In this video, Kaia Petin, LMT, explains how poor posture and walking incorrectly can cause muscle tension in the lower back, upper back, neck and hips. In this video she gives demonstrations for both good posture and bad posture and explains how to correct this so you have less pain and less stress in the back.
Hi! How are you? My name is Kaia, and I’m a massage therapist. I often have clients walk into my room at my doctor’s office where I work these days and ask me, “Can you help me? I’m in terrible pain.”
Well of course you’re in terrible pain. Look how you’re standing, you ninny!
So, this video will show you how to get out of this posture, which, believe it or not, you might be in right now.
So, if you have your shoulders hunched forward and your neck forward like you’ve been at a computer all day, or driving in the car all day, you’ll notice that your back and your neck are very sore. They’re very tight. You see how they’re pulled tight? They’re tight because they’re pulled tight by the bone.
SO what you need to do is you need to be able to extend your head up, reaching up through the crown of your head, towards the ceiling, and you take your hands and you float them up and back and down your shoulders dropping your shoulder blades down your back and your hands will end up on the sides of your legs.
Now this is only part of a complex postural adjustment that you would get if you came to see me and you looked like this.
But, for you to work with, check and see if your hands are in front of your thighs, and if they are try and lower your shoulder blades down your back and put your hands on the side of your legs and see if that doesn’t help the back and shoulder pain you’re experiencing.
Ach! I don’t know why my lower back always hurts. Hmmm. What could I do? Maybe I need to stretch. Maybe I need to workout. I just have so much tension right here.
So, if you’ll notice, if you’re walking with your feet turned out to the sides you are creating pressure in your hips which will create an imbalance in your low back. Another posturaly check that you can do on yourself is you can look down to see if your feet are going forward. Feet should probably tend to go forward.
This involves the alignment of your feet, your knees and your hips as your legs swing. Pretty basic, but it’s easy to forget. Especially these days when we don’t do a whole lot of long distance walking. So another postural check if your back is hurting is see if you’re turning your feet like duck feet locking your knees and turning your hips forward which creates a tremendous amount of pressure on the back. You can then bend your knees slightly, bring your feet together, roll your hips forward and sit more comfortably on your skeleton.
Another postural condition you can check yourself for, if you’re having headaches especially, this is a big one I see in people who are thinkers, they like to think about things, instead of standing with their ears above their collarbone, their head will be forward like this.
Can you hear me? Ok.
Their head will be forward like this. Maybe not this drastic but their head will definitely be forward. You know the very elderly people you see walking around with that turtle thing on the back? The hump? I don’t mean that disrespectfully, but that hump that they have on their back? That’s from a lifetime of walking like this and never noticing.
So you want to bring your head up so your earlobes are over your collarbones and your head is relaxed, it can move because for every inch your earlobes are forward of your collarbones these back neck muscles are carrying an extra ten pounds of weight.
That’s like a bowling ball. So every time you shift your head forward those little muscles are holding up a bowling ball all day long. You want to make sure that your head’s in line, hips are in line, your feet are in line, everything is in line. That will lend you to greater ease in your posture and less chance of habituating poor posture.
Your mother was right when she told you to stand up straight.
Ok, so we have talked about some postural things. Things you can check, signs that you are out of alignment. For example your feet, if your hands are in front of your legs instead of the side, if your chin is four inches forward of your belly button. Those are all things you can check.
You can also check for discomfort in the morning when you wake up. Sometimes you step down on the ground and your ankle hurts for an hour, or your back is really stiff when you wake up and you’ve got to move around to get going.
Um, why are these important to know about? These signals? these indicators? Because they are your body trying to go “tsk, tsk, tsk, tsk. Knock Knock, Hey! Person who lives in this body! What’s up?
There’s a problem!” And it’s your job to learn to listen to those signs and to understand what they are and try to understand that your body is communicating to you that it needs something to change or for something to be improved and if you take the time to recognize these signs and to listen to them and to act on them, you are going to have a much more comfortable old age.
You don’t have to necessarily endure the discomfort of getting old and being broken if you learn how to take care of yourself now, like standing up straight or fixing the way you stand, or again, my favorite, drinking enough water. Those are all things that will help you respond to the signs your body is sending you and own your own health.
So in a future video, come back, see me again. I’m going to go over some stretches that you can go over some stretches you can go over to supplement these postural awareness drills and continue improving your own ability to care for yourself, increase your knowledge, and come back and learn more.
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