Do you have the “Slumpies”? Yes, the slumpies! This is our pet-word for bad posture and an unsupported spine. I would have to say that 7 out of 10 people that I see who want to start a fitness program have the slumpies to some degree. Considering the fact that bad posture permeates into almost of all our other bodily functions (breathing, organ function, joint function) the prevalence of bad posture or possessing the slumpies is at alarming levels. But, what can we do about it? I’m so glad you asked : )
If are you experiencing lower back pain, neck pain or pain in your arms and legs without any obvious causes?
It could be your posture.
At Spectrum Therapy & Fitness, good and well compensated posture is the basis of our fitness and rehabilitation programs. It’s important to take the time for your posture to be properly assessed and associated with any known causes such as repetitive movements at a job or work, athletic movements, training methods, or just being a professional ” sitter”. If you sit for a living, we need to talk!!
Our bodies have remarkable adaptive capabilities to almost any environment, and yes, I’m saying this like it’s a bad thing!! Our bodies will adapt to prolonged sitting by shortening our hip musculature (hip flexors and hamstrings) and essentially turn us into a virtual Yogi who practices fitting into a 3 by 3 foot box. You get the picture right?? Of course if you’re not very active and are trotting along life on your merry way, you may not suffer the negative adaptations of poor posture, maybe? However, if you experience shoulder pain, neck pain, knee pain, lower back pain, trouble with breathing, and have the stride length of an earthworm (how am I doing so far?) with no apparent injury or traumatic event to call a cause, then postural restoration may be in the cards for you! Ok, in a minute, I’m going to get a little “sciency” , but don’t worry, it won’t last long. Before I get to the sciency part, I want to let you know that I can help you correct your poor posture and dysfunctions that are caused by the slumpies.
(Ok, here’s the sciency stuff) : ( )
Research shows that certain posture types (Upper and Lower Crossed Syndromes) are predisposed to dysfunctional movement patterns, injuries, spinal degeneration, and of course common aches and pains. These syndromes are essentially muscles groups thrown into imbalance stemming from poor posture.
The following illustrations show how the spine and related joint movements suffer under the stress of gravity when out of alignment, particularly in the intervertebral discs (like jelly donuts in between your vertebrae) which then generate the sensations of back pain.
Upper Crossed Syndrome
Upper Crossed Syndrome – UCS involves two significant lines delineating a “tight line and a “weak line”.
The combination of short and tight facilitated muscles, in this case, your levator scapulae and upper trapezius muscles, (upper neck and shoulder muscles) along with stretched out weak-inhibited muscles allow the inevitable gravitational collapse of the trunk onto itself. This collapse then leaves the head in a forward and stressful position (as illustrated in figure) which can degrade and crunch the joints in the neck, shoulder, and thoracic spine to injury or worse (surgery)
Lower Crossed Syndrome
In this dysfunction, there is a line that crosses from the lower back to the front of the lower pelvis demonstrating a “tight-line”, while the weak line connects the abdominals and gluteal muscles. (see image).The pictures (left) illustrate how the weak muscles (abdominals and gluteal muscles) allow the pelvis to rotate forward thereby, increasing the stress on the lower back and its joints.
In addition, weak or shortened abdominal muscles (caused from doing too many crunches or training your abdominals inappropriately) pulls the rib cage down towards the pelvis and consequently permits the chest wall to descend creating a upper-body slumped down and a swayed lower back and anterior-rotated pelvis (picture on the right of the 3 different postural presentations). (This explanation is for the sciency or engineer-like minded people that want to appreciate what’s going on in the body)
These conditions are proven recipes for injuries and degeneration of the upper and lower extremities.
Proven benefits of good posture:
- You’ll enjoy good spinal movements without pain and degeneration.
- You won’t suffer associated nerve compression pain or degeneration touted by chiropractors that can compromise muscle, joint, and organ dysfunction.
- Your appearance will be deceptively natural and beautiful with good posture.
- No more headaches, neck pain, lower back pain…..you get the point!!
- Your clothes will look better on you.
- You won’t develop associated joint pain (shoulder impingements, patella-femoral syndrome (knee-cap pain).
- You won’t have to think about how you move in your activities or sports. This is what we call “flow”.
- There’s much more benefits to having good posture, but I’m hungry and I’m going to have lunch!
Thanks for getting this far. I hope the sciency stuff wasn’t too thick to get through. If you have any questions about your own posture or just in general, feel free to send me an email at: firstname.lastname@example.org, and I will glad to help you out.
Yours in health and fitness,