A great new years resolution for 2020 is to try to improve your posture!
More and more people are presenting to Chiropractic clinics, suffering neck pain due to chronic postural issues such as: spending too long sitting in front of a computer, excessive viewing of television, carrying your baby around and/or excessive mobile phone use.
Such habits can be the start of serious postural problems and structural issues later in life. See the diagram below:
(5 phases of neck curvature: 1, represents complete reversal of cervical lordosis, placing maximum pressure on the neck. 3, straightening of cervical lordosis, causing forward head carriage. 5, optimal cervical lordosis, least amount of pressure on neck)
The first step is awareness, the next step is looking for a solution. Most people buy a shoulder brace online, to hold their shoulders back, but these don’t work if you have a forward head position.
Shoulder braces don’t work on someone with a forward head position! They just make your head feel heavier. You need to strengthen and LENGTHEN the muscles of your neck and shoulders.
Introducing the concept of a POSTURE POLE (and half foam roller)
What is a half-foam roller used for?
How does one use the posture pole? With an in-built texture pad at the top to rest your head on, lie vertically along the pole with your hip and knees bent in a sit-up position and both arms resting by your side with palms facing the ceiling. Simply lie in this resting position for 5-10mins (or as prescribed by your health practitioner) to achieve desired results. See below for an in-depth review.
- Light-weight and easily storable
- More gentle than typical foam rollers
- Ability to perform intermediate and advanced core exercises while using the posture pole
- Assists with relieving postural stress
- Lengthens and straightens the spine
- Reduces muscle tension and spasm
- Promotes deep breathing by opening the chest
- Enhances relaxation
- Durable, made with long-lasting material
- Cannot be used to specifically target tight muscles/fascia like a foam roller
- Not recommended during acute traumatic injuries
Since using the posture pole “I am not as tense in my shoulders and upper back.. I feel better.. I can breathe better.. I feel more relaxed”.
Watch this video to see how Today Tonight tests the Posture Pole.
Seeing a Chiropractor for an assessment and realignment will help too.
Doing the below exercises at home will ease pain and increase mobility in your neck and shoulders.
- Sit down on the posture pole so it is lined up the full length of your back
- Gently lay along the pole so that your head is fully supported
- Tuck your chin into a neutral position
- Let your shoulders relax and your palms face upward
Level 1: Postural stretch
- Relax for 5-10m, repeat 1-2 times daily
Level 2: Legs up
- Gently raise one foot so your lower leg is horizontal
- Hold for 20 sec while remaining still
- Repeat 3x for each leg
- To make it more challenging try both legs at the same time, repeat x 3
Level 3: Pelvic lift
- Slowly raise your bottom off the poleuntil your body is in a straight line
- Gently lower your body down, do not hold the position
- Repeat 5x times
Mayo Clinic Think Snow Angel exercise 1 min video:
Some good books to help you with postural exercises:
Posture Workbook : Free Yourself From Back, Neck And Shoulder Pain With The Alexander Technique: