iPosture Generation

Technology can be a wonderful thing. Who would have guessed 15 years ago that we would harness the power of a telephone, camera, and computer in the palm of our hand? In fact, a “smart” phone nowadays has more computing power than NASA had when we first sent humans to the moon! However, technology can also have its draw backs. This article we will be focusing on how technology can play a villainous role in our daily lives.

We see it on a daily basis; people are constantly walking around with a smart phone, tablet, or iPod in their hands, continuously looking down, our shoulders shrug and roll forward, and our back slumps over. This “iPosture” occurs throughout the day with regular occurrence. Sitting at our desks on the computer, driving to and from work or school, even when we think we are relaxing watching TV, we tend to sit in the same bent over position.

Over time, the forces of gravity work to pull us down when we stay in improper posture. These forces cause the muscles and tissue in our upper back to become stretched out and weakened, while the opposite occurs in the front of our body with muscles shortening and becoming stiff. Prolonged exposure to this improper posture leads to decreased range of motion and joint mobility, increased pain, and a lower quality of life.

The Back and Neck Care Center and Aligned Training work together focusing on maximizing the benefits of strengthening the muscles in the upper back and increasing mobility and range of motion throughout the shoulder and thoracic spine. We assess our clients, stretch them, and perform mobility and strengthening exercises to achieve optimal alignment. However, we may not be able to see our clients as much as we would like. Life comes into play a lot of the time, added practices or late nights at the office can decrease the number of times you can make it in for adjustments and training. During the time that our clients are not able to make it in, we want them to continually focus on keeping correct posture and not becoming or reverting back to “crooked man”.

Here are seven easy-to-follow tips and exercises

These can be performed at your desk on a daily / hourly basis to help improve posture and maximize the benefits that have been worked so hard for in the gym and on the chiropractic table.

Aligned Man:

proper alignment and posture is something to be worked on regularly. Every time you check the time (you just did!) sit on the edge of your chair, feet in front of you, and sitting up as tall as possible. Let your arms hang to your sides and rotate your palms so that they are facing outward. Try to hold this position for 20 seconds before resuming your work. This aligned posture helps to combat the time you might spend slumped over.

Move:

Stand up, sit down, go for a walk, look through your bag. Try to move around or fidget throughout the day. Not only will this extra movement take you out of a poor posture, but you will burn a few extra calories as well.

Head Nods:

try to nod your head (slight double chin position) from the upper part of your neck so that you feel a gentle stretch at the base of your skull. Hold the nod for 5 seconds and repeat 10 times.

Upper Trap Stretch:

Sit up nice and tall. Place your right hand behind your back, and use your left hand to gently stretch your neck to the left side. Hold this stretch for 15 seconds and repeat on the opposite side.

Seated Rotations:

Sit tall on a non-rotating chair. Cross your arms and lift your elbows up in front of you. Keeping your abs tight, rotate through your middle back to the right as far as possible and hold for a second. Come back to the middle and then rotate to your left the same way. You want to feel this stretch in the middle back, try your best not to allow your hips to help in the rotation. Rotate to each side 10 times.

Scapular Depression and Retraction:

In the Aligned Man position, pull your shoulder blades back and down towards the middle of your back. Do not allow the shoulders to shrug up near your ears. Try to pinch your shoulder blades together. Hold this position for 6 seconds then relax. Repeat 10 times.


Wrist Extension and Flexion:

Extension: bend your elbow and put pressure on the back of your hand so that your fingers point down. Then extend your elbow until your arm is straight in front of you. Hold this stretch for 15 seconds and repeat on the opposite side.
Flexion: bend your elbow and flex your wrist so that your fingers are pointing up. Place pressure on the front of your fingers, gently pulling back. Extend your arm in front of you, keeping the stretch in the fingers. Hold for 15 seconds and repeat on the opposite side.

These tips may not be the most advanced exercises in the world, but they will help to improve your posture and have you focusing on your alignment more throughout the day. These tips will allow all the gains you have made in the gym to stick around and not be defeated by constantly bad “iposture”. Make sure to get adjusted on a regular basis and get back to the gym 3 times a week, and your aches and pains are sure to go away, while your quality of life will improve.

*The ideas and exercise for this article came from a guest post by Michael J. Mullin, ATC, PTA, PRC on ericcressey.com, as well as Inside-Out: The Ultimate Upper-Body Warm Up by Bill Hartman and Mike Robertson