Do you find it painful or difficult to sit up straight? Do you spend many hours a day in slumped in front of a computer? and do you sometimes feel like your posture is starting to closely resemble the Hunchback of Notre Dame? If so, READ ON.
Poor upper body posture, also known as thoracic kyphosis, is normally caused by tight chest muscles and weak muscles in the upper and mid back. This condition is very common in people who have sedentary desk jobs and are slumped over a computer or paper work for the majority of the day. Not being aware of proper posture will commonly result in the shoulders rounding forward, the head poking further forward, and the curve in the thoracic spine will be enhanced causing that “hunchback” look. Overtime this poor posture will begin to strain the spine and it’s surrounding mucles and ligaments, making the back vulnerable to injury as well as back and neck pain.
HOW DO WE FIX THIS?
-Becoming more aware of you posture is the first step. To practice proper posture, sit up straight in a chair and roll your shoulders back and down as if you are squeezing a pencil between your shoulder blades. Next, tuck your chin in and back to relax your neck muscles. When looking at a side profile the ear should be in line with the shoulder. You should feel your neck relaxed, a small stretch across your chest, and the muscles between your shoulder blades engaged (squeezing the pencil).
-Stretch you chest muscles at least once per day, but the more the better. Hold the stretch for 30 seconds and repeat 2-3 times. See picture below:
-Even when using proper posture, sitting for prolonged periods of time will tire the back muscles. Try taking frequent breaks from sitting every hour to get up and walk around or stretch out.