Workstation, laptop, tablet, cell phone - it's our way of life. Unfortunately, too much of a good thing is, well, a bad thing. As the population becomes increasingly dependent on technology for both work and leisure time, the physical demands of our devises is having a dramatically negative impact on our musculoskeletal systems. Most notably, we are seeing a pattern of pronounced shoulder and trunk rounding. Know also as "upper crossed syndrome"
, the posture is characterized by tightness of the muscles in the front line (pectoralis, upper trapezius, levator scapula), and weakness or inhibition of the posterior muscles (middle and lower trapezius, rhomboid, and deep neck flexors). This muscle imbalance manifests itself as aching pain, and often headache, due to chronically stressing muscles beyond normal tolerances. In my own personal quest to improve my thoracic posture, I wanted to post a series of videos highlighting some exercises that are particularly effective. This first post will focus on increasing mobility in the front line, while future videos will discuss strengthening of the posterior muscles.
Exercise 1: Passive Thoracic Extension
Begin by placing the foam roller perpendicular to your back on the floor. Then while lying over the foam roller with your arms overhead, make very slow passes from your shoulder blades, down to your lower ribs. Take about 10 seconds with each move down the spine to take a few full breaths. This will help to relax any tight muscles - similar to what we do just prior to a chiropractic manipulation of the spine. Spend between 5 and 10 minutes performing this mobility drill.
Exercise 2: Lateral Line Stretch
This drill requires a TRX Suspension Trainer, rings, or a stretching station found at most gyms. While holding the handles of the suspension trainer, drop your hips, and rotate in the same direction as your top hand (rotate to the left if your left hand is on top). You should feel your ribs and lats stretching. Once in a comfortable, but stretching position, take slow, deep breaths to enhance the stretch. Spend about 5 minutes per side.
Exercise 3: Active Trunk Rotation
I hope you found this post helpful. If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to shoot me an email or call me at your favorite Beaverton chiropractic clinic.
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