Biomechanics Healthcare's Blog

Do You Slump?

28th February 2013

Do You Slump?

One of the more common complaints I see in my consultations is that of bad posture.

6000 years ago humans made the amazing feat of standing upright, yet it almost seems that we're doing everything in our power to bring ourselves back down again, especially in the last 50 years. Chairs, computers, laptops, phones, tablets are primarily to blame for this. Without even having to think about it, constant use of these everyday devices are naturally pulling us in to a slumped position. The problem is that we can't stop using these things; many of our jobs depend on using them, and who doesn't like to keep up with the latest technology?

Why is it bad?

Slumping forwards - even if it's just a little, changes the way in which your body holds itself. As your centre or gravity shifts forward the more force there is pulling you forwards, which means the more your muscles have to work to stop you from slamming your head in to your desk!

In addition to this, structures such as you discs and ligaments will also be experiencing an increase in force.

The result - neck pain, upper/lower back pain, headaches to name a few. Typically the pain will worsen as the day goes on and the supporting structures of your body fatigue.

How we can stop it?

Stop slumping! Well that is easier said than done isn’t it? Here are some ideas which can help you sit up straight again.

  • Pull your shoulders back.
  • Place a rolled up towel in between your lumbar area and the chair.
  • Sit on a Swiss ball (slumping makes it harder to stay on the ball).
  • Tuck your chin in. This will subtly cause other parts of your body to adjust around it.
  • Pretend you have a piece of string pulling you upward from the top of your head.
  • Tighten your core muscles.

I must emphasise that you really need to be persistent to be able to automatically sit upright. Remember, over many years you’ve gradually trained yourself to slump, now you have to retrain yourself to sit upright – it takes time.

Want more ideas? This website has an exhaustive list of ways to improve standing, sitting, driving & sleeping posture.

http://www.spine-health.com/wellness/ergonomics/guidelines-improve-posture

Other ways to reduce posture related pain.

  • Seek out some treatment – Massage, Osteopathy, Physiotherapy, Acupuncture or Chiropractic treatment are all great non-drug ways of relieving you of pain. In addition to relieving your pain your treatment should address areas of tightness (usually in the chest, front of the shoulders and neck) which are assisting your slumping. Your therapist will also usually be able to point out key areas of your problematic posture and give you some guidance in how to improve it
  • Buy an ergonomic chair. Plenty of lumbar support is key here. There are also some chairs on the market which are designed so if you have poor posture, you almost fall off, forcing you to constantly sit upright.
  • Hit the gym! Even if all else fails in your quest to sit upright then strengthening your muscles through your back and neck will make it easier for your body to deal with the fatiguing.
  • Pilates. Pilates concentrates on strengthening your core muscles which will have an automatic effect on you sitting upright.
  • Set your work desk up correctly. I won’t go in to the details but here’s a link to some great information. http://www.wikihow.com/Set-Up-an-Ergonomically-Correct-Workstation
  • Get an App. Seriously, there really is an app for everything isn’t there? http://www.lumoback.com/

Want more information? Visit www.biomechanicshealthcare.com.au or send me an email.

 

Rhys Donovan Biomechanics Healthcare Cronulla. Osteopathy, Massage, Acupuncture, Exercise Physiology.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Article by Rhys Donovan

Owner and Osteopath of Biomechanics Healthcare

Disclaimer: This information is intended as a guide only and not to be taken as proper advice for anyone's specific condition. Always seek professional advice first before attempting to treat your injuries/condition.

 

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