Posture Fixes In Three Easy Steps
Posture fixes are necessary for most people who have neck and upper back pain and tension. Bad posture is hard to avoid. Smart phones, computers, lap tops, kindles and other electronic devices force us into unhealthy postures that stress the neck and upper back between the shoulders causing pain, stiffness and headaches. Chiropractic care helps most people to reduce the muscle tension that comes with postural stress but it also takes some work on the patient’s part to make lasting improvements. Patients that I treat for pain that originates from bad posture need to be proactive in their efforts to reduce their stress.
Pain Between The Shoulders | Quick Posture Fixes
In addition to chiropractic treatment, I usually give patients with bad posture three easy posture fixes that they can work on in their own time. In patients who have neck pain because of ongoing postural stress, these fixes are based on the typical muscular imbalances that are found in people with a “head forward” posture.
In order for us to maintain good posture our bodies need equal muscle tone between the front and back and side to side. Because we are usually leaning and reaching forward the muscles in our chests and the front of our necks are tight and shorter than they should be – meanwhile, these stresses stretch out the muscles that span our upper backs between our shoulder blades creating a “stretch weakness”.
- The first of my three posture fixes is awareness and correction. Fixing your posture begins with identifying the activities that promote poor posture and either limiting them or eliminating them. Regardless of the activity, try to keep your head up and your shoulders back while maintaining a slight forward facing curve in your lower back. Even if you have to correct your posture throughout your day it will become automatic at some point.
- The second of my three posture fixes is stretching the chest muscles. Because of the posture that we force ourselves into while using our electronic devices, our pectoral muscles tend to shorten. When the pecs shorten the shoulders roll forward creating that painful and unattractive “head forward” posture. A simple easy stretch for the pecs is the doorway or corner stretch. This stretch is performed by spanning your arms at shoulder level across the opening of a doorway and gently leaning your body forward to stretch your pecs. This stretch should be held for at least 30 seconds and it should not be painful. Do this stretch at least 3 or 4 times per day.
- The third of my three posture fixes is strengthening the muscles that are found between the shoulder blades. These muscles are constantly stretched by bad posture and as such are not capable of maintaining good posture unless they are strengthened. There are many exercises that can be used to strengthen these muscles but my favorite exercise is simple rows. When doing rows make sure to hold your head high and keep your shoulders even. Hold the contraction for a few seconds and try to pinch your shoulder blades together. Do three set of ten repetitions three times weekly. These exercises should not cause pain between the shoulders during or after your sessions.