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Perfect Your Posture & Help Prevent Low Back Problems

woman at desk with neck pain

Do you find yourself hunched over your desk while working? Or staring down at your phone while texting? Your Winnipeg chiropractors, discuss tips on maintaining proper posture and exercises that can bulletproof your lower back.

Avoid ‘Tech Neck’

When working at your computer, the ear canal should be directly over your shoulder, which is generally the seam on a shirt. When people use a cell phone, they tend to hold it down on their lap with their head down and forward, which causes enormous strain on the neck—straightening the neck curve and even leading to neck pain, headaches, upper back pain, and shoulder pain.

While cell phones are here to stay, don’t pay a postural price for your tech time. It’s important to hold the cell phone up at eye level, which will bring the ear back inline with the shoulder. Most people forget to do that. For every inch your head goes forward, it effectively doubles the weight of the head, whether at a computer or cell phone.

Parents, in particular, need to pay attention to how their kids hold their phones, as youth are getting into these positions at a much younger age. As a result, the problem will build up and cause more long-term problems for them.

The Two Best Postural Exercises

The doctors explain how to do the following exercises:

Brugger relief position

  • Squeeze your shoulder blades back tight and lift your head up to the sky.
  • Hold for 3-5 seconds.
  • Relax and repeat for two sets of 10 reps.

This is a great exercise to do throughout the day, as you never want to sit for more than 30 minutes during work. After all, sitting has been dubbed the new smoking. Set a timer on your phone reminding you to get up and stretch, or get some water, or take a short walk.

The wall angel

In the starting position, your hips, shoulder and head should all be against the wall. Then bring your elbows up to the wall, then rotate your hands and have your fingers touch the wall. You need to maintain all five of those throughout the entire movement.

Next, push up to the ceiling as high as possible, while maintaining contact until you can go no higher. Then bring your arms down to your sides, then repeat for two sets of 10. Rest as needed between reps, as this exercise is challenging.

3 Best Exercises to Bulletproof Your Lower Back

Dr. Pascal and Dr. Dan explain how to do the following exercises:

The cat/cow exercise

This exercise, which is great for mobility and strength, should be performed on the floor at home.

  • Start on all fours with your hands underneath your shoulders, knees under your hips, and your ear in line with your shoulder.
  • Begin with your belly dropping down to the floor with the head up, and look forward, holding the position for 3-5 seconds, which is one rep. Then reverse the positions.
  • Now try to bring the belly up or toward the spine, and drop the head down, so you’re looking at your knees. Hold for 3-5 seconds.
  • Then, alternate back and forth between those two positions until you’ve done it 20 times or two sets of 10 reps.

The bird dog exercise

With this cross-crawl exercise, you’ll start by testing one limb at a time to ensure you have stability and don’t cause any pain. Once you feel stable enough, try to lift the opposite leg and opposite arm simultaneously, and hold for 3-5 seconds in that position, and then alternate. Once both arms or limbs have been done, it would be one rep. Repeat for two sets of 10 reps.

It’s important that you don’t rotate your hips; keep your back flat and stable. Imagine having a glass of water on your back. You want to perform the exercise without spilling any water.

The plank

This is a great postural exercise that mimics good posture against gravity.

  • Place your hands directly under your shoulders as if you’re ready to do a push-up.
  • Keep the ears in line with the shoulders, hips, and ankles.
  • Hold for 20-30 seconds, rest and repeat that 2-3 times.

You don’t want to let the hips sag down too low, and you don’t want them to be up too high. If the exercise is too physically challenging, you can drop down to the knees as an easier variation, or do the exercise with hands on a raised surface. This could be such as the back of the couch, a kitchen island or counter, or something else firm. The higher the surface, the easier it is to start.

For more information about the exercises or to book an appointment, call our practice today! And be sure to check out our next blog post in the series, which focuses on home traction using the Denneroll.

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