Our American lifestyle lends itself to a lot of bad posture and forward flexion, the cause of many musculoskeletal dysfunctions and injury down the road. As we slouch in our chairs and couches, with our heads craned forward at computer screens, smart phones, steering wheels, our body is slowly brought forward. This postural shift results in muscles either lengthened and weakened or shortened and tight, pulling many of our joints and body mechanics out of alignment.
One way to combat these problems is to simply stop relying on our chairs for ALL of our support. Bring your back off of the chair and arms off of the armrests, making sure your feet are both planted on the ground with your hips and knees at 90 degrees. If you are unable to achieve this posture due to the seat height, adjust where you can. Make accommodations to your seating, such as placing a small stool or book under your feet – an old phone book works wonders! It’s also important to bring your head back so it is aligned over your shoulders. If someone were to look at you from the side, your ear should line up over the edge of your shoulder.
Due to this life in flexion, the most common weakness arises in the middle back. This instability can cause neck, back, or shoulder pain down the road. One exercise everyone should know to combat this are scapular retractions. While seated with good posture, as listed in the previous paragraph, bring your shoulders back as if you are trying to pinch your shoulder blades together.
These are two simple suggestions that can alleviate some discomfort, however if you are suffering from any pain during your day and these two suggestions have not successfully relieved the issue, find a local Physical Therapist to identify the culprit of your concerns. In Ohio, Physical Therapy is direct access, meaning that a physician referral is not required to see a Physical Therapist.