Have your parents ever told you, “If you keep making that face it will stick that way”? While that may not be entirely true of our faces it is more accurate when it comes to our bodies. When we stay in one position our bodies adjust to make that the new normal. Connective tissue grows and cements us into these inefficient postures which creates a cascade of inefficient movement which often leads to pain.
One thing I’m sure everyone has seen if not struggles with themselves is shoulders being rolled forward. Who among us hasn’t seen older people in the grocery store who are so hunched over they are looking at the floor? They didn’t get there overnight. It usually starts small and doing something we all do, like working at a computer for long hours. Your arms are in front of you, your head is often ducked down and more often then not the chair you’re sitting in is not the right height for the desk you’re at. Things like this can be the start of a slew of different problems. Do any of these things sound familiar to you?
Headaches – There are small muscles at the base of the head and top of the neck called suboccipital muscles. They are responsible for starting the movement of your head. They tilt it up and side to side and are very easily strained, especially by having to hold one position for a long time. When these get strained they radiate pain to the head and face.
Neck pain – Our necks are designed to have a wide range of motion. After one hour of sitting at a computer with very little movement you might feel okay. After several hours, you’ll probably start to feel an ache or two. If you do this day after day the pain can become chronic. The further our heads go forward the harder the muscles in the back of our necks have to work. It’s like holding an 8 pound bowling ball: when you’re holding it close to your body it’s easy but the further out you hold it the harder it gets.
Thoracic outlet syndrome – This is a condition that usually manifests as pain in the hands and arms. It is often caused by problems in the scalene muscles. Having a head and shoulders in a forward position shortens these muscles. Poor posture and tension in these muscles can pinch nerves that affect our arms and hands.
Now for the good news! Poor posture is not always something you have live with. It’s true that longer you go without addressing it the harder it is to fix. Massage, fascial work, and acupuncture can help to address underlying causes. By helping to bring the soft tissue back into proper alignment you can retrain your body to move more efficiently. Pain is often optional, why not do something about it? Get some help and schedule an appointment today or check out our library of posture assessment videos!