Somewhere, something went wrong
I never get bored with this image because as they say 'a picture paints a thousand words'. What I want you to focus on in particular is the faulty posture of the head, neck and shoulders. Always remember that this image is also showing a series of highly functional movement patterns and postures. I'm not here to advocate only ever having a fully erect, neutral spine, 24/7. The spine is designed for a series of directional movements such as flexion, extension, lateral bending and rotation. However, most important is HOW LONG you are training your posture to be away from neutral position. Always remember it's the DOSE THAT MAKES THE POISON - even too much water, sleep and exercise becomes negative to the body.
What is Your Daily Postural Investment (DPI)
If you are investing several hours a day behind an office desk then you are teaching your muscles and skeletal system to adapt to a sitting position for that many hours. From my point of view this is dedicated time in which you can pay close attention to your posture and stretching strategies to make the most of the situation. Otherwise there is a greater possibility of matching our friend in the above image sat at his computer (however you may be wearing clothing!). Most important is to ensure you allocate some time in your day to help counteract the typical curved posture that feels most comfortable when seated for prolonged periods. Simple strategies, in order of priority, can include:
1. Posture awareness whilst seated
2. One-to-three minute focused stretching
3. Frequent 'movement' breaks away from your desk
4. Taking dedicated time (20-minutes) every 3-days to strengthen the muscles that become lengthened and weakened due to a seated posture.
Anatomy of the Posterior Shoulder
The rhomboid muscles and neighboring spino-scapula muscles are the most common muscles that I treat day-to-day. Typically, patients arrive with some symptom which may include pain, burning & fatigue in the region of the posterior shoulder and/or headaches and migraines. An essential lesson
here is that these muscles are often the longer-weaker muscles (a.k.a. eccentric tissues) that are being stretched due to improper alignment of the spine and shoulders commonly caused by sitting and sleeping postures. In addition, the anterior shoulder muscles (pectoral, subscapularis and latissimus dorsi) are powerful, short-tight muscles (a.k.a. concentric tissues) that when 'trained' every day for several hours at a time, habitually pull the shoulder forward creating a tug-of-war situation between the anterior and posterior muscles. As the posterior spino-scapula muscles are usually weaker they are stretched more and more, creating a stretch effect through the nerve and blood vessels which in turn communicate pain to the brain to get you to do something to alleviate the unnecessary overload. Application of heat, massage, ball rolling and lying down are usually very effective, in the short-term. For long-term investment though, I highly recommend you invest your time and energy in corrective the positioning of your shoulders, head and neck.
Join me for Part 2 of this article next week and I will share the 4 essential strategies to help realign your head, neck and shoulder posture.
In the meantime, if it's been longer than 6-weeks since your last massage treatment, call me today to schedule your maintenance treatment - 403 589 4645.
Yours In Muscle Health,
Jason Barlow, RMT.