Bad posture leads to upper back pain
Having a good posture does not only makes you look good and confident, it also helps to eliminate aches and strain on your back muscles. Today, lets talk about the upper back. Consisting of the thoracic and cervical spine.
Most of the time humans look into the mirror checking only the front view of the body and face. Try standing sideways from the mirror and take a look at your posture. You might discover that your neck is poking foreword, hyperextending your neck (poke neck syndrome), or your shoulders are rounded forward, causing you to hunch/slouch (kyphotic curve). If thats the case, you are probably suffering from a chronic bad posture.
Have you ever wonder how heavy does our head weighs? Its around 5.5kg on average. And for every inch your head held forward, the force is doubled (11kg). Looking at your hp or computer for too long, causes your head to lean forward. That stresses the neck muscles.
And hours of facing the computer and using the handphone also causes your shoulders to be rounded forward, making your chest muscle tight, resulting in bad breathing and chronic back pain.
A healthy pain free spine needs to be in a neutral position. Meaning the spine in a slight s-curve. One of the most basic remedy is to avoid sitting too long and try to stand up (move around).
Below are some of the exercises that will help you to correct your posture in the long run.
- Chin tuck – tuck in your chin without tilting your head up. Basically try to create a double chin. you can do it sitting or standing. Use your fingers and push your chin towards your neck. Hold it for 10 sec and relax. Repeat 8-10 sets. One of the best way is to do it when you are driving. Slowly push the back of your head against the head rest of your car seat. It works well.
- Stretch your chest/pectorals muscles- Do the side wall stretch. Place your arm against a doorway or corner of a wall, lean on it. Hold for 20sec repeat 5 sets.
- Scapula retraction- Standing or seating position, try to squeeze your shoulder blades back. Meaning, retract your shoulder blades (scapula). Do 20 reps, 5 sets . Remember not to lift up your shoulders while doing this exercise. Keep your upper trapezius muscle relaxed.
- Wall lean arm raise- Find a flat wall and lean on it (back on the wall). Keep the back of your heels away for the wall bending your knees slightly. Place both arms up and slowly raise it. Keep the back of your head, hands and elbows touching the wall all the time. Slide it up until you feel the strain on your spine. Remember to engage your core muscles when you do this exercise. You don’t want your lumbar spine to arch too much.
- Lats and hip flexors stretch- refer photos below.
So from today onwards, check yourself out on the mirror (side view) regularly, sit upright tucking your chin in, stretch to improve overall flexibility, strengthen your core and improve your working position. Self-awareness is the best reminder.
I will share with you on more techniques on stretching and strengthening exercises soon!
Have fun !