Annals of Catastrophic Posture: lumbar hump edition

boy with lumbar hump and cat
Yes, it’s a great photo for Caturday, but the posture is painful


Our first impulse, of course, is to look at the cat. Way cute!

But let your eyes drift over to the boy, and things aren’t so good.

He sits so far back on his buttocks that his lumbar spine, instead of going in, goes out.

If you’re tempted to think: “he’s just a boy, he’ll stand up and be fine,” you’re partly right. Young spines are extremely malleable But if he keeps on sitting this way, eventually he won’t be fine.

He’ll look like this man in a Palo Alto Japanese restaurant. And that hump isn’t going to disappear when he stands up.

Man with reversed curve in lumbar spine
This reversed lumbar hump has been building for a long time.                                                                                Jean Couch photo

This is not the way human spines are supposed to look.

But sadly, the lumbar hump is becoming more and more common. My teacher, Jean Couch, who sent me this photo,  says, “I am taking photos like this everywhere. Above the hump, there’s a reverse curve in the upper back. The poor spinal cord is under so much pressure. ”

The fix is remarkably simple: sit as far forward on your pelvis as possible. If you’re sitting on your buttocks, then moving to your sitting bones is an improvement. If you sit on the back of your sitting bones, shift your weight to the front of your sitting bones.

But simple isn’t necessarily easy. And if you live in a culture that is blind to catastrophic posture, it’s that much harder. All of us need to educate our eyes. One place to start:  check out the other entries in the Annals of Catastrophic Posture? 

(I found the cat photo on Facebook. Where else? I’ve done a Google image search to try to find out who owns the copyright, but with no success. If this is your photo, I’d love to give you credit. Please get in touch.)