Posture, Posture, Posture.
Is your poor posture causing your shoulder/neck/back pain? Or are your niggles and un-balanced muscles causing your bad posture? Structure and function are deeply inter-related in our bodies and this concept is clearly visible when looking at posture. When your body is well aligned, your structures are stacked and make it easier for your muscles to work and maintain good posture.
But when you are carrying an injury, or you have poor muscle tone with some muscles overworking and some being lazy, problems develop: your body struggles to stay aligned and you start slouching. And it’s a downward spiral from there. Maintaining good posture becomes harder and harder and your poor posture habits accentuate even more your muscle imbalances, leading to more poor posture.
More than 80% of shoulder and neck pain is caused by years of muscle tension and causes of poor posture can include holding non-ideal positions during your job/sport, previous injuries, disease, poor muscle tone and emotional stress. To break the circle, you need to address the cause, is your desk position, sport or injury creating muscle imbalances that prevent your body from working optimally? Are you perpetuating these positions at your desk?
Just telling yourself to ‘sit straight’ is not going to help in the long term; it can actually make things worse because you are likely to overcorrect yourself, get too tense, and your body won’t be able to hold those for long enough, causing you to slouch and compromise even more once it gets tired.
We always tackle posture-related pain from two different sides: myofascial release sessions start with a postural assessment and target your overactive muscles to release tension, to allow the weak ones to start working again and build strength. These combined with rehabilitation sessions, will speed up your recovery.
But what about all those hours at your desk?
Start by sitting correctly: find your sitting bones by tilting your pelvis under your spine. You should sit straight on them as this will help maintaining your spine aligned and it will make it harder for your upper body to slouch.
Try these simple exercises for your upper body:
Put a timer on your phone and perform these regularly throughout the day. Start building an habit and your body will soon thank you!
In need of some more help? Click below to check out our new Mobility and Movement Series to break the stiffness and start moving better. Keep a look out for part 2 : Lower body stretches!