It’s time to uncross your legs

You have probably heard that having the habit of sitting with your legs crossed for a prolonged period of time is not good for you. Not only does it affect the posture of your pelvis and your spine but it also interferes with proper blood circulation to your legs. You might have developed this habit at work but make sure you and your family are also aware of your postures at home.

Posture is a growing concern. It is not surprising, considering the way people use computers, cell phones and tablets, that more and more people are consulting us complaining of cervical, thoracic and lower-back pain.

Everyone needs to be reminded about their posture. Sitting with your legs crossed, working hunched over at your computer, driving for hours on end or sloughing on the couch may cause you to suffer needlessly.

When your legs are crossed for a long time, not only does it affect blood circulation but it can also create pressure on your nerves. The pressure of one leg sitting on top of the other impedes blood flow and it can cause compromised blood vessels to rupture which contributes to the worsening of varicose veins. When the nerves are affected, it can produce symptoms like tingling and numbness in your feet and also can create pain and discomfort.

Whenever you are sitting on one buttock with your legs crossed, you are unconsciously pushing your spine into compensation. Your pelvis is unlevelled, your lumbar spine adopts a lateral curve which is compensated in your middle spine and you end up with one shoulder higher than the other. Obviously your neck will have to tilt to one side so you can have your eyes levelled. That puts a lot of pressure on your muscles, tendons and ligaments and it drains your energy.

Many patients on their first visit report that it is impossible to stay in a correct posture without feeling pain. That indicates that something is wrong. Their concern with posture is that they are developing a hunchback posture and that they feel unlevelled when they walk. They often report that they feel like one leg is shorter than the other.

To avoid and reduce postural problems, and make sure your spine is moving properly and that it is flexible and adaptable, you should consult a chiropractor. If you have vertebral subluxations or blockages in your spine, it is more difficult to adapt to a proper posture.

Most people don’t know that there are solutions to correct bad posture and don’t realize the impact it has on their health and quality of life. Not only does it lead to chronic pains but also predisposes to arthrosis, which is a premature degeneration of the spine.

There are many things you can do on a daily basis to care for your posture. Here are a few tips that will help you and your family to adapt better postural habits.

■ Correct your posture by sitting up straight with your head well positioned with the opening to your ear centred over your shoulder.

■ While sitting, make sure you don’t consistently cross the knee over the other. Instead, put your chair at a proper height so you can have your feet flat on the floor. You can use a low foot stool to stretch out your legs or you can cross your legs at the ankle level. Often changing leg posture can help your circulation and wellbeing.

■ Try to keep moving while at work. If sedentary for the majority of the work day, it is very important to take periodic stretch breaks. Get up from the desk and take a brief walk, and stretch arms and legs as frequently as possible to avoid postural and spinal stress.

■ At home, when you sit on the couch, sit correctly and not with a leg under your buttock.

■ Sleep on your back or on your side with a pillow under your head and one under or between your knees.

Chiropractic care is proven to be effective in helping correct posture while reducing pain and preventing spinal degeneration. It helps the body to return to its natural homeostasis state. This is a great way to maintain your body full of vitality.

In all areas of your life, striving for proper posture can enhance your self confidence, your style and your health. Are you ready for a change?

By Sandra Genest-Boudreau | Christophe O. Alves
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Sandra Genest-Boudreau is French-Canadian, who graduated from the Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College in 1990 before coming to the Algarve in 2002. She is passionate about adjusting all her patients, particularly children. Christophe Alves graduated from the Anglo-European College of Chiropractic (AECC) UK, and has a special interest in Sport Chiropractic. Algarve Quiroprática clinic: EN125 in Pêra | 282 312 853 | 969 397 375