posture

  • 5 ways to improve your posture and ease back pain

    5 ways to improve your posture & relieve back pain

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    We all start off like this but something starts to wrong soon after we start school but we can do something ourselves to restore some of our natural poise by noticing our postural habits. Here are some useful tips to sit better and improve your overall posture.


    #1 What type of chair are you sitting on? 

    I prefer a plain old stool, Chair backs make you lazy and stop your postural muscles in your back from working.

    #2 Locate your sitting bones and use them!

    While sitting slide your hand underneath your bottom and locate the two nobbley bits - these are your sitting bones and form the basis of the support for your upper body when sitting. Now slump, what do you notice (you are no longer sitting on your sitting bones). So find your sit bones again - you will probably feel more balanced and poised and on your way to better posture.

    Improved posture

    #3 Wear your invisible crown

    invisible crown


    Think that you are wearing an invisible crown and think into the top of your head as your spine lengthens towards the crown of your head. Alternatively you could think of the upper molars (the teeth at the back) coming away from your sitting bones. You may get a sense of your torso lengthening at this point.

    #4 Notice where your feet are

    Are your feet tucked under the chair or your legs crossed? We all know these are bad habits, but seriously they are bad habits which may cause us to overarch our lower spine as we need our legs and feet to help support the weight of our upper body.

    #5 Notice any tension in your shoulders

    Observe any tension in your shoulders and allow them to soften. Slumping causes us to have rounded shoulders and a rounded upper torso, which ultimately can develop into a dowagers hump.

    ladies curved spine1 1024x574


    So to recap, we now know we have sit bones, so try using them more. Why not put a post it note on the edge of your computer screen to remind you. We can think into our invisible crown and notice if our shoulders are opening out naturally or are they rounded or raised.
    Apply these basic skills and you are on your way to having better posture.


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  • Essential tips for home workers during Covid19 to avoid the pain of poor posture

    Essential tips for home workers during Covid19 to avoid the pain of poor posture

    During these troubled times a lot of us are home working. At work we will have probably had an HSE assessment for our workstation and maybe we have had special chairs or equipment provided to help us sit more comfortably then suddenly we were told we had to work from home a few weeks ago leaving all these aids behind. Now you have been working from home for a few weeks maybe you are starting to experience neck or shoulder pain because you are not sitting comfortably.

    So here are 5 tips on how to improve your posture when sitting at a computer.

    #1 What kind of chair are you sitting on?
    I prefer a plain old stool. Chair backs make you lazy and stop your back muscles from working properly. If we use a chair with lots of lumber support this doesn't help strengthen your back muscles, so when we do other activities we already have weaknesses in our back. It's no wonder we are prone to slipped discs when we attempt a spot of gardening or DIY. A useful tool I show my clients is the use of a foam wedge to sit on. This encourages a more upright posture and is a good investment rather than buying a posh office chair.

    Foam wedge for sitting#2 Notice where your feet are

    Are your feet tucked under the chair? Are your legs crossed? We all know these are bad habits, but they are seriously bad habits that can cause overarching in the lower spine. You need your legs and feet to help support the weight of your upper body so place them flat on the floor.

    #3 Locate your sitting bones and use them!

    Sit bones

      When seated slide your hand underneath your bottom and locate the two knobbly bits - these are your sitting      bones and form the basis of the support for your upper body when sitting. Now slump, what do you notice (you    are no longer sitting on your sitting bones?). Find your sit bones again - you will probably feel more balanced      and poised and on your way to better posture.

     

     

     

     


    #4 Wear your invisible crown

     always wear your invisible crown 5

    Imagine you are wearing an invisible crown and think into the top of your head as your spine lengthens towards the crown of your head. Alternatively you could think of the upper molars (the teeth at the back) moving away from your sitting bones. You may get a sense of your torso lengthening at this point.

    #5 Notice any tension in your shoulders

    Your arms and shoulders work more efficiently when you are sitting upright. The arm is a ball and socket joint that hangs beneath the shoulder girdle. Let your arms hang down to the side of you. Observe any tension in your shoulders and allow them to soften. Slumping causes us to have rounded shoulders and a rounded upper torso, which can develop into a dowagers hump.
    Now think about the hands leading the arms towards your desk and the computer. Practice initially with the palms of your hands on the desk, think about your shoulders softening, releasing any tension you may have and let the elbows hang down. Turn your attention back to your sitting bones and feel the support of the chair - think about your torso lengthening. You are now ready to start work.
    If you need to lean over your desk it's useful to know where your hip joint is. Most people think it's to the side of the pelvis when it's actually where your trouser pocket is. This is not only where we bend but we can also use this joint to maintain an upright posture and straight back when sitting. So to lean forward go over the hip joint keeping a nice straight back.

    Improved sitting   A quick recap
      * You have sit bones so use them more. Why not put a post it note on the edge of your computer screen to remind you.
      * Think into your invisible crown and notice if your shoulders are opening out naturally or if they're rounded or raised. Allow       them to soften.
      * Apply these basic skills and you'll soon be on your way to having better posture.

                And in the words of Alexander

                         Its not the furniture its how you use yourself FM   

  • Walking - a lesson in observation

    Walking - a lesson in observation

    It's a beautiful summers day today but how many people have taken the time or have the awareness to observe the little things going on around them?

    Most people from my experience of asking where they look and have their vision directed will probably be looking no more than 30 feet in front and for a lot of people it will be a great deal closer than that. Why I often ask and they reply that they need to see what they are walking on and where they are going to take their steps, there is a fear of falling, tripping or standing in something unwanted. I then counter this by suggesting that the only way you can actually see where you are going to place your feet is by directly looking down at our feet which is very difficult and none of us want to do that.

    So what is actually going on when we are walking. Our eyes act as receptors for the brain and take in information which then used to adapt to where we walk and our balance or propreoception also adapts to changes in the surface so minor adjustments are made to how we walk. Now this can be done by looking 30 feet in front or 100 feet in front of us as the brain is still taking in the information and processing it and making corrections or changes as required.

    As I have previously discussed in other blogs the head is very heavy (about 10-14lbs) and if you lower your vision and drop your head this will put a huge strain on the muscles supporting your neck and be a potential cause of neck pain. So next time you are out walking try being more aware of your surroundings notice where the focus of your vision is and be more attentive.

    In terms of how we walk there is no correct way to walk but there are ways to improve our fluidity and balance when walking. So here are a few pointers. Firstly, think of your support from the ground, the soles of your feet, sense your socks in your shoes and really let the ground support you. From this base we can think obout the support that our skeleton gives us - up the shins, up the thighs, through the pelvis and up the spine to the crown of the head and including the space above our head. When we are walking it is important that we maintain our true height, often people enter a purposeful "stoop" as soon as they walk (not a good look!). Rather than taking large srides, try shortening your stride a bit as large strides can create a shock through your heels and up through your knees. Try thinking of the back foot rolling from the heel towards your toes as your weight shifts forwards resulting in a spring off the bendy part of your foot. As you spring off your back foot think tall. Try this walking slowly at first maybe barefoot in the house and as you speed up just let your arms swing naturally with the rythmm of your walking. If your arms don't swing it probably means there is some stiffness somewhere and you are hindering your movement to some degree.

    So give this a go and remember in walking there is no right or wrong just habit.