Do you suffer from neck, shoulder, or back pain related to poor posture? This is a really common complaint, especially for those who work at jobs where they are sitting down for many hours every day.
When you sit with your head and shoulders forward compared to the rest of your spine, slouched in your seat, over time your regular posture can change so that this slouched posture is present all of the time, and after a while this causes pain.
Why does poor posture cause pain?
Our body is designed to withstand plenty of different forces, pressures, and movements, and in general it does this very well, but when our joints are out of alignment, normal every day activities can cause pain and damage.
Part of the reason for poor posture is that some muscles are too tight, and some are too weak. If you slouch forward, the muscles across the front of your body may be too tight, which causes your shoulders to hunch forward, your head to drop forward, and your spine to curve with all this. To help correct your posture, stretches that focus on the front of your body can help release these tight muscles so that your posture can correct itself to be more upright.
Directions for stretching
You want to hold each stretch for thirty seconds, and then push the stretch a little bit further for another ten seconds. The reason for this, is that when you stretch a muscle, that muscle will contract a little in response, and after thirty seconds this reflex passes and the muscle relaxes more, and you can get stretch that muscle group further, improving your flexibility more than if you held it for a shorter period of time.
Stand in a doorway, arms up with hands and forearms on the wall, and move your body forward as if your are going to walk through the doorway, until you feel a gentle stretch and it feels a little uncomfortable, but not painful.
Repeat at different hand heights as shown in diagram.
On a yoga mat, your bed, or any other semi soft surface, lay face down, and gently and slowly lift your upper body off the floor, leaving your hips on the floor. If coming up onto your elbows isn’t enough of a stretch, you can do the full cobra stretch up on your hands.
Foam roller stretch
Using a foam roller, or roll up a couple of towels. Place under your back when laying down. You will do three lots- midway down your back, 2/3 of the way up your back, and in line with your shoulder blades.