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Is Where You Sit Hurting Your Pelvic Bone?
If your job requires you to sit in a chair for long hours every day, you’ve probably grown accustomed to pain in your pelvic area. Most people ignore this pain and chalk it up to regular soreness from long hours in an uncomfortable chair. However, pain in your pelvic area could be a bit more serious than just soreness.
If you’ve ever felt pelvic discomfort, learning about your pelvic anatomy can help you understand the causes and how to prevent it in the future.
Your pelvis is the entire area between your belly button and thighs. The bones that make up your pelvic area are commonly known as the bony pelvis. The bony pelvis is a complex, basin-shaped structure, and it provides the framework of the pelvis region. Within that framework, your pelvis organs are held.
The bony pelvis is usually divided into two separate anatomic regions. The first is the pelvic girdle, also known as the hip bone. The pelvic girdle is composed of three bones fused together: the ilium, ischium, and the pubic bone. The second region is the pelvis spine, which is the posterior portion of your pelvis. It is located beneath the lumbar spine and is composed of the sacrum and coccyx.
Your pelvis plays a variety of important roles when it comes to the way your body moves and functions. The pelvis carries the entire weight of your lower body, offers you stability, and is crucial to performing everyday actions like standing, sitting, and walking. The bony pelvis also houses and protects several important internal organs, such as the reproductive organs.
The health of your pelvic bones is so important to your movement, posture, and overall health - you can’t walk without it. It’s important to address pelvic pain when it happens and take preventative action to keep your pelvic bones strong and healthy.
What Causes Pelvic Pain?
It is common to get pain in your pelvis, and while some causes of pelvic pain are normal and harmless, persistent pain can sometimes be a sign of something more serious. Your pelvic region houses a variety of bones and internal organs, so it can be difficult to pin down what is actually causing the pain. Common causes of pelvic pain can include urinary tract infections, hernias, or appendicitis. If you notice signs of any of these things, contact your doctor immediately.
However, some pelvic pain is not caused by any issues within the body but, rather, is caused by external factors. If you notice pain in your buttocks after sitting for a long time, this could be a problem related to the tuberosity in your pelvis. Tuberosity is also referred to as your sit bones or seat bones because it absorbs your weight when you sit.
The ischial tuberosity is a rounded bone that extends from the ischium, which is part of your pelvic girdle. Your gluteus maximus muscle covers the ischial tuberosity when your leg is straight and your thigh is extended. However, when your leg is bent and your thigh is flexed, the gluteus maximus moves, and the ischial tuberosity is uncovered. When sitting, you don’t have the large gluteus maximus muscle for extra cushioning.
Because your gluteus maximus doesn’t provide a buffer between your ischial tuberosity and hard surfaces while you’re in a seated position, sitting in an uncomfortable chair for too long can cause inflammation in your ischial bursa, a fluid-filled sac located between your ischial tuberosity and the tendons that connect the hamstring muscle to the bone.
Extensive pressure on your ischial bursa can cause inflammation and can lead to a painful condition called ischial bursitis. Bursas act as a cushion between tendons and bones in joints. There are a variety of bursas in different areas of the body, and they can be found in your knees, hips, elbows, and shoulders. Too much pressure on any of these areas can lead to bursitis.
Sometimes, bursitis can be caused by repetitive motion. For example, a baseball pitcher might get bursitis in the elbow or shoulder of their pitching arm. In other cases, leaning on or pressing against a joint can irritate a bursa. Sitting on a hard surface or an uncomfortable chair for an extended period of time can lead to ischial bursitis.
Symptoms of ischial bursitis can include aching or stiffness in the pelvis, pain when seated, trouble sleeping on the affected side, and redness or swelling around the bursa. While bursitis can often be resolved with rest, there are some ways to help relieve pain and speed up the healing process.
How To Relieve Ischial Bursitis Pain
As previously mentioned, bursitis usually goes away on its own with rest. However, ischial bursitis specifically may be difficult to relieve, as it’s nearly impossible to avoid sitting in your everyday life, especially if you have a job that requires you to work at a desk. There are a variety of things you can do, however, to speed up the healing process and relieve some of your pelvic pain.
Like most medical conditions, pain from ischial bursitis can be managed with medication. Always consult your doctor before taking any sort of medication. Over-the-counter pain relievers, such as acetaminophen (also known as Tylenol), or a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug, such as naproxen (Aleve) or ibuprofen (Advil), can often help relieve pain. If pain persists, ask your doctor about getting a corticosteroid injection into the area. This has been shown to reduce bursa inflammation and may help relieve some of your pain.
Stretching your hamstrings is a great way to help relieve pressure on the ischial bursa. You may choose to consult with a physical therapist, or you might just want to try out a few stretches at home to see if they help with your pain.
The first stretch that may help is called the gluteus stretch. To perform it, lie stretched out on your back. Place a cushion beneath your head for support. Bend one knee, and wrap both hands around it. Begin slowly pulling your knee towards your chest, and hold the position for five to ten seconds. Slowly straighten your leg, and repeat on the other side. Do this five to ten more times.
Another great stretch for relieving ischial bursitis pain is the piriformis stretch. To do this, sit on the floor with both legs straight. Cross one leg over the other, with your foot along the knee. Using your opposite hand, gently pull your bent knee across the middle of your body. Hold the stretch for anywhere from 10 to 30 seconds. You should really feel this working in the muscles of your outer thigh. Repeat on the other leg.
Hip extensions can also be a great stretch to strengthen the lower back and buttocks, which may relieve pain. Begin on all fours with your knees aligned under your hips and your hands under your shoulders. At the same time, stretch your left arm out in front of you and your right leg behind you. Slowly raise them up until they are in line with your back. Hold the position for two seconds, then switch to the other side. Repeat five times on both sides.
With most types of bursitis, it is advised to rest as much as possible. But because ischial bursitis is often caused by too much pressure from resting on uncomfortable surfaces, pain can often be relieved with some gentle movement. This can help strengthen your muscles and improve your flexibility.
Simple things like walking around the house or climbing the stairs may help relieve ischial bursitis pain. However, make sure to stay close to a hand-rail or a chair, in case your pain causes you to lose balance.
A New Chair
While you should try to avoid sitting as much as possible while your bursitis heals, investing in a new office chair may help prevent the pain from coming back. Regular office chairs often don’t provide proper support, and can lead to pain and inflammation, as well as poor posture and decreased flexibility.
Chairs like the all33 Backstrong C1 are designed to cushion and support the body. This chair supports ideal posture and flexibility, better blood flow, increased oxygen flow to muscles, and relief from neck and shoulder strain. It employs Sit In Motion technology that moves with you to allow natural movement of the pelvis and back. This helps to stimulate circulation, improve flexibility, and relieve pressure on your pelvic area.
Your pelvic bones are so important to the way your body functions. Not only do they support your entire lower body and make actions like sitting, standing, and walking possible, the bony pelvis also houses a variety of important internal organs. Making sure to protect your pelvic bones is vital to your health, mobility, and overall well-being.
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