Many of my blog posts make postural suggestions. Often pain is the physical result of abnormal spinal postures. So what is abnormal posture? When I refer to abnormal posture I am talking about any chronic position that puts undue stress on your spine or muscles. In the clinic the most common postural abnormality that I see is a hyperflexed or a forward bent mid back. The problem with this posture is that a forward head position goes with this mid back posture. The bottom line is that abnormal posture overuses your muscles and put you in sub-optimal positions. The great news is that you can make improvement in your posture. Even the most irregular postures can improve with strengthening and stretching.
A great place to start is to do activities that decrease forward bent postures in the mid back. Some of the activities that I prefer include:
1: Shoulder blade squeezes: To perform this exercise you simply pull you shoulder blades together as if you were squeezing a can between your blades.
2: Pec stretching: This stretch is for the tight muscle on the front of the shoulder and chest that can pull your mid-back forward. The easiest way to do this stretch is find a doorway and put your elbows on each side and simply lean forward gently.
3: Postural awareness: Just simply sitting up tall and attempting to lengthen your spine is an excellent way to get out of your forward slumping posture.
The great news is that you can make changes in your posture and as a result you can change your pain. The activities that I described are a great starting point but for most people it is simply a start. To truely change your spinal mobility it may take more activities or manual therapy. At Siskiyou PT we successfully treat patients with all different types of postural issues. It would be our pleasure to help you with the problems I’ve mentioned or any others.
Jon Hill, DPT, Licensed Physical Therapist with Siskiyou Physical Therapy
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