It’s no secret that many people experience back and neck pain. Though many are looking for an exact cause of their pain or discomfort, it’s often a culmination of events that have allowed dysfunction to build over time in their muscle’s and joints. If you have followed my past post’s you already know that I believe many of us sit too much, too often, which leads to muscle imbalance’s, and ultimately pain! Contrary to belief many people that experience these issues are quite active. Unfortunately, being active cannot counteract the effects of sitting at a desk for 40+ hours a week.. and this doesn’t even include the commute for many of you!
Does this sound like you? Over the course of the next few weeks I am going to be writing about specific exercises that will aid in correcting faulty posture that many of us have acquired due to our lifestyle, so follow along!
How did we get here? Though the advances in technology are great for us as a society they are reeking havoc on our muscles and joints! As a Chiropractic Physician I see even young patients presenting with back and neck pain. The problem lies in the fact that many of us sit all day at work, or school, then sit in our car to commute to work, then go home and sit on our tablet, phone, computer, etc. What we develop is essentially a hunched posture adding pounds to our spine (see below).
As you can see, the more forward and “hunched” the back becomes the heavier your head becomes putting increased stress on you spine and muscles. This is abnormal and can be fixed!
I will begin by addressing the neck and upper back. Later post’s will address the lower back and hips. One common denominator in many patients is taught and tender fibers in the upper trapezius muscle and levator scapulae muscles. Many patients will report that they feel their shoulder’s feel uneven or “up to their ears.” This is usually the beginning phase of a postural syndrome and often times some of the first symptoms noted, so it makes sense to begin by addressing these muscles first. Begin by holding each stretch for 30s on both sides. Be careful not to over-stretch; once the stretch is felt in the correct area, stop and hold.
Corrective Exercise #1: Seated Upper Trapezius and Levator Scapulae Stretch
-Begin in a seated postion. Before beginning to stretch be sure that you are sitting with good posture (chest up, shoulders back, chin tucked.)
-Anchor one arm behind your back
– Bend your head forward and ear to the opposite shoulder
-Add gentle over-pressure by pulling on your head down and toward the opposite shoulder
-You should feel a stretch in the back of your neck and shoulder of which the arm is anchored (See Above
-Using the same position as above, simply turn your head and look away from the shoulder that is being anchored.
Stay tune for next week’s post where we will address the deep neck flexors!
Before beginning any exercise program you should be evaluated by a professional.
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