This article is aimed at corporate professionals and pilots purely because I currently work with many of these people however, the information is applicable to everyone.
Having trained a number of pilots and corporate workers I have noticed a common theme, back pain! Many professions require people to work in an imbalanced or seated position for hours on end and piloting an aircraft or sitting for long hours at a desk is no exception. We are not designed to sit for long hours in one place!
I have been taught that your body naturally migrates to a position of strength, this is obviously bad news when the position of strength is one of poor spinal alignment. As postural muscles gravitate to the wrong position for hours on end they become chronically overworked which causes them to tighten / shorten which in turn alters our spinal curvature. As a result, I have noticed many people develop back pain and muscle imbalances particularly around the hips, lumbar spine, thoracic spine and the head, neck and jaw complex.
To put it simply the seated position often tightens the hip flexors, weakening the gluteus and tilting the pelvis forward (anterior tilt) causing stress to the lower back. Sitting can also cause a tight chest (particularly in the driving position) and weak upper back causing a kyphotic posture (excessive thoracic curvature) which often throws the head forward and depresses the shoulder, internally rotating the arms which causes the shoulder joint to become inefficient and unstable.
This common muscle imbalance can also cause more serious conditions like spinal degeneration, prolapsed discs, trapped nerves, headaches, breathing dysfunction, the list goes on!
In extreme cases it can also cause a dowagers hump which is a fatty deposit (hump) that builds up just below the neck to try and stabilise or do the job of postural muscles that are no longer working. Extremely painful, visually unpleasant and will drastically zap your energy!
Paul Chek tells us “if you already have bad posture your body has become used to being in the wrong position and now identifies it as the position of strength and normality.”
Try correcting yourself and sitting up straight, the ‘right’ position feels almost forced and strange right?
If this sounds like you don’t worry, the good news is you can help correct this faulty alignment and alleviate pain providing you follow a consistent training program focused on identifying and correcting YOUR postural deviations and muscle imbalances.
Poor posture not only takes away from aesthetics, it compromises how we were designed to function. The next time you are in a public place, take a few minutes to study the posture of the people around you. Unfortunately, you will most likely find that the majority exhibits poor posture.
If this sounds like you and you need help please contact me, DON’T leave it too long, left untreated, these imbalances can result in major injuries and pathologies that could potentially require invasive medical intervention or result in lifelong pain!
Take action now and follow the 5 steps below!!
Step 1. Book an appointment with a chiropractor / osteopath. These people should have the expertise to diagnose and advise you. They will probably want to sell you a course of treatments / adjustments.
Step 2. Stretch every muscle, if you are unsure how to do this seek advice from a fitness professional. Score each stretch 1-5 (5 being the most tight) once you have finished take note of all the stretches you scored 3,4 and 5, this is your daily stretching programme.
Step 3. Seek out an experienced fitness professional. If the trainer does not assess / measure you prior to writing your programme walk away! you are not paying someone to guess. If you have access to a CHEK practitioner they will have adequate knowledge to assess you correctly and write you a very good program based on your needs, goals and ability. Higher level CHEK practitioners are extremely good.
Step 4. Begin your training program, results will come, you just need consistency and patience.
Step 5. Re-assessment, progression and future goal setting.
You will become a stronger, fitter, happier and more functional version of yourself, good luck and enjoy the journey, it WILL be worth it…
Please share with your friends…
(Reference: Paul Chek, ‘The Importance of Ergonomics in Rehabilitation’.)