Posted tagged ‘posture’

4 Best Exercises for Improved Posture

May 3, 2019

Let’s face it. Good posture isn’t exactly a high priority for many Americans. Like most things related to our health and wellness, we don’t notice it until it’s gone.

Most of us live in a sitting culture—we sit at work, we sit at school, and we sit at home. The hard truth is that most of us sit too much and sit incorrectly. Beyond this, our love affair with mobile devices is amplifying the post problem by encouraging us to bend over, hunch our shoulders and crane our necks to look at small screens. Given our lifestyle choices, poor posture may seem almost inevitable. But it doesn’t have to be that way. For anyone with a bit of mobility, motivation and time, there are exercises you can do to improve poor posture. Here are four of the best types of exercises to help you improve your posture.

1. Exercises to Strengthen Your Core
A strong core is essential for good posture. Your core includes your abdominals, lower back, obliques, and hips. Strong core muscles don’t just give you an attractive “six-pack” to show off at the beach. In fact, they help hold your body up straight, improve your balance, and provide you with greater muscle control and efficiency. They’re also critical to maintaining back health and provide some measure of protection against injury. When your core muscles aren’t strong, other muscles have to compensate, which results in reduced mobility as well as weakness and even pain. So, to help avoid or reduce low back pain, try regular core training. Some core training exercises include basic crunches (but not full sit-ups), side planks, crunches with a twist, standing side bends, and plank holds. Doing Pilates is another great way to work out your core muscles, as are back extensions and slow swimming.

2. Exercises to Correct Your Rounded Shoulders
Because so many people spend their day hunched over while driving, sitting at a desk while working, using a laptop, or even watching television, rounded shoulders are extremely common—but they are in fact a postural abnormality. When you spend a lot of time in these forward-reaching positions, the muscles in your chest, shoulders, and hips become shortened and tight, and at the same time, your upper and middle back muscles lose strength. In order to help avoid and ease rounded shoulders, you can do exercises that strengthen the weak upper back muscles and stretch the tight muscles in the chest, shoulders, lats, and hips. As the upper back becomes stronger and the chest becomes more flexible, the shoulders naturally pull back, which improves your posture significantly. You can strengthen the upper back with exercises such as reverse dumbbell flys as well as rows with a resistance band, while you can stretch your tight muscles by doing standing chest stretches, torso stretches, and standing quad stretches.

relax your back

3. Exercises to Neutralize Your Tilted Hips
Hips should be neutral and level when viewed from the side—however, some people have postural abnormalities stemming from their hips’ tendency to slant forward. This is called the anterior pelvic tilt, and it negatively affects posture. Lordosis (also known as “swayback”) is a common indication of this tilt. Seen very often in people who sit for hours every day with their legs bent, this abnormality is caused by weakness in the hamstrings, glutes, and abs as well as tightness in the hip flexors and thighs. Exercises to correct this tilt include the core exercises mentioned above as well as bridges, leg curls with a ball, and single leg hamstring flexions with a ball. Exercises that stretch tight hip and quad muscles include standing quad stretches and kneeling quad and hip stretches.

4. Exercises to Retract a Forward Head
Unfortunately, you can easily develop poor posture by tilting your head forward for hours every day. This happens when you drive, when you use a laptop or tablet, or when you watch television. When you fail to retract your head while performing everyday tasks, this tightens the front and side neck muscles and weakens the deep and rear muscles of the neck. The muscles at the front of your neck have to be strong enough to hold your head directly above—not forward of—the shoulders. Not only does this abnormality contribute to poor posture, but it also causes chronic neck pain. In order to retract a forward head, elongate the back of your neck by gently pulling your chin straight in. The highest point of your body should be the top back of your head. This works against the penchant to slip into a forward head posture. You can also work on this issue while driving: practice pulling your chin in and pushing your head into the headrest behind you for a few seconds at a time, then releasing. If you have a high-backed chair that you sit in at work, you can do this at your desk as well.

Contact Dr. Nicholas Carlisle – Atlanta Chiropractor at (404) 264-9553 (Buckhead) or (678) 771-3060 (Jonesboro) for your appointment.

http://www.drcarlisledc.com

http://chiropractors.healthprofs.com/cam/536552

http://www.youtube.com/user/NCarlisleDC

Can Poor Posture Really Cause Back and Neck Pain?

February 18, 2015

In a word, yes!

Unless your back or neck pain has been caused by some type of over-exertion or acute trauma, it’s actually very likely that poor posture is at least a contributing factor. The alignment of the spine—from the neck through the lower back and hips—is critical to the body’s ability to support its own weight and move efficiently, so posture problems (which are often chronic) can gradually lead to pain and reduced mobility.

When it comes to pain in your back or neck, the relationship between poor posture and injury can also be a complicated one. On the one hand, having poor posture makes it more likely that you will suffer an injury. On the other hand, suffering an injury can also affect your posture. Mary Ann Wilmarth, DPT, spokeswoman for the American Physical Therapy Association explains, “Little things add up. You can increase the pressure on your back by 50% simply by leaning over the sink incorrectly to brush your teeth. Keeping the right amount of curvature in the back takes pressure off the nerves and will reduce back pain.”

How posture problems contribute to neck pain
One of the most common posture problems is a “forward head and shoulder posture”. This occurs when someone “hunches over” and places their head in front of their neck. The weight of the head towards the front stresses the lower neck vertebrae, and leads to overworking of the upper back muscles to compensate for the pull of gravity on the head. Many people with this posture problem also have a rounded upper back and rounded shoulders, which can lead to further stress and shoulder pain. Often, poor desk and chair ergonomics contribute to these problems, but even slouching on the couch or at a table with your mobile phone can lead to hunching over.

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How posture problems contribute to back pain
The “forward head” posture described above causes stress on the lower cervical vertebrae, which may end up sliding forward relative to each other as a result of gravity. This is a particular problem for people who have jobs requiring them to look forward or downwards all day. Eventually, the prolonged pressure on the cervical vertebrae will irritate the ligaments and soft tissues, radiating downwards to the upper back. This process can lead to disc degeneration, cervical osteoarthritis and herniated discs.

Tips for improving poor posture and relieving back and neck pain
Poor posture is typically the result of habits that have been developed over long periods of time performing the same activities over and over again. Here are just a few of the most common culprits:
• Staring at computer monitors or mobile devices that are badly positioned.
• Sitting in poorly designed office chairs.
• Sleeping on mattresses that don’t provide the necessary support.
• Carrying heavy backpacks or purses.

But how do you know which activities are contributing to your poor posture and causing you pain? The clues are usually fairly easy to spot once you know what you’re looking for. For instance, the pain in your neck or back may be worse at some times during the day than at others, or it may come and go with changes in your body position. If you experience fatigue or pain when you first wake up in the morning or after you’ve been sitting at your desk for a couple of hours, it might be time for a new mattress or new office furniture.

The good news is that once you become aware of the activities that are contributing to your posture problems and pain, most can be fixed relatively easily, with no need for either medication or surgery. Learn to recognize when you’re hunching over your computer, slouching in your chair or craning your neck to look at your mobile phone. Then sit up straight, aligning your hips, shoulders and ears in one vertical line.

Sometimes, however, the solution is not so simple—especially when poor posture has caused structural changes in the spine and neck. In these cases, a chiropractor can help by designing posture correction and spinal rehabilitation programs to restore the spine’s normal curvature. These programs will usually involve a combination of mechanical techniques that actively remodel the spine (including the use of braces and molding blocks), exercises and stretches that strengthen postural muscles and restore range of motion, and lifestyle changes to address the root causes.

As experts in diagnosing and treating musculoskeletal conditions, chiropractic physicians are specially trained to recognize and correct postural problems. If you’re suffering from neck or back pain and suspect that your posture may be at least partially to blame, call or visit our office today. We can help!

Contact Dr. Nicholas Carlisle – Atlanta Chiropractor at (404) 316-1190 (Buckhead) or (404) 781-2800 (Southwest Atlanta) for your appointment.

http://www.drcarlisledc.com

http://chiropractors.healthprofs.com/cam/536552

http://www.youtube.com/user/NCarlisleDC


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