Have you ever tried sitting or standing “straight” to correct your posture? It’s almost impossible to maintain it isn’t it? In no time you find yourself slumped over again.
The reason it’s hard to straighten up out of this forward slump and to hold a more upright position with any ease at all, is that for most people the back muscles that support the spine are too weak and in the case of the upper body, the pectoral muscles at the front of the body are too tight.
In other words the muscles in your back are not strong enough to hold you up and the muscles at the front are so tight that they keep pulling you forward into that rounded posture again; when you try to straighten up, the muscles to support a more upright position are too weak and too tight to allow it.
Over time some individuals develop a rounded upper back, kyphosis, which is often accompanied by neck, shoulder and back pain and stiffness.
What causes it:
Some of the contributing factors to poor posture include slouching, long periods of time looking at our electronic devices in a slouched position, and holding tension in the shoulders with a forward rounded stance. Certain professions can also contribute to this, like the dentist who is hunched over his patients for hours at a time every day for years.
In severe cases an individual may eventually find it difficult to walk and get out of chairs. The spinal curvature can also make it difficult to gaze upward or drive and cause pain when laying down.
The good news is that this is a condition that can be reversed by strengthening your back muscles and gently easing into stretches for the shoulders and pectoral muscles of the front. Some retraining of how to sit and stand with greater ease is also necessary but I assure you that it is possible. View my other articles for more tips on this topic.
Here are a few of my favorite postures to reduce a rounded upper back:
1. Bridge pose with both arms overhead as you lift the pelvis off the floor. This stretches the upper back and neck and across the front of the body, shoulders.
2. Sunbird - strengthens the spinal muscles
If you would like my help with neck, upper body shoulder pain please give me a call to discuss your situation.