Experiencing neck, back & shoulder pain?
Do you often suffer from headaches and foggy brain?
Do you feel like you look older than your actual age?
If you answered yes to two or more of these questions, we might have a light at the end of the tunnel for you. Most of these problems can be caused by bad posture! Yes, that’s right...having a good posture can change your life in many different ways. But before we get to the solution of the problem, first, let’s understand what happens when you are slouching.
1. Your upper body collapses into your lungs making it difficult for you to breathe deeply, making you feel sleepy, brain fogged and tired.
2. When your posture is not aligned you project your belly out and tuck your bootie in, which gives you a smaller and older look.
3. And last but not least , when you are slouching you project your chin forward and turn your shoulders inwards and up, putting tension on your neck, consequently your neck muscles get tense. All that tension goes up to your head and makes its way down to the eyes causing headaches, stiff neck and shoulder pain.
Now that you are aware of the issues that your body may encounter, let’s move on to the cause. With our modern lives, having a bad posture is almost like a default setting. The use of cellphones, computers, as well as sitting down for too long, are some of the biggest causes for this problem. However, these habits are so imprinted in our lives that “cutting” them out completely is impossible, so we would like to give you a few tips on how to balance out these forces.
Let’s imagine that all day long you are pushing your body forward.
When you are holding your phone down staring at the screen, you are pushing your body down and forward, making your back look like a spoon.
When you are sitting at your desk typing on a computer all day long you are again creating a spoon shape for your back. Even when you are just sitting or standing in the train, you are all curved downwards and forward. So what we suggest is that a few minutes a day you do some exercises that will push your body backwards in the opposite direction. For example:
1. Instead of : Holding your phone below chest or belly height
Try: holding your phone at chin level so it is aligned with your eyes.
2. Instead of : Keeping your computer monitor too low
Try: Keep your monitor in line with your eye level by putting some boxes, books or magazines under it.
3. Instead of : Slouching while sitting down
Try: Imagine a string at the top of your head pulling your spine tall. To help you with that, roll a towel and put it in the middle of your back when you are sitting.
Don’t cross your legs, keep both feet on the ground equally.
4. Instead of : Slouching while standing
Try: Keep both feet equally on the floor and slight apart.
Lastly, the most effective way to correct bad posture habits is with strength and stretching exercises and you will need 2 tools: ER’s resistance bands + a Foam roller.
1- Back stretch using resistance bands:
This movement will help you open your chest and relieve the tightness of your shoulders and back.
1. Standing with feet hips distance apart or sitting on a chair hold your bands in your hands and extend your arms up with your palms facing outside.
2. Open your hands as much as you can comfortably, then slowly bring your hands down to your chest level, keeping it behind your shoulder line.
3. Keep your body straight, shoulder back and as far from your ears as possible and tuck your belly in.
Repeat this movement as many times as you need.
2- Child’s pose
This resting pose stretches and lengthens your spine, gluteus, and hamstrings. The child’s pose helps to release tension in your lower back and neck.
To do this:
1. Sit on your shin bones with your knees together, your big toes touching, and your heels splayed out to the side.
2. Fold forward at your hips and walk your hands out in front of you.
3. Sink your hips back down towards your feet. If your thighs won’t go all the way down, place a pillow or folded blanket under them for support.
4. Gently place your forehead on the floor or turn your head to one side.
5. Keep your arms extended or rest them along your body.
6. Breathe deeply into the back of your rib cage and waist.
7. Relax in this pose for up to 5 minutes while continuing to breathe deeply.
Bridges help strengthen the gluteal and abdominal muscles, which helps relieve excess stress in the lower back.
To do a bridge:
1. Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor.
2. Lift your hips by engaging your core and buttocks muscles. The buttocks and lower back should raise off the ground.
3. Gently lower back down to the starting position.
4- Foam rolling
Before going to bed or as you wake up lie down on your mat, bend your knees with both feet on the floor and place the roller under your shoulder blades. With the weight of your body move up and down massaging your back.
Foam rolling is a self-myofascial release technique that can help relieve muscle tightness, soreness, inflammation and can help increase your joint range of motion.