Do you ever feel like your lower back tighten up while you are sitting or standing for any length of time?
This is unfortunately too common and as it turns out quite costly. According to the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation between 1996-2016 treatments for lower back and neck pain cost nearly $77 billion by private insurance, $45 billion by public insurance, and $12 billion out of pocket by patients themselves in the U.S.
Those numbers likely don't include over-the-counter medications and some non-medical treatments for pain.
While injury, surgery, and other physical trauma can be sources of back discomfort there are many lifestyle or habit-driven activities that over time can be the main driver of back pain, tightness, and discomfort.
Let's start with an easy not-so-easy....posture.
We often receive the question, 'what is good posture'. There is definitely a bit of a debate about it. Last week we looked at the forward head position commonly today is known as 'tech neck'.
Today we will work our way down the spine to the upper and midback, known as the thoracic area of the spine. A common cue or directive you may have been given from a young age is to sit or stand up straight. This may have included 'lift your chest', 'pull your shoulder down and back.'
These directions were well-meaning. No one wanted you to look like a slouch or develop a hump in your back. The fact is, that often with repeated use of these cues over time we can start to change the natural posture of our spine. If you look at the picture of the spine below the spine has gentle curves throughout. The curve in the upper and middle back actually sways back creating what is called a kyphosis versus the low back which curves the opposite way into a...
Many clients are when they ask, 'what is good posture?'
This question usually follows a session when we have been working on body position during exercise, and the cues we have been using seem to feel good in their body and are counterintuitive to what they have been told their whole lives.
Do you remember being told to stand up straight, pull your shoulders back, lift your chest, pull your abs in, squeeze your glutes, or something similar?
Many of us have become very good at any or all of the above. So good that we use these same cues when exercising, standing, sitting, driving, etc.
So what is the problem with this type of posture?
There are a few things, and some of them are pretty big!
Give it a try. Lift your chest, pull your shoulder back, squeeze your glutes and try to take a breath. Now let that...