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Hip and Spine Positioning

Graphic showing proper hip and spine placement while sitting. This image appears in Neumann DA; Kinesiology of Musculoskeletal System; Foundations of Physical Rehabilitation. St. Louis, Mosby, 2002.
  • When sitting the hips can rotate forwards or backwards:
    • When hips rotate forward this is called anterior tilt
    • When hips rotate backwards it is called posterior tilt
  1. Problems from Anterior Tilt:
    • Hips rotate forward causing lengthened hip flexors and shortened lumbar extensors (Figure A)
    • After long term exposure to this positioning the muscles will adjust to these improper lengths.
    • Figure C shows how this position increases force on back side of intervertebral discs, which may cause it to bulge forwards. This could potentially lead to a herniated disc.
  2. Problems from Posterior Tilt:
    • Hips rotate backward causing lengthened hip and lumbar extensors along with shortened hip flexors and abdominals.
    • After long term exposure to this positioning the muscles will adjust to these improper lengths.
    • Figure D shows how this position increases forces on the front side of intervertebral discs, causing it to bulge backwards. This could potentially lead to a herniated disc.
Graphic: Vertebral Colum Reflexology Chart

Proper positioning

  • The Spine is not supposed to be perfectly straight, instead it should have the curves seen in the figure below.
  • The spine is made to allow for some movement between each disc but when it is exposed to excessive force or long tem pressure problems can arise.
  • Make sure to keep these natural curves so that the force on the discs are evenly distributed.
  • To do this be sure not to slouch or over extend when working.