Category: Posture

Forward Head Posture and How to Fix It

Forward Head Posture and How to Fix It

The Condition

A common postural problem seen in people who sit for long periods of time is a forward head posture. Typically, this posture goes hand-in-hand with the rounded shoulder posture and occurs for many reasons including poor muscular endurance of the cervical stabilizers to resist gravity. Individuals with this posture can develop tightness in the upper trapezius and levator scapulae muscles and weakness in the deep cervical stabilizers. Over time, this posture can lead to neck pain and especially headaches. Luckily, stretching and strengthening exercises can help improve this condition.

The Fix

First, release the upper trapezius and levator scapulae holding tender spots for 30 seconds. This can be done using a lacrosse ball and leaning against a wall, placing the ball in spots that are tender. Next, stretch the upper trapezius and scalene by reaching your hands down and behind you and tilting your head as far back as you can. Hold this stretch for 8-10 seconds and repeat throughout the day.

Rounded Shoulder Posture And How To Fix It

Rounded Shoulder Posture And How To Fix It

The Condition

We’ve all seen the research about the negative impact sitting for extended periods of time has on our health. But most of us have to sit, at least for a portion of the day. A common postural condition that comes from sitting for long periods of time is rounded shoulders. This is primarily due to the fact that we are always resisting gravity, and more often than not, gravity wins. Individuals typically do not possess the muscular endurance of the upper back and shoulders to maintain proper postural alignment against gravity when sitting, which ultimately leads to rounding the shoulders forward. When the shoulders are in a rounded position, the front muscles acting on the shoulders (pectoralis major and minor) become lengthened and weak. This can lead to neck and shoulder pain.

The Fix

A quick solution to help improve alignment is to lay face up on a large exercise ball to help improve thoracic extension range of motion. Next, stretch the pectoralis major and minor by extending your arms out to the sides, holding the stretch for 30 seconds. Try doing this a few times a day to start stretching these muscles out. The more one practices proper shoulder alignment, the more muscular endurance they will develop and thus will be able to resist gravity more effectively.

Lower Crossed Syndrome

Lower Crossed Syndrome

The Condition

Lower Crossed Syndrome describes a condition in which the pelvis is tilted forward and the back is over-arched. Lower back pain is often associated with a pelvic tilt with an excessive arch in the low back region. This condition is commonly seen in individuals who sit for extended periods of time, since sitting causes the hip flexor muscles (psoas, iliopsoas and rectus femoris) to remain in a shortened position. Over time, these muscles adapt by shortening and becoming tight. Due to their attachment to the pelvis and lumbar spine, when these muscles are tight, they can pull the pelvis and lumbar spine forward causing a forward tilt when standing (hip extension). The tightness of the hip flexor complex can also lead to a decreased function in the gluetues maximus. Tightness in the hip flexors and weakness in the gluteals can ultimately lead to low back pain.

 

The Fix

To help remedy this situation, try to stand up every 20-30 minutes and lean backwards, placing your hands on your hips. Do this 8-10 times holding for 1-2 seconds. Another effective strategy is to sit on the edge of your chair, turn to each side and stretch your leg behind you, effectively stretching your psoas and hip flexors. Hold this stretch 8-10 seconds and repeat a few times throughout the day.