Shoreline PT: How Posture Affects Back and Neck Pain

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HOW POSTURE CAN AFFECT YOUR BACK & NECK PAIN

Remember back when your mother used to tell you that if you wouldn’t stop hunching your shoulders, they’d be stuck that way forever? An idle threat, one that barely anyone took seriously. Yet, fast forward a few decades and it turns out that mom might have been on to something, after all. (continued inside)

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INSIDE : • How Posture Can Affect Your Back & Neck Pain • What Can Good Posture Do For You?

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THE NEWSLETTER ABOUT YOUR HEALTH AND CARING FOR YOUR BODY NEWSLET TER HOW POSTURE CAN AFFECT YOUR BACK & NECK PAIN

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A poor habit of bad posture can have a lasting impact on your neck and back. The worse your posture is, the more intense your back and neck pain can become. Unfortunately, once you start experiencing neck and back pain, simply squaring your shoulders isn’t likely to be much help. Working with a physical therapist can help you to train the muscles in your back, neck and shoulders so that you can improve your posture permanently, and in doing so, bring relief to your chronic neck and back pain. The Posture and Pain Connection Not all back pain is caused by poor posture, and it is true that you can have poor posture for years without feeling the consequences of that slouch right away, but in time the habit is likely to catch up with you. There are certain ways that you can tell if neck or back pain may be a result of poor posture, including: • The pain in your back is worsened at certain times of day.  For example, after you’ve spent a day at the office, or after a few hours on the couch. • The pain frequently starts in your neck and moves into your upper and lower back. Pain that seems to travel from one area of the back to another is frequently an indication of posture concerns. • The pain will subside after switching positions, such as switching from sitting to standing or vice versa. INSIDE : • What Can Good Posture Do For You? • Exercise Of The Month

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• Back or neck pain that develops soon after a change in circumstances, such as starting a new job with a new desk chair, or getting a new car. While these symptoms can also indicate other mechanical pains in the back or neck, correction of posture is required to fully resolve these painful issues. It is important to see your physical therapist to determine if your pain is strictly due to posture or if there is another cause. After years of practicing poor posture, your back, shoulder and neck muscles will likely find standing or sitting with straight posture to be uncomfortable. This is because your muscles have grown accustomed to the slouching, and standing up straight will require some thorough stretching. That doesn’t mean that once you have bad posture you can never correct it. Working with a physical therapist to improve your posture is a great way to overcome chronic neck and back pain. In physical therapy, you will be guided through a series of stretches and strength building exercises that can help you begin training your body to practice better posture, thereby reducing your back and neck pain. Contact your physical therapist to learn more about how you can take steps to start improving your posture today.

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PRONE ALTERNATE ARM AND LEG While lying face down and keeping your lower abdominals tight, slowly raise up an arm and opposite leg. Slowly lower and then raise the opposite side. Do not allow your spine to move the entire time. 6 repetitions on each side. Helps Flexibility www.simpleset.net Try this movement if you are experiencing back pain. EXERCISE OF THE MONTH

What Can Good Posture Do For You?

Of course, there are ways that you can improve your posture at home, as well. Here are several strategies that are typically helpful: • Try to stand tall whenever you are standing or walking. Hold your head high and square your shoulders, but more importantly work on being the tallest version of yourself. Hunching over is the leading cause of poor posture. • Use support when you sit to keep your posture correct. Lumbar support in office chairs and car seats will help a bit, but for improved posture you may need to add additional cushioning that will help you keep your back straight. • Be mindful of how you lift heavy objects. Keep your shoulders square and your chest forward. When lifting something that is over 50lbs it is important to take extra care. Lead with your hips and try to keep the weight close to your body. Lifting something improperly can lead to injury to your neck or back, which may make proper posture uncomfortable. There are a lot of benefits of having good posture. Aside from saying goodbye to neck or back pain, improving your posture can provide several unexpected benefits to your lifestyle and personal well-being. Here are a few of the additional benefits of having good posture: • Proper posture creates quality exercise for your core and back • Improved respiratory health • Added protection for your organs, bones, joints and muscles • Reduced risk of arthritis If you are experiencing chronic neck and back pain, there is a good chance that it could be related to your posture. Contact your physical therapist to learn more about how you can take steps to start improving your posture today.

HEALTHY RECIPE Crunchy Chicken & Mango Salad

• 2 teaspoons sambal oelek (optional) • 6 cups thinly sliced napa cabbage • 2 cups sugar snap peas, thinly sliced diagonally • 2 cups shredded chicken breast • 1 medium mango, sliced • ½ cup coarsely chopped fresh mint • ¼ cup sliced scallions • 2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds

INGREDIENTS • ⅓ cup orange juice • 3 tablespoons rice vinegar • 3 tablespoons less-sodium soy sauce • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil

INSTRUCTIONS Whisk juice, vinegar, soy sauce, sesame oil and sambal oelek (if using) in a large bowl. Add cabbage, peas, chicken, mango, mint and scallions; toss gently to coat. Serve the salad sprinkled with sesame seeds.

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