If you’re working at a desk, driving, enjoy watching tv from the sofa chances are that back pain is not new to you. The fact is that a sedentary lifestyle is the number one cause of an aching back. Yet still sitting down is what most of us do for the majority of our day.
Even as I write this article I’m feeling my head tilting forward, my shoulders are rounding over the edge of the desk and my back is in a C shape. I’m far from my natural good posture and if I don’t do anything about it I will stay like that. If humped upper back, forward rounding shoulders and aches in the back is not new to you read my top tips for fixing these:
1. Learn what is a neutral spine.
You might hear your trainer or gym instructor talking about the neutral spine or back straight but have you ever been told what this means? Your spine has a specific position of how it best serves its functions. It is an S-shape column that is made up of about 32 vertebrae (the coccyx might have even 2 more fused vertebrae in some people) across 5 regions. These are 7 Cervical (neck), 12 Thoracic (chest), 5 Lumbar (waist), 5 Sacrum (Inside the hip) and 3-5 Coccyx vertebrae. Misalignment of these cause problems with movement and can lead to damage of nerves running outwards from the spinal column which can be a cause of chronic pain and dysfunction.
Luckily this can be very well addressed with a very expensive piece of kit: a broomstick. Placing a broomstick behind the back and checking if you can touch the back of the hip, between the shoulder blades and back of the head while keeping 2-4cm between the lower back and the stick means that you can maintain an upright torso. Her is how this looks:
2. Engage your core and Tonic muscles
Muscles act, bones react. Your posture is held up by your muscles and that’s where you can take back control. You have 2 main types of muscles when it comes to movement and posture. Phasic muscles move your bodies such as your glutes, chest, and delts. Tonic muscles are stabilizing your body and keep you in the position you’re in most of the time. Working on engaging the phasic muscles that let go of your upright torso will help you reverse what gravity and your desk, car, and sofa have done to you. It might also make you taller a fraction bit so you can go on any roller-coaster for the rest of your life. Having a strong core will also make everyday movement safer from lifting a pen from the floor to moving your couch, picking up your travel bags or hitting your new record deadlift in the gym.
3. Change position often and mobilize
Your best position is always your next position. Even keeping a good posture won’t protect you from fatigue after 20 minutes of holding yourself still. Sitting upright or standing tall needs to be changed every couple of minutes. So get up your chair or and realign yourself every 10-15 minutes. After all, you would lose focus if you won’t refresh yourself. 10-15 minutes of foam rolling and mobilizing tight areas can do wonders. Nobody will know your body as well as you do. You are the one who feels the pain and you are the one who has to do something about it. Get a few massage balls, foam rollers and elastic bands and roll on the floor to untie those nasty nods that have been killing you for days, weeks, months or even years. Your body will thank you for it.
I hope these tips will help you to become pain-free and enjoy movement instead of wanting to lay in bed and eat painkillers pointlessly.
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