Posture Matters: How to Keep Your Head Up in the New Year

January 9, 2018

The digital age has taken a toll on posture, in nearly everyone. If you’re one of its victims, here’s the good news: a simple daily regimen could help you ‘straighten up’ in the new year. 

Sponsored by Benchmark Physical Therapy. 

Want to start 2018 on the right track? Who doesn’t?

The majority of us have already scribbled a short (or long) list of New Year’s resolutions, many of which are likely health-centered.

While most of us have a secret desire to go from computer-bound to cross-fit, we all know that it’s not the most reasonable or attainable goal. And, if you suffer from back or neck pain as a result of screen-time, it’s unlikely you’re body will be able to achieve a dramatic fitness goal of any sort.

The best place to start getting in shape is to focus on your posture.

According to recent studies, adults spend over 10 hours each day in front of a screen. Overall, we have become increasingly sedentary as a society, spending at least 10-15 hours a day at work, school, or home in a position of bad posture.

With ten pounds of force being added to your neck with every inch your head moves forward from your spine, most screen-timers are walking around in some degree of pain. Our grandmother’s advice to “sit up straight” may not cut it any more.

We talked with Amanda Montgomery, at BenchMark Physical Therapy in Wilmington to see what can be done. And, you guessed it, she said exercise is key. She passed along these five simple, do-it-at-home exercises that, if practiced every day, could help you rise above the posture dilemma in 2018.

1 – Cervical Retraction

Start sitting in an upright posture and pull your chin backwards, pretending there is a string attached to the back of your head and someone is pulling on it. You should feel as if you are giving yourself a double chin. Hold this position 3 seconds and relax. Repeat 15 times.

2 – Scapular Retraction

Start in sitting with your arms relaxed next to your sides. Try to pull your shoulder blades together, as if you are trying to pinch a pencil between them. Hold 3 seconds and relax. Repeat 15 times.

3 – Pec Stretch

Stand in a corner or a doorway and place your forearms on the wall of doorframe. Stand with one foot in front of the other. Gently transfer your weight forward until you feel a stretch across your chest and front of your shoulder. Do not hang on your arms. Hold stretch for 30 seconds. Repeat 3 times. * You can adjust arm position up or down to feel different areas stretch.

4 – Thoracic Extension

Start sitting with a foam roll or large towel roll placed behind your back. Cross your arms over your chest and lean back across the foam roll to extend over it. Maintain your neck in neutral alignment throughout movement. Pause movement at end range. Perform 15 times.

5 – Thoracic Rotation

Start sitting upright with feet flat on the floor. Cross your arms over your chest. Rotate to one side as far as you can without lifting up. Return to resting position. Rotate to the opposite side. Repeat 15 times each way.

Easy, right? If not, or if you don’t see positive results within a month or so, give Amanda a call at 910-790-1976 to schedule a comprehensive evaluation.

BenchMark Physical Therapy has four convenient locations in Wilmington, Southport, Leland, and Ocean Isle Beach.

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