All posts in Posture

Working out incorrectly!?

I was in Las Vegas the other day at a Chiropractic convention and I spent some morning time in the hotel gym. Ninety percent of the people in the gym were using machines… I was really disappointed so few people were using free weights. I advocate free weights and kettlebells. It was like being in the Matrix Gym on Westwood Blvd. in 1985. 

People moved along very slowly and took long breaks between sets. I advocate very short breaks between sets, usually 20-30 seconds. One minute is a long break for me.

I did not see anyone really pushing heavy resistance. I saw lots of people doing 20 reps at a time. I advocate lifting heavy enough resistance so that the 6th or 7th rep is the max. I want to see people build muscle to increase there resting metabolic rate. 

I saw lots of people doing cardio – the treadmills, ellip and bike machines were busy. So when clients ask me “How did I get this pain?” I ask them “How many hours do you sit at work?”  If they sit at work and have  a desk job, they probably sit in awkward or slumped postures (for 8-10 hours a day). These people don’t need to sit on a cycle machine, and then sit on more machines and exercise – and they don’t need to do  bench presses and curls. 

Working all day in a seated position results in short hip flexors, short pecs, and short biceps. This is the exact posture that causes most clients to suffer from so much neck and back pain.

So if you are going to spend time in the gym, your objective should be to reverse the effects of hours of sitting, and hours of poor posture and lack of a variety of movement. Don’t magnify the poor posture by picking exercises that you are sitting down in. Get up on your feet… do exercises that strengthen the muscles that keep the shoulders back, not the ones
that pull them forward. We need more rowing-type exercises to strengthen the muscles that pull the shoulder blades back.

I did not see one person in the entire gym of a BIG hotel connected to the convention center stretching. Who are these people getting advice from? If you sit all day you better be spending time stretching out your hip flexors. 

If you want to look good as you age avoid forward head posture and rounded shoulders. Work the back side with rows and pulls, because those muscles are the ones responsible for making sure that you stand erect.

Next time you see me in the gym…let’s talk!

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Posture – My Thoughts

1. In a nutshell, what causes bad posture? Americans spend an average of eight to ten hours each day at work. During our work time, we often sit unconsciously in improper body positions and engage in repetitive movements that create muscle imbalances leading to poor posture; poor self esteem; psychological distress & depressive symptoms; lack of a variety of movement in our activities of daily living; overall poor flexibility.
2. What negative effects does poor posture have on the body? “To live a long, active, energetic life, few things matter more than good posture” – American Journal of Pain Management;  Nerves get abnormal tension placed on them and can cause inefficiencies within the neuomusculoskeletal system; muscle imbalances and joint dysfunctions associated with poor posture can create areas of too much motion in certain spinal segments causing instability. These areas may then wear out prematurely, while other areas may have too little motion in the spine causing range of motion/mobility dysfunctions; anytime we have an asymmetry in the body we are more susceptible to injury – overactive muscles vs underactive muscles can cause asymmetry; poor posture can cause incoordination of muscles and balance systems of the body;  I think one of the reasons actors and actresses have “presence” when they walk into a room is because many of them have been trained in proper posture. 
3. How does one start to improve their posture? Look at the foot/ankle for pronation issues and use an insert or orthotic if necessary – this can help improve gait and posture; improve faulty breathing patterns, especially paradoxical breathing; improve your balance by training it – for example, standing on one leg while maintaining good posture is a simple exercise maneuver; Engage in consistent use of the foam roll to provide self-myofascial release and self massage; stretch overactive (tight) muscles; perform isolated muscle strengthening of weak muscles and movement patterns; use bodyweight, free weight or kettlebells to perform whole body exercises; consult with a practitioner who understands the concepts of good posture – when I teach other doctors, I call this being the “muscle whisperer” – understand what the muscles are saying while performing a posture evaluation. 
4. What are the top 3 things to remember when attempting to improve your posture? 1. Become aware of the things that you are doing, even the things that you don’t even know you are doing that are contributing (harming) to your posture. 2. Think of staying in a ‘tall spine’ posture (while sitting, standing, exercises); take frequent breaks from siting and use the Brugger’s postural relief position as one of the those style of breaks 3. Know what it feels like to be in proper posture alignment and frequently try to duplicate that feeling – sometimes clients don’t even know what good posture feels like and looks like.    
 
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Theraband Stretch Strap

I use the Stretch Strap to improve joint mobility, muscular flexibility and fascial, vascular and neurological extensibility.

 It’s important to check functional movement patterns then, target the tight and short muscles as opposed to long and tight muscles. One of the goals of treatment is to reprogram range of motion around the joints and help accomplish effective movement patterns.

 Proper muscle inhibition and muscle lengthening sets the foundation for skillful movements. Patients are willing to spend more time on stretching maneuvers when they use the Stretch Strap. This improves flexibility and has a strong effect on restoration of function and on relief of pain. We must remove as much of the limited mobility as possible. Then relearn the levels of stability.

The Stretch Strap is a powerful, fun, tool that helps my clients improve posture, flexibility, body awareness, coordination, and balance.

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Association between screen time and back pain and headaches

This study included 31,022 teens from Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Greenland and Norway who were part of the Health Behavior in School-Aged Children study. Teens reported how much time they spent playing computer-based or television-based games, how much time they spent on the computer and how much time they spent watching TV. They were also asked about the frequency of headaches, backaches and bouts of feeling low.

Researchers found a consistent but weak link between boys who reported having backaches weekly and those who said they spent more time using computers, watching television and playing computer games. For girls, a link was found between those who had headaches and who also said they spent more time on the computer and watching TV. The results held even when the researchers adjusted for levels of physical activity.

The study’s authors think that the link between back and head pain and screen time might not be related to the kind of screen activity the teens were engaged in, but to the amount of time they spent doing it and how they sat or stood while screen-engaged.

Over my 28 years in practice I have seen more back pain, neck aches, neck-shoulder pain and headache in the adolescent population.

Excess amounts of screen time have also been associated with obesity in young people.

The study was published in the journal BMC Public Health

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Posture

I was recently asked to answer these four question about posture for Delicious Living Magazine based in Boulder, CO.  
1. In a nutshell, what causes bad posture? Americans spend an average of eight to ten hours each day at work. During our work time, we often sit unconsciously in improper body positions and engage in repetitive movements that create muscle imbalances leading to poor posture; poor self esteem; psychological distress & depressive symptoms; lack of a variety of movement in our activities of daily living; overall poor flexibility.
2. What negative effects does poor posture have on the body? “To live a long, active, energetic life, few things matter more than good posture” – American Journal of Pain Management;  Nerves get abnormal tension placed on them and can cause inefficiencies within the neuomusculoskeletal system; muscle imbalances and joint dysfunctions associated with poor posture can create areas of too much motion in certain spinal segments causing instability. These areas may then wear out prematurely, while other areas may have too little motion in the spine causing range of motion/mobility dysfunctions; anytime we have an asymmetry in the body we are more susceptible to injury – overactive muscles vs underactive muscles can cause asymmetry; poor posture can cause incoordination of muscles and balance systems of the body;  I think one of the reasons actors and actresses have “presence” when they walk into a room is because many of them have been trained in proper posture. 
3. How does one start to improve their posture? Look at the foot/ankle for pronation issues and use an insert or orthotic if necessary – this can help improve gait and posture; improve faulty breathing patterns, especially paradoxical breathing; improve your balance by training it – for example, standing on one leg while maintaining good posture is a simple exercise maneuver; Engage in consistent use of the foam roll to provide self-myofascial release and self massage; stretch overactive (tight) muscles; perform isolated muscle strengthening of weak muscles and movement patterns; use bodyweight, free weight or kettlebells to perform whole body exercises; consult with a practitioner who understands the concepts of good posture – when I teach other doctors, I call this being the “muscle whisperer” – understand what the muscles are saying while performing a posture evaluation. 
4. What are the top 3 things to remember when attempting to improve your posture? 1. Become aware of the things that you are doing, even the things that you don’t even know you are doing that are contributing (harming) to your posture. 2. Think of staying in a ‘tall spine’ posture (while sitting, standing, exercises); take frequent breaks from siting and use the Brugger’s postural relief position as one of the those style of breaks 3. Know what it feels like to be in proper posture alignment and frequently try to duplicate that feeling – sometimes clients don’t even know what good posture feels like and looks like.    
 
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‘Round back’ or ‘humped’ back treatment protocol

Spinal extension exercises prevent natural progression of kyphosis.

Ball et al.

Department of Physical Therapy Education, School of Allied Health, University of Kansas Medical Center, Kansas, KS, USA.

Abstract

The angle of kyphosis increases with age with the most rapid increase occurring between 50 and 60 years. The progression of kyphosis was prevented in women ages 50-59 years who performed extension exercises three times a week for one year. INTRODUCTION: The purpose of this study was to (1) measure the progression of the angle of kyphosis with age and (2) determine whether spinal extension exercises prevent progression of hyperkyphosis in women 50-59 years of age. METHOD: Part 1: Cross-sectional study of changes in posture with age, determined by measuring spinal curves in 250 women 30-79 years of age. Part 2: One-year prospective, descriptive analysis of the effect of extension exercises on posture in women 50-59 years of age. Depth of the cervical curve (CD), area under the thoracic curve (TA), and height were measured using a device developed at Kansas University Medical Center. Changes in CD and TA in women compliant with extension exercises were compared to those in non-compliant women. RESULTS: Kyphosis increases with age in healthy women, with the greatest difference observed between women 50 and 59 years of age. The progression of kyphosis was greater in women who did not perform extension exercises compared to those who performed extension exercises three times per week for 1 year. The difference in change in CD and TA between the two groups was highly significant (CD p = .0001, TA p = .0001). CONCLUSIONS: Kyphosis increases with age in healthy women. In this study the greatest difference in the angle of kyphosis was observed between the fifth and sixth decade. Exercises which strengthen the extensor muscles of the spine can delay the progression of hyperkyphosis in the group included in this study, i.e., women 50-59 years of age.

 

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Tight muscles and resolving pain

These muscles when tight are often implicated in causing musculoskeletal pain:

TFL…QL…Piriformis

Lumbar muscles & hamstrings

Levator scapulae/upper trapezius

Sternocleidomastoid

Pectoralis minor/major

Thigh adductors

Iliopsoas

Calfs

You have to learn how to stretch these muscles. Good flexibility improves posture, ergonomics and resolves pain. Our bodies have a tendency to allow certain muscles to tighten up and that affects our posture. This list of muscles show a tendency towards tightness and being overactive in movements.

I recommend static stretches for these muscles. Two reps of 30 second holds each.

For nutrition of tight muscles I  recommend Metagenics Wellness Essential JOINT FOCUS (2 packets daily) and additional high doses of omega 3 fish oils. I usually suggest the Metagenics EPA-DHA 720’s.

Order at www.DrJeffreyTucker.meta-ehealth.com

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