Physiotherapists can tell a lot about a person just by looking at them. We may not be mind readers, but we are rather disciplined when it comes to detecting potential weaknesses within a person’s musculoskeletal frame.
For example, if you spend time hunched over your desk or computer we might notice a curvature of the back and neck. Like to hold a phone between your shoulder and ear? One shoulder may drop lower than the opposing side. Have weak abdominal muscles? We could detect a slouch. Unfortunately, habit forming postures like these thus can cause trigger points or hyperirritable spots to form within the surrounding muscle which only lead to worsening posture. However, unless you are a dancer, does good posture matter?
The answer is yes as the side effects can cause problems like disc degeneration and osteoarthritis if you are not careful. Of course, there are some medical conditions that can cause poor posture such as scoliosis, however if you suspect weak muscles, may we suggest you try these solutions on for size.
1. Weak Tummy? Try Yoga
Research shows that yoga helps strengthen the core and lengthen the spine. Certain poses target your transabdominal and lumbar muscles which form a corset around your middle section Co-constriction of these muscles will have you standing strong and tall sooner than later.
2. Sore Neck
A sore neck can not only be detrimental to your posture but make it hard to drive a car, carry a child, and look at a computer screen. The good news, however, is preventing its onset simple. To relieve stiff muscles, tilt your chin to your chest and feel the stretch in the back of the neck. You can also tilt the head side to side and gently place your hand on your head for more stretch. We usually tell people if they are still experiencing pain after two weeks to check in with their primary physician to rule out any cervical trouble.
3. Upper Back Pain
The upper back is notorious for holding onto stress as the trapezius muscle which forms a shapely, “V,” can get riddled with knots. Unfortunately, when pain strikes here, it can also cause you hunch over. Massage can help, but if you are looking for immediate relief, we suggest placing a lacrosse or tennis ball against a wall and leaning into the tight spots. Another technique is to lie on the floor with the ball beneath your shoulder blade. Raise your arm over your head and bring it down across yourself. Repeat on both sides. Don’t have a suitable ball? Place your arm behind your back and tilt your head to the opposite shoulder and stretch.
4. Sway Back
Runners are particularly prone to a sway back due to tight hamstring muscles. That is why we recommend a good runner’s stretch to release tension. After you have completed sets on each side, lie flat on your back and rotate your knee/leg across your chest.
5. Work on your Form
In addition to lengthening and stretching exercises, your physiotherapist may also recommend a device that is useful for posture support. Posturemedic, which is available at many of our clinics, can be used as an exercise band or back stabilizing brace to ensure proper alignment and movements.
Overall, working on chronic posture constraints or muscle imbalance can help you fight chronic pain, especially as we age. Do you have questions? Book an appointment at a clinic near you.