"Stop Slouching" - What is Bad Posture & How to Correct it!

Written by Kevin McVay


Our team of professional massage therapists are here to help - we understand the treatment and the condition.

Did you know that for every inch your head moves forward in posture, its weight on your neck and upper back muscles increases by 10 pounds? For example, a human head weighing 10 pounds held forward only 3 inches from the shoulders results in 40 pounds of pressure on the neck and upper back muscles. That’s the equivalent of 4 gallons of paint resting on your neck and back! 

Posture is essentially the position of the body in space, the relationship of the body parts; head, trunk, and limbs to each other.  We are all aware of faulty posture in the people we meet or members of our family and even within ourselves.

Maintaining the natural lumbar curve in your low back is essential to preventing posture-related back pain. This natural curve works as a shock absorber, helping to distribute weight along the length of your spine.  Adjusting postural distortions can help stop back pain. 

Due to the variety of body types, incorrect posture differs from person to person and is constantly changing. We commonly observe people with “poor” posture who are pain-free and other people with “good” posture who have pain. The type of activities performed by people varies widely, resulting in different stress demands on tissues of the body. There is no one ideal posture that exists for all people because tissues will adapt to meet the unique stress demands of each person. Injury occurs when tissues are unable to adapt to meet the demands of a given posture or task.

Poor posture can stem from many sources; one of the most significant sources deals with repetitive motion or bad habits without frequent breaks. A basic remedy to sitting all day is to simply get up and move! Frequently getting up from a seated position and doing some quick and easy realignment exercises  (see below) can help you reeducate your muscles from getting stuck in a hunched over cave man position.

The key to fixing poor posture is strengthening and stretching the muscles in the upper back, chest, and core. 

Symptoms of Bad Posture

  • Rounded shoulders.  
  • Potbelly. 
  • Bent knees when standing or walking.  
  • Head that either leans forward or backward.  
  • Back pain.  
  • Body aches and pains.  
  • Muscle fatigue.  
  • Headache.  

 

How can I improve my posture when standing?  

  • Stand up straight and tall.  
  • Keep your shoulders back.  
  • Pull your stomach in.  
  • Put your weight mostly on the balls of your feet.  
  • Keep your head level.  
  • Let your arms hang down naturally at your sides.  
  • Keep your feet about shoulder-width apart.

Corrective Exercises for Bad Posture

 Rows:
    • Can be done with band, weights or machine
    • If using a band, make sure it is secured to a door.  
    • Bend knees slightly with a long tall straight spine posture.
    • Keeping arms and hands under chest line, pull towards your body with hands finishing next to your ribs
    • Hold at finish for 2-3 seconds (squeezing shoulder blades together) and repeat 10-15 reps for 2-3 sets
 High Reverse Pull:
    • Can be done with band or cable machine
    • Hold band or cable slightly wider than shoulder width and just above your eyes with arms extended.  
    • Pull band wide and towards you with ending position being band across the top of the chest with elbows behind the back and slightly under shoulder height.
    • Hold across chest while squeezing shoulder blades together for 2-3 seconds and repeat 12-15 times for 2-3 sets

Corrective Stretches for Bad Posture

1.  Wall Angels:
    • Stand with your back against a flat wall with your feet about four inches from the base.  
    • Maintain a slight bend in your knees
    • Your glutes, spine and head should all be against the wall.  Bring your arms up with elbows bent so your upper arms are parallel to the floor and squeeze your shoulder blades together, forming a letter "W".  Hold for 3 seconds.
    • Next, straighten your elbows to raise your arms up to form the letter "Y".  Make sure not to shrug your shoulders to your ears.  Repeat 10 times, starting with "W", holding for 3 seconds and then raising your arms into a "Y"
    • Do 2-3 sets
2. Doorway Stretch:
    • This exercise loosens those tight chest muscles
    • Standing in a doorway, lift your arm so it's parallel to the floor and bend at the elbow so your fingers point toward the ceiling.  Place your hand on the doorjamb.
    • Slowly lean into your raised arm and push against the doorjamb for 7-10 seconds.  Relax the pressure and then press your arm against the doorjamb again, this time coming into a slight lunge with your legs so your chest moves forward past the doorjamb for 7-10 seconds.  
    • Repeat this stretch 2-3 times on each side.

3. Hip Flexor Stretch

Kneel onto your right knee with toes down, and place your left foot flat on the floor in front of you. 
Place both hands on your left thigh and press your hips forward until you feel a good stretch in the hip flexors. 
Contract your abdominals and slightly tilt your pelvis back while keeping your chin parallel to the floor.  
Hold this pose for 20-30 seconds, and then switch sides 
Repeat each side 2-3 sets

4. Chin Tuck
This exercise can be done sitting or standing.  
Start with your shoulders rolled back and down.  
While looking straight ahead, place tow fingers on you chin, slightly tuck you chin and move your head back.
Hold for 3-5 seconds and then release.  
Repeat 10 times
The more the double chin you create, the better the results

Tri-Covery Professionals 

Our team is dedicated to identifying each client's unique challenges and developing a treatment plan. Our team of highly credentialed therapists are well versed in not only Plantar Fasciitis but other pain based massage treatments.  Please contact our office today, or visit our online scheduling tool to start your personal treatment. 

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