Updated: Feb 28, 2022
By Zosia Roberts, Chiropractic Intern
If your mom was anything like mine my childhood was a constant reminder to “stand up straight” and “stop slouching”. As much as my teenage self thought it was the most annoying and nagging advice ever, my older and wiser self is wishing I still had that constant reminder to sit up straight and maintain good posture.
My instagram ads have even started targeting me with posture correctors, from crazy wrap around the shoulder contraptions, to posture cuing fabric (yes - built into shirts and bras), to fancy necklaces that buzz when you lazily round forward. These gizmos and gadgets claim to be “quick fixes” all glittery and gleaming, eager to solve your posture woes. Well, I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but I don’t think it’s that easy.
Day in and day out consider your own postural habits
Looking down at your phone
Sitting at a desk for hours on end
Working on the computer
Repetitive tasks in uncomfortable positions
Do any of these sound familiar?
These habits are compounding and every repetition you spend in bad posture strengthens that bad postural habit. So it’s safe to say that it’s going to take more than wearing a fancy necklace that buzzes every time you slouch forward to make improvement.
Fixing your poor posture involves strengthening the weak muscles of your back and lengthening tight and overused muscles of your neck and trunk. This common postural pattern of muscle imbalance is sometimes referred to as upper cross syndrome. Below is an example of the muscle groups that require special attention when working to address posture:
Tight and overused: pectorals, upper trapezius, levator scapulae
Weak: deep neck flexors, lower trapezius, serratus anterior
But do you want to know the secret to really affecting your posture for life?
Regular chiropractic treatments can remove spinal fixations which contribute to poor posture. Other therapies offered by your chiropractor such as Graston Technique, and ART (Active Release Technique) are useful for removing fascial adhesions and improving mobility for those muscles that aren’t activating properly.
Here is your perfect posture workout!
Chin tucks x 10 reps
Scapula retractions/Bruegger exercises x 10 reps
Pectoral goal post or door way stretch x 30 seconds
Seated stretch for upper trapezius and levator scapulae x 30 seconds each side
Here’s the deal, do these 3-5 times a day for 30 days and you’ve created a positive postural habit to keep your spine happy and healthy.
And the best part? You can do these ANYWHERE!
In the office
Even in the car
You can make these posture exercises work for you no matter where you are!
Other helpful tips & hacks:
Heard of Text neck?! Well it’s real and it’s coming for you with a vengeance. Next time you find yourself nose down staring at your phone, take a moment to reset your posture. Roll those shoulders down and back and raise your gaze. Even better bring your phone up to eye level so you don’t have to look down. (Yes—you can still watch TikTok or answer a text without slouching forward like a little armadillo).
Take a posture break! Every 30 minutes stand from your desk, step away from the computer. Even if it’s just for 60 seconds, break the cycle of bad desk posture. Move, stretch, breath, or even crank out a couple reps of your new posture workout. These little breaks will add up for big results.
Roll it out! Got a foam roller? Use it! Foam rolling is a great tool to use after the gym or in between visits with your chiropractor. Foam rolling helps alleviate sore, tight muscles and can be used to increase extension in the thoracic spine.
Zosia Roberts is a chiropractic student from Palmer College in Port Orange, Florida, completing her internship at Washington Park Chiropractic. She is passionate about women’s health, pediatrics and perinatal care. She enjoys educating patients on the power of chiropractic and helping others achieve their health and fitness goals.