Postural deviations have long been known to set off a chain reaction of chronic pain and interference of range of motion in training. Despite this quite obvious inconvenience, very little is done to correct these alignment issues; a process which, although requires discipline, is actually relatively straight forward.
Two of the most common postural issues are kyphosis (excessive flexion of the thoracic spine, or hunchback) and rounded shoulders.
The aforementioned issues usually arise from an increase in sedentary and office life where the upper spine is flexed over a laptop for hours on end due to the core muscles that align the spine’s inability to keep us upright for a long period of time. This also occurs from spending long hours in a car, as well as overdominance of the anterosuperior muscles; mainly the Pectorals, Anterior Deltoids and Biceps. Over time, this can lead to lower back pain, neck pain, shoulder impingements and excessive lumbar curve during overhead activities. All of which can leave the subject in pain and discomfort for weeks, months or even years.
Breaking the habit and addressing the cause of the issues is always the preferred approach, although indirect methods have shown positive results. Although surgical methods are necessary in severe cases, through postural awareness and exercises, substantial improvements can be made. Standing desks and conscious spinal control in seated positions can help to strengthen the muscles in the spine and develop a subconscious improvement in maintaining an erect spine. A daily mobility routine is necessary to release the biceps, latissimus dorsii and the pectorals, particularly the pectoralis minor which pulls the shoulders forward. The mobility work should include the use of static and dynamic stretching, myofascial release and massage. Finally, improving the development of the posterior spinal and scapular muscles through thoracic extension and pulling motions respectively are imperative for counteracting the natural forward pull of the front of the body. A posterior-anterior ratio of 1.5/2:1 should be maintained when programming exercises for clients with rounded shoulders and/or kyphosis.
These postural issues have become increasingly prevalent in recent times, yet the implications thereof seem to be ignored. Taking a proactive approach to avoiding a rounded spine should be common in the workplace. It’s important to take regular breaks from seated positions to stand/walk or stretch.
At SG23 we help clients condition their bodies to deal with the stressors of everyday life as well as in their sport. Contact us now to find out how we can help you.