Neck Pain & Headache Relief
As a practicing chiropractor of 37 years, I have heard many patients say: “I have terrible posture.” Are you aware of your posture? Do you feel as if your head is too far forward and your shoulders are slumped? Do you have neck and upper back pain and suffer from tension headaches? If so, this article is for you. It will describe poor and good posture and simple tips you can employ to improve your posture and health.
Let’s look at posture problems that typically occur:
- Forward head posture. Our heads weigh about as much as a bowling ball. If our head is positioned directly over our upper body, there is very little stress on the neck and upper back. However, if our head is several inches or more in a forward position it places much more stress on our neck and upper back. These areas then must work extra hard to compensate for forward head posture. This results in neck and upper back pain and stress headaches.
- Slumped shoulders. When I observe many peoples standing posture, I note that their hands may be positioned at the front of their thighs. However, when one is standing with good posture their hands should be at the side of the thighs and hips. Ideally, we should look like a soldier standing at attention with the hands at our sides.
In the western world the most common culprit for bad posture can be attributed to the amount of sitting we endure. Most of us sit many hours starting as school students. This gets compounded with sedentary occupations. Human beings are made to stand and walk—not sit!
It is important that we take time to get up and get moving. Taking a daily walk is a must with a sitting job.
When we take a walk, a simple trick can be employed to improve our posture. As we walk, pretend that there is a helium balloon attached by a string to the very top of our head. This automatically pulls us into a more upright, erect posture. We want to try to maintain this through the duration of our walk.
Another tip that we can utilize is to have an adjustable, upright desk where we can perform our work. This type of office equipment allows us to sit or to stand throughout the day. Even if a person stands 10% of their workday, a huge improvement in posture can be made.
When a person comes to my office for treatment, I always evaluate their posture and give them stretching and strengthening exercises they can utilize to improve their posture and their health. There is a term in health lexicon called “Upper Crossed Syndrome.”
By exploring online sources anyone can learn about upper crossed syndrome and consult with an appropriate healthcare specialist as to what exercises would be appropriate in improving their posture.
It’s always fun and rewarding for me to hear someone make a transition from saying: “my posture is terrible” to them saying: “I got a nice complement about my good posture today.”