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Body Image Muscles

4 Exercises That Prevent A Hunchback And Tech Neck

4 Exercises That Prevent A Hunchback And Tech Neck

4 Exercises That Prevent A Hunchback And Tech Neck

You’re starting to see it everywhere. It’s those people that are slouching around with caved-in chests and heads that look like they’re about to fall off.

This is known as Tech Neck: the mid and upper spine hunching over from sitting down for long periods of time and leaning over a desk. Maybe you even have it yourself! If you do, or even if you don’t, it’s important to know how counteract this so that YOU don’t end up living in a cathedral bell tower (or unable to look up or lift your arms…). Remember, by ages 70-79, 21% of all adults are hunched, and nearly two thirds of the population will suffer from degenerative cervical spine conditions– don’t be one of them.

Exercises That Prevent A Hunchback 2

First, an anatomy lesson: your mid to upper spine already has a natural bend in it that curves towards your back. An abnormally large, permanent curvature is called hyperkyphosis, or in the old days, “hunchback.” In the sitting position, the spine naturally wants to curve a little bit more, which is fine… unless you do it for several hours every day. Eventually the body adapts to this position– the chest, front shoulders and abs tighten while the back and neck muscles relax, which literally pulls your spine and shoulders further forward, out of their proper alignment. The head falls forward, out of its neutral position, weakening posterior erectors and causing pain. These conditions not only make the entire body weak and unaesthetic, they can result in horrific injury and costly hospital bills.

It takes consistent effort to fix these issues and maintain proper posture, but thankfully it’s simple: stretch your tight chest and ab muscles and strengthen your weak back muscles, then keeping your head neutral.

For those so inclined, that could mean hitting the weights. Any back exercise, such as pullups, rows, and deadlifts, will tighten the back and pull your spine back into proper alignment.

Most of us don’t have the time or will to lift the weights though, and that’s fine. For the rest of us, here are four exercises that will fix you right up!

1. The Superman (or Y Stretch)
-Lay face down on the floor, with your arms in a Y shape.
-Then, slowly lift your arms up off the floor, maintaining the Y shape, and keeping your shoulder from lifting.
-You should feel your shoulder blades retract together and your back muscles activate.
-Optionally, you may lift your legs up as well to stretch your abs and tighten your lower back.
-Hold this position for at least 20 seconds, working your way up as you get more flexible.

This exercise pulls your spine back into alignment by pulling it the other direction. It uses the posterior deltoids, latissimus dorsi, and trapezius to pull your arms up and back, which opens up your chest and allows your overly-tight pectoralis and anterior deltoid muscles to relax.

Exercises That Prevent A Hunchback

2. The Bow Stretch
-Wear loose clothes, and stand with your feet a little more than shoulder width apart, firmly planted.
-With your arms up and over your head and your thumbs pointed behind you, slowly bend backwards at the knees, hips, back, shoulders, and neck (relax your head backwards, don’t force it). Let your jaw hang open and breathe deeply and slowly through your mouth.
-Lean back as far as you can and hold it for at least 10 seconds, working your way up as you get more flexible.

This focuses primarily on using what’s called full body extension, which relaxes all anterior (frontal) muscles, including the neck, chest, shoulders, and hips (another muscle group that becomes unbalanced with excessive sitting!). This stretch takes work, especially if you’re not very flexible or mobile, but keep working at it! Eventually you’ll be able to lean back farther and hold it for longer.

3. Neutral Position Head Placement
-Stand up as straight as you can.
-Pull your shoulders down and back.
-Pull your neck up and back, bringing your ears directly above your shoulders

Think of this movement as trying to pull your whole upper body back and then making your ears as far apart from your shoulders as possible. This isn’t an exercise or stretch per se, but more a habit to get into. Try to do this every time you’re standing up. Don’t worry, you won’t look weird, you’ll look confident.

Exercises That Prevent A Hunchback 1

4. Mid-back Foam Roller Stretch
-Buy a hard foam roller. These are cheap and incredibly useful.
-Place the foam roller on the ground, and then lay across it perpendicularly (the roller and your body should make a “t” in other words), resting on the foam roller just under your shoulder blades.
-Plant your feet on the ground, bending your legs and keeping your butt off the ground, then place your hands behind your head and relax.
-Do this for at least 30 seconds, working your way up as you become more flexible.

This exercise follows the same trend the others do: by relaxing, you’re reversing the over-arching of your spine and opening your chest cavity.

One last piece of advice: do these things daily! Make a ritual out of it, and if you keep it up, you can say goodbye to “tech-neck” forever and say hello to your new healthy and confident posture.

Sources, Sources, Sources, Sources

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guest blogs

Why You Could Be Experiencing Shoulder Pain and How To Improve It

Why You Could Be Experiencing Shoulder Pain and How To Improve It

In order for your shoulder to function optimally, you need good thoracic (upper back) mobility. Too many people have poor upper thoracic mobility (the area between your shoulder blades) due to spending many hours at the computer; poor posture; not being active enough etc. This can impact your shoulder health, we all need good extension through our upper backs in order to complete overhead movements without compromising our structures in the shoulder joint. Often, problems with impingement; bursitis or rotator cuff issues at the shoulder joint are due to poor thoracic mobility as your shoulder blade cannot move efficiently over your ribcage.

Why You Could Be Experiencing Shoulder Pain and How To Improve It

In order to improve your upper back mobility, I have put together a couple of exercises that can be carried out at home on a daily basis.

1. Foam Roller Extension:

This will help improve your thoracic mobility into extension.
If you are fortunate enough to have a foam roller at home or access to one in the gym then try this.
Start position:

Why You Could Be Experiencing Shoulder Pain and How To Improve It 2

Sit comfortably with knees bent and bottom touching the floor. Place foam roller below shoulder blades, hands behind head.

Finish position:

Why You Could Be Experiencing Shoulder Pain and How To Improve It 1

Keeping your bottom in contact with the floor, slowly breathe out and let your back gently extend over the foam roller. Hold for a count of 3-5 seconds and slowly rise back up to start position. Repeat this twice and then gently roll the foam roller an inch further up the spine, repeat the extension movement twice again and keep doing this until you reach the top of the shoulder blades.

Ensure you do this correctly by watching the video below:

2. Side-lying thoracic opener:

This will help improve your thoracic mobility into the rotation.

Start position:

Why You Could Be Experiencing Shoulder Pain and How To Improve It 3

Lie on your side with your head supported, raise the top hip to 90 degrees and rest the knee on a foam roller or a firm pillow (this protects your lower back). Arms outstretched and hands stacked on top of each other.

Finish position:

Why You Could Be Experiencing Shoulder Pain and How To Improve It 4

Start to raise the top hand up and slowly bring it over to the other side of your body, letting your eyes follow that hand all the way, until you can’t go further, let your arm fall out at a 45 degree angle, make sure your knee stays in contact with the foam roller/pillow and your resting shoulder in contact with the mat, otherwise you’ve gone too far. Ensure you can still breathe comfortably and hold for 3-4 breaths, return hand to start position and repeat. Do this 10 times on each side. You will find that by the last few reps you have reached further than the start.

3. Thoracic Rotation (advanced exercise):

Only attempt this if you have relatively good shoulder and core strength. This is a good follow-on exercise for pain-free shoulders that require strength building.

Start position:
Why You Could Be Experiencing Shoulder Pain and How To Improve It 5

Hands should be in line with shoulders. Spine (including neck) should be neutral and bum tucked under to engage the glutes, feet just wider than shoulder-width apart.

Finish position:

Why You Could Be Experiencing Shoulder Pain and How To Improve It 6

From the start position, gently push one hand into the floor, keeping the body aligned and raise the other hand off to rotate around and reach up to the ceiling, shoulders should be stacked (wrist; shoulder; opposite shoulder; opposite wrist all in one line) and no sagging at the hips. Eyes to follow the moving hand at all times. Return to start position and rotate with the opposite arm. Repeat 5-10 times on each side.

MARY WHALINGBIO:

Mary is the director of free ur body based in Adelaide, a gym based rehabilitation service which gives you results you may not have thought possible. With a background in Physiotherapy and a broad array of post-degree qualifications, she helps get people out of chronic pain through thorough assessment and movement-based rehabilitation. We believe education is the key to health & wellness and pass our tools on to our clients to ensure they can independently maintain their health & wellbeing to the highest level.

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Alternative Medicine health

Neck Pain Prevention

Neck Pain Prevention

Have you heard people describing an unbearable annoyance that just won’t go away as a “pain in the neck?” well, there are many reasons for this.
Constant movement of the neck, along with its position and number of structures within it, and its purpose of supporting as much as 18 pounds of head, while bending, twisting, or being held perfectly still for hours in front of a computer screen or a car windshield, makes it particularly vulnerable to problems such as: cervical osteoarthritis, cervical rib, cervical spondylosis, locked neck, neck rigidity, neck swelling, torticollis (wry neck), whiplash injury, and others.

A lot of neck pain arises from holding a poor posture during a long-term activity, there are some easy fixes you can do to avoid the problem in the first place.

neckpain

A lot of neck pain arises from holding a poor posture during a long-term activity, there are some easy fixes you can do to avoid the problem in the first place.
Try the following techniques:
When you do something in a seated position for a long period, place a pillow in your lap and place your hand work on top of it, this will relieve your neck of the strain of bending.
Position your computer screen so that your neck doesn’t have to accommodate it.
Don’t drive with your arm up on the window frame, that position jams the neck.
Watch your posture when you’re on the phone, it should come to your ear, not ear to your phone, and never rest the receiver between.
A lot of neck pain arises from constant muscle tension, practice relaxing your shoulders by letting them drop when they’re bunched around your neck
A gentle massage can work wonders!
You can drink celery juice to ease the pain
Try St John’s wort, since it has sedative and painkilling properties.
If is too late and you are already suffering from neck pain, try Valerian, an herb that can reduce tension and help you to sleep.

From: Home Remedies from a country Doctor from Jay Heinrichs, Dorothy Behlen Heinrichs, and the editors of Yankee Magazine, 2013.
apio

Categories
Fitness

Stretches and Exercises to Improve your Posture!

Stretches and Exercises to Improve your Posture!

Stretches and Exercises to Improve your Posture!

Have you ever noticed that when someone sits or stands the correct way they actually look 10 years younger? Yes, your posture is like a window to our health, much like our eyes are the windows to our souls. It’s a well-known fact that good posture conveys confidence, poise, and leadership skills. But how you look is not as important as how you really are: poor posture often contributes to back and neck pain, tightness, stiffness, and increased injuries among other drawbacks. Thankfully there are many simple exercises and stretches you can incorporate into your daily routine that will align your muscles and body properly allowing efficient movement.

standing-postures

How can you improve your posture?

You can work to improve your posture by practicing corrective strengthening and stretching exercises every day, or at least 2-3 times a week, for 15-20 minutes each time.

posture

1. Strengthen Your Core

It’s important to have a strong core, it will help keep your back healthy and resistant to pain and injury, these muscles hold your body upright, keep your belly in, improve balance, and enable you to move your body with greater control and efficiency.

Core-Muscles-anatomy

• Try these exercises:

  • Crunches
  • Side planks
  • Crunches with twist
  • Standing side bends
  • Plank hold
  • Back extensions
  • Swimming

As you see there are different ways to make your core stronger, and you don’t need a gym for that. You can also try these 6 exercises to strengthen your core using a stability ball.

2. Fix Rounded Shoulders

You can improve your posture by strengthening weak upper back muscles while stretching tight muscles in the chest, shoulders, lats, and hips. As soon as you improve the strength of your upper back your chest will become more flexible and your shoulders will naturally pull back, improving your posture.
• Try these exercises:

  • Reverse dumbbell flys
  • Rows with resistance band
  • Standing chest stretch
  • Torso stretch
  • Standing quad stretch

weak upper back muscles

3. Neutralize Tilted Hips

When viewed from the side, your hips should be neutral and level, it is important to strengthen the weak muscles in your hamstrings, glutes, and abs, while improving the flexibility of your thighs and hip flexors.

• Try these exercises:

  • Bridges
  • Leg curls (with ball)
  • Single leg hamstring flexion (with ball)
  • Standing quad stretch
  • Kneeling quad and hip stretch

4. Retract a Forward Head

Many think the back and shoulders are key to good posture, but the position of your head and neck is just as important. By fixing the tight and weak areas of the neck, your head will once again center itself just above the shoulders, which may decrease chronic neck pain caused by these imbalances.

• Try these exercises:

    • Neck retraction exercise

improve your posture

  • Headrest exercise
  • Neck stretches

Practice these exercises at least 3-4 times per week and you’ll notice the difference within days, to improve your posture it’s also highly beneficial to practice Pilates and Yoga. In this video you can find some beginner yoga poses that will transform your posture:

As your posture improves, you will look younger, thinner, and appear more confident, which is an imprtant step in the journey to health and happiness. You have nothing to lose but bad posture, and some unnecessary pain.
Best Exercises to Improve Your Posture
[Last Updated on May 15th 2014]

Edited 7/30/14