January 9, 2017
Here are some of our most useful posture tips:
When sitting, to stretch the front of your chest and help to keep your lower back unlocked – do a seated cross-connect stretch at your chair, take elbow to opposite knee while you open up the opposite chest wall reaching for the back of the chair. Hold this position for 4-5 breaths. Repeat on the other side (we usually need to rotate towards the right more often – especially if you are right-handed).
Many people try to overcompensate and over straighten their spine in attempts to stand up tall. This is most often recognized when the chest is thrown up and forward too much ahead of the pelvis or the shoulder blade muscles rest too close together. The first two pictures are examples of how chest stretching is often down incorrectly (in attempts to improve forward rounded shoulders – instead, this often leads to excessive tension in the lower back). Instead, keep your breast bone inline with your public bone and fully exhale while you are stretching your chest muscles in a doorway. This will open the front of your chest without putting excessive tension into your lower back and neck.
While many may think the below picture is good posture, it is a good example of a lot of excessive tension and effort, along with excessive spinal disc loading. This posture would not be healthy for the spine to endure for a long period of time. The chest is jutting up and ahead of the pelvis too much. Instead, the back should be supported and resting into the back of the chair. A footstool or stack of books can be placed under the feet to help size up to the chair you are sitting one. Your ribcage should stack on top of your pelvis and your lower back muscles should not be active and engaged, but instead RESTING into the back support.
The below picture is an example of compensated over engagement. This posture produces hyperactivity and tension and compression in the lower back. Many people do this in an attempt to achieve “good” posture, but this can lead to further long term pain and faster degeneration. This ribcage is displaced too far ahead of the pelvis. You can see the angle of your breastbone is turned up and elevated which is also a sign there is too much muscle tension going on in the back. Instead, the spinal curves should remain stacked one on top of the other, and the front of the ribcage should be held down with your oblique side abdominals. The pelvis should stack right under the ribcage and not be in the back of it.
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