The way you present yourself matters! If you are constantly sloping or slouching this is not only harmful physically but also mentally. Having a strong upright posture shows confidence and can help alleviate or prevent back or shoulder pain. Here are some ways you can improve your posture and regain your confidence!
Do you have a Hunched Back
Cause and effect:
Also known as postural kyphosis, this is the abnormal curvature of the back and spinal cord. This can have physical pains such as stiffness or body images insecurities.
How to fix your hunched back;
#1. Stretch your chest
Find an open doorframe and place your bent arms against either side of the door with your elbows in line with your shoulders. Adopt a staggered stance and push your chest forward until you feel a stretch in the chest. Hold the stretch for 15 seconds or until the muscles relax before forcibly pushing your elbows against the doorframe to create muscular tension (try not to generate any movement) for five seconds. Relax and increase the stretch. Repeat three times. Then, hold the stretch in place for 30–60 seconds.
#2. Release chest tightness with massage ball
Holding a massage ball with both hands, roll the ball around your chest muscle looking for areas of tightness. When you find the tight areas, apply pressure to help ease the tension. Massage each side of your chest two to three times for approximately 30 seconds.
#3. Foam roll upper back muscles
Place the foam roller in your mid-back. From here, cross your arms over your chest. Keeping your butt on the floor, extend your back over the roller and hold at points of tension for 10–15 seconds.
#4. Strengthen upper back postural muscles using prone back extensions
Lie face down on an exercise mat with your arms extended in front of you in a Y position. From here, keeping your arms extended and head in line with your spine, gently lift your torso off the ground. Hold for five to 10 seconds before gently returning to the start position. Repeat for three sets of eight repetitions.
Prone back extensions are great for not only strengthening the upper back postural muscles but also the lower back extensor muscles. Simultaneously, you are stretching the abs and chest.
Cause and effect:
Round shoulders develop through poor posture in a variety of positions used daily, including sitting for long periods, driving for long periods, and using a smart phone or tablet.
Tight chest muscles pull your shoulders forward, closing your chest and causing the shoulders to round. This makes you look shorter and causes you to adopt a more dismissive posture.
When you add weak upper back muscles to the mix, you have nothing to help counterbalance this rounding. If left untreated, it can cause pain through the back and contribute to overall bad posture.
How to fix your rounded shoulders:
To fix rounded shoulders, stretch the chest and shoulders and build strength in the upper back.
#1. Stretch your chest
Using an open doorframe, place your bent arms against either side of the door with your elbows in line with your shoulders. Adopt a staggered stance and push your chest forward until you feel a stretch in the chest. Hold the stretch for 15 seconds or until the muscles relax before forcibly pushing your elbows against the doorframe to create muscular tension (try not to generate any movement) for five seconds. Relax and increase the stretch. Repeat this three times before holding the stretch in place for 30–60 seconds.
#2. Work on your shoulder mobility
Using a rolled up towel or smooth foam roller, lie on the floor with the towel or roller running down the length of your back. Holding light weights (5 lbs. is enough) straighten your arms wide until you feel a stretch through the front of the shoulders and chest. Hold for 30–60 seconds.Incorporating the use of a Tens Machine daily could help with shoulder issues.
#3. Perform pull-ups to build your upper back strength
Grab an overhead bar with a wide grip (approximately shoulder width apart) and your palms facing away from you. From a dead hang position, contract your back and draw your elbows toward your sides to bring you up to the bar. Finish at the top with your back fully contracted and your chin above the bar. In a slow, controlled manner, lower yourself back down to the starting position before repeating the motion. Aim to build up to three sets of eight with two to three minutes of rest in between sets.
#4. Perform inverted rows to build your upper back strength
Using either a Smith machine or squat rack where the bar can be held in place (use weights to hold the bar down), grab the bar with a wide grip and palms facing away from you. Hang from the bar so your shoulders are beneath your hands and your back is a couple of inches from the floor. Straighten your body, dig your heels into the floor, and tighten your core. From this position, pull your upper body toward the bar, keeping your body straight and your core tight. Hold at the top before lowering yourself in a controlled manner. Shoot for three sets of eight repetitions with two to three minutes of rest in between.
If your pain continues and you have tried these methods it may be time to visit a professional. Contact us and we will book an appointment with our experienced back and shoulder pain specialist.
Pleasantview Family Health Centre
2758 Victoria Park Ave, North York M2J4A8