posture. These chairs will put you in a flexed posture, putting a lot of tension in your lower back and hips.
Being able to get up from these chairs without further rounding your back and putting tension in your knees is very hard.
Sitting here for a prolonged period of time may trigger a flare-up or make the existing pain worse. Make sure to only sit on chairs that will keep your back neutral and your hips-knees-ankles at a 90-degree angle.
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