“Stand up tall! Don’t slouch!” – Everyone’s mama.
It’s true though! You hear about how important posture is, but we all sit, drive, and walk around like apes, and then wonder why our backs, necks, and shoulders ache after a long day at work. Although it may feel a bit goofy and uncomfortable at first, it’s so important to start sitting up and standing up straight, especially if you’re at a desk all day! I sat down with my good friend Sasha Moe, who rehabilitates ballerinas, football players, and everything in between, and she gave me a few tips on how to prevent aches and pains in my thirties and beyond!
If there is not an adequate lumbar support in your chair, you can make one using a rolled up towel, tied with tape or rubber bands (see below). Or order one that has an elastic backing to stay on the chair like this McKenzie roll for $15 on Amazon!
Keep your abs and powerhouse engaged while sitting and standing to stabilize pelvis and spine (aka taking pressure off of spine). To engage your core, pull your belly button to your spine, lower your ribs, and scoop your belly in. Sounds weird, but try it right now! I bet you feel better already! :)
Most of us sit with a rounded shoulders and forward head posture. Instead, pull your shoulder blades down and back like you are pulling them down into your back pockets. Keep your head up by pretending there is a string pulling your head straight up and think nostrils horizontal to ground. Length the back of your neck and SMILE DUDE! You’re being proactive against aches and pains!
Habits are hard to make and/or break :: changing postures is a habit :: it will take a while but worthwhile in the end!
Aleksandra Oksengendler Moe PT, DPT works at the Illinois Bone & Joint Institute located on 150 N. Michigan Ave. Suite 1400, Chicago, IL 60601