Stand Up Proud!
I’m sure if you’ve already been in to see us at pea green you’ll have heard us preaching about being posture aware, opening up your chest and bringing your head back over those shoulders, although we sound like nags there is reasoning behind it……
Modern life habits generally encourage us to hold some of the muscles on the front (anterior aspect) of our bodies in a shortened position for prolonged periods of time. Many of us drive to work or commute via train or bus, once at work we sit at our desk earning our hard earned wages then drive or commute home, we get home sit at the dinner table then move to sit on the sofa to watch the next epic not to miss Series, go to bed and repeat the same actions at least 5 out of the 7 days of the week.
Although this is what life has come to expect of us, to be able to live and pay the bills, it is not brilliant for our bodies, many people will often experience back or neck pain and not understand why.
Just like people can be creatures of habit, so are our muscles, they will adapt, shorten or lengthen to the way they are being used, although this means that we are able to repeat and perform the same actions over and over again, it becomes a problem when muscles adapt too much and begin to pull the skeletal structure they are attached to out of alignment causing excess stress and load on the counter opposite muscles.
Take for example the shoulders, if for what ever reason a persons arms are being used for prolonged periods of time in a forwards position (i.e. Sitting at a desk using a computer mouse and keyboard) the pectoral muscles of the chest will adapt into a shortened position causing the shoulders to protract/round, this position then lengthens muscles on upper back and shoulders causing them to have to work in a lengthened position, meaning they will fatigue quicker and the person will experience upper back and shoulder ache or pain.
In addition, when you round (protract) your shoulders your head will also move forwards, creating what is commonly known as a head forward posture and According to Kapandji (physiology of the joints volume 111) for every inch your head moves forward it adds another 10 pounds of weight to it, adding that extra load to your neck extensor and upper back muscles.
This head forward posture also causes the base of skull (sub-occipital) muscles to remain in constant contraction, putting pressure on the three sub-occipital nerves and altering neck bone alignment, which can potentially cause headaches at the base of the skull and can also mimic sinus headaches in the frontal region of the head.
This could, possibly, be the beginning of a cascade of aches and pains! that with conscious awareness of your body position and a little movement could be prevented!
How can I prevent this?
So stand up proud, shoulders back bring your head back over your shoulders and remember to move every so often when you’re having to spend a long time in one position.
- Stretch out your chest muscles
- mobilise your upper back over a rolled towel or foam roller gently
- strengthen your upper back and posterior shoulder muscles
Watch a couple of our Pea Green Physio video’s with tips on how to improve your posture here …
What’s a Helium Balloon got to do with good posture?!
Oranges and the perfect head and neck posture … really?!
Workstation stretch for neck, shoulder or upper back pain
Scapular Setting, good shoulder positioning
DON’T BECOME A HUNCHBACK!
Blog by Caroline