Your Posture is your Problem…and your SolutionMar 01, 2022
We all have that grandparent that grabs your shoulders and says, “Stand up Straight!” every time they see you. We may groan, but we know they have the best intentions and they may even be correct!
Common issues we see at our practice are headaches, upper back pain, and shoulder pain. These aches and pains generally start as something small that is easily dismissed but end up sticking around longer than we would like. If this sounds like you, then you may be groaning again knowing that the voice in the back of your head was right about putting your shoulders in the right place.
Now for the GOOD NEWS! You can improve your posture! Taking control of this starts with understanding how we got here, so we can understand how to get better.
Even when we try to ‘sit up straight’ we aren’t able to stay long until we notice that we have returned to our ‘poor posture’. This usually appears as rounded shoulders and a forward shifted head as a result of a muscle imbalance. The front of the neck and the back of the shoulders are weaker than their counterparts.
Our posture is simply the result of this sort of ‘tug-of-war’ between sides and we need to make sure it’s a fair fight. A good start is making sure our shoulder blades are lightly pulled down and back, almost as if you are attempting to put them in your back pockets. You can then follow this up with making sure your ears are above your shoulders to help keep your neck in a neutral alignment.
A fantastic starter exercise to use is a Cervical Stability exercise. This works by bringing attention to neck musculature in the front of the neck that has probably been out-of- use for a while now. Getting the endurance back doesn’t take great strength, but it does take discipline to do them daily!
Another addition would be making your sure you’re giving the back, or posterior shoulder, the same amount of love, or more, than your chest muscles when hitting the gym. These posture muscles need to have high endurance, as they are aren’t holding much weight but they are working for a fairly long period of time.
The first step to implement here is an exercise we call “Cheerleaders”. This shifts gears from isometrics, tightening the muscles without moving, to slow and dynamic motions. With the variety of movements, the series attacks multiple areas including rhomboids, lower traps, and rotator cuff muscles that have been slacking over time.
This journey won’t be overnight, and it honestly doesn’t require major change. It’s small daily steps and building in little habits or cues to keep you on top of it! Whether it’s a reminder on your watch once-an-hour or having a friend to help keep you accountable, it’s something you deserve to achieve!
This starter package above is foundational. It isn’t the magic bullet to instantly curing posture issues, but it’s the start of what your body needs to work like a well-oiled machine again. With consistency, you will start noticing fewer headaches, less tightness in your upper shoulders, and maybe the ability to breathe a little better in your newfound position of power.
Whether you are a young athlete or an “older” individual who just discovered the absolute joy of pickleball, this will be useful to you. This quarantine got the best of all of us and now is the perfect time to take advantage and see what results you can get!
If you want to know more or need extra guidance, please reach out to us and let us know what you’ve got going on. This is our bread-and-butter and we would love to help tailor more tips to you.