Pain keeps coming back? Correcting your posture might have a lasting effect. San Diego clinical massage therapist, Robert Nicholson, shares with us how to correct your posture to relieve pain.
If you’re sitting at a desk 30 to 50 hours a week you’re probably wondering if your posture has become poor. Not sure? Let me help you identify where you’re out of alignment.
Keep reading and head over to the mirror.
- In front of a mirror, let your arms hang. Can you see your knuckles? If you can you probably have rounded shoulders. Ideally, you wouldn’t want that to happen.
- Now turn to your side and check to see if your head is sticking out to the front past your shoulders and if your low back is hyperextended (commonly referred to as duck-butt). If this is you, your anterior neck muscles and your hip flexors are shortened.
- Another way to identify incorrect postures is to have a professional do a postural assessment to pinpoint which muscles are short and which ones are weak.
poor posture, stubborn pain
You may be asking: “So, what if my posture has changed, Robert? Isn’t it a good thing that my posture has adapted to my being desk-bound?” The answer is PAIN.
As a clinical massage therapist, I see a lot of people suffering from pain due to poor posture. Here’s why...
Your body is not anatomically designed to hold a posture for long periods of time. However, your body naturally molds to the posture you hold. For the majority of people who sits at a desk between 30-50 hours a week their hip flexors shorten, shoulders roll forward and elevate with a head tilting forward. This shift typically translates to:
- low back pain
- pain between the shoulder blades
- headaches/neck pain
- and sometimes numbness and tingling in the arms and hands
And if you regularly exercise or practice any recreational physical activities, you may experience limited mobility.
How to correct the posture
The good news is that you can retrain your body to have a better posture with less pain and increased mobility. Now that you know where your problem areas are it's up to you to put in the work to correct it.
- If your shoulders are rolled forward you need to lengthen your pecs and strengthen your lower and middle traps.
- If you have an anterior pelvic tilt you need to stretch your hip flexors and strengthen your glutes and core.
Remember, if you’re putting in 30 to 50 hours a week reinforcing bad postural habits you need a combination of bodywork, movement and mobility exercises, and increased postural awareness to get back to a healthier you.
Massage can help you by lengthening shortened muscles, breaking up fascial adhesions and increasing your range of motion. It takes a little work on your part but you can use massage, chiropractic, and acupuncture as tools to help get you there faster and with proper body mechanics.