Happy New Year! We hope your rocking 2019 so far, and enjoying all the fresh starts and new beginnings.
This months newsletter we'll be diving in common postural faults and easy ways to correct them. We hope you enjoy them :)
Another year has come and gone and if your anything like me 2018 was full of massive growth and changes ALL around the board! This months newsletter is all about one of my favorite subjects which is; posture. I'll be diving into my top 3 postural dysfunctions and 3 simple exercise to help facilitate proper alignment. The trick with these is to stay consistent and make them a part of your wellness routine.
POSTURE, POSTURE, POSTURE......
Its something that's been ingrained into therapists, patients, and the general collective that we have to fix and put A LOT of effort into making these corrections. This is simply not the case in my opinion.
As a massage therapist I'm interacting with different bodies all day long and come across many different alignments within the human form. I tend not to try and "fix" anything but rather guide and direct the body towards a more functional holding pattern, this is done sometimes very subtly or in other cases with a bit more effort.
As a Manual Therapist I do believe posture is key, but like I mentioned above my approach tends to be a bit different. Here are my TOP 3 common postural misalignments and simple ways to correct them; If you have any discomfort with these exercises please ask your therapist to go over them with you and make any necessary adjustments.
Number 1 Anterior/Rounded Shoulders
This is by the far the most common postural issue I come across. Most of us are at desks all day and habitually slumped forward. This common postural concern places large amounts of tension on the thoracic spine, cervical spine, and places unnecessary tension within the abdominal cavity. My favorite correction for this postural fault are called " Wall Angels" and they look a little something like this .
Also, when working at your desk make sure BOTH feet are placed on the ground and that midback is touching the chair.
To begin stand up against a wall/or lay flat on the ground
.Place arms at 90 degrees with elbows bent. Make sure your back is flat up against the wall and core engaged to flatten that lower back.
Tuck the chin in and press your head firmly up against the wall. SLOWLY raise arms up the wall keeping your back as flat as possible until your arms are all the way up the wall.
Then again slowly lowering them down to the start position keeping everything tight and up against the wall. I would recommend doing these midway through the day and repeat 15-20 times! You will notice a huge difference!
Number 2 Anterior pelvic tilt/ Hyperlordosis
This is a fairly common postural concern and a relatively easy correction. We need to remember that these patterns have been ingrained into our bodies for years and it takes time to break the faulty patterns. This misalignment tends to happen in dancers, gymnasts, and yogis and is a common reason for lower back pain/tension.
Again up against a wall try to get entire back flat against the wall. Imagine you have a tail and try " tucking the tail" underneath you. Squeeze the glutes together and hold the position for 15-30 seconds repeating 5 times. The whole pelvis should be "tucked under" and the lowerback should be flat against the wall. I also tend to give bridge pose for patients with a hyperlordosis and recommend holding for 30 seconds repeat 5 times. Here's what a bridge pose should look like ideally; I've included a prop underneath the sacrum for modification if necessary.
Number 3 Head Forward Posture
The human head weights between 10lbs-11lbs and if carried anteriorly can load up the facet joints, intervertebral discs, and of course the muscles. With most of us looking at screens all day long, our chins tend to like to come forward and this can cause much neck and shoulder discomfort.
The best exercise to combat this dysfunction are called " chin tucks" and once again all that is required is a wall and some time. With everything pressed flat up against the wall and glutes squeezed, firmly push the back of the head up against the wall and tuck the chin in. Your trying to create a double chin :)
Holding the chin tuck and backward pressure for 30 seconds then releasing and repeating 3-5 times. This technique can be used to help alleviate headaches, muscle soreness, and general neck and shoulder pain.
Getting your body into a strong alignment will take some consistency and setting reminders/getting a regular routine is the best way to accomplish this. I tell clients to set aside 5-15 minutes every morning or afternoon.
Alright everyone, that's it for this month and thanks for reading. Next month we'll be diving into hydrotherapy and its benefits for the patient.