Piedmont Triad Living October 2016 - Page 23

Assess your upper neck mobility by attempting to bring your chin to chest. They should be no more that 2 fingers apart.

PROBLEM #4: A SLOUCHED BACK THAT LEADS TO NECK AND ARM PAIN

I imagine this posture settles in during the teenage years. Teenagers grow so fast, their muscles sometimes have trouble keeping up, and when prolonged sitting is added to the equation, it simply becomes easier to slouch forward. For someone like me who measures in at 6’2”, I can totally relate to this one. This also tends to be a big one for the cyclists out there.

Excessively rounding your mid back will take its toll on your neck.

The problem with the slouched back is this: no matter how much you hunch over, your gaze is likely still affixed straight ahead. This means that the more you curve your mid back, the greater you must curve your neck in the opposite direction to compensate. This often parks the neck at the end of its range of motion for prolonged periods causing neck to middle back pain, and in worst cases, nerve pain in the shoulder, forearm and even the hand.

If you find yourself in this posture regularly, don’t stress too much. Try to get some good quality time bending your back in the opposite direction throughout the day to alleviate some of the stress. Think about some downward dog, cobra pose, or gently bend over the back of the chair. If you have the mobility, but simply can’t hold the posture, I see some back strengthening in your future.

Seated extension over a chair-back can provide a good stretch to those with a tight back.

PROBLEM #5: CORE WEAKNESS THAT LEADS TO EXAGGERATED SITTING POSTURES

Somewhere between core weakness and poor mobility in the lower back, I find my patients will fall into two categories. The first group are those who regularly perform a ‘sacral sitting’ posture when your butt is on the edge of the chair and you lean back almost to the point of reclining. The latter group, I find sit for prolonged periods with the lower back arched excessively, often excessively erect or upright.

The sacral sitters tend to have little core activation while sitting, and often suffer more pain related to walking and/or running due to poor stability of the pelvis. The second group tends to over-arch as a means of relying on bony anatomy for postural support, rather than using their muscles. This tends to result in centralized and sharp low back pain.

Similar to the aforementioned neck, the best functional posture for the low back is in a neutral anatomical position. The spine is made up of a very flexible system of interconnected joints, however, it functions best, and requires less compression when it is neutrally postured.

To address this, I often teach my patients what neutral posture actually feels like. I have them start by excessively arching their lower back while sitting, followed by excessively rounding it. After repeating this several times, I tell them to stop somewhere halfway. It’s that simple. If you can’t hold your back in this position for long, you likely would benefit from some core endurance training.

By Dr. Allan Buccola Impetus Physical Therapy

located at Revolution Mill

Greensboro, NC

(336) 772-2045

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