Head tilt. Neck shift. One shoulder drooping. All normal things as long as they are short periods of time. However, when they are present for multiple hours of your day, they become problematic. The other issue is that we tend to habitually lean in the same directions rather than mix them up, leading to muscle and joint imbalance. Your spine likes to be balanced and mobile. A little correction can go a long way:
Awareness: The first step is frequent check-ins throughout the day. Every 15-30 minutes, ask yourself:
- Where is your body in space?
- Is your rib cage horizontal or tilted? Is it slumped towards one side?
- Are your ears aligned equally over your shoulders?
- Are you looking forward or having to turn your head to see your screen?
- Are your shoulders squared up?
- Do your arms feel heavy or supported?
Move: Plan your day to mix up sitting activities with movement activities. Get up for even a minute when you can. A lot of these postures correct themselves when we stand.
If that’s not possible:
- Sit tall from your hips
- Reach your arms up high to the ceiling
- Swim your shoulder blades in circles – shake them out
- Take a few big breaths
- Reach your head tall to the ceiling while keeping your chin tucked towards your neck
- Nose over chin over sternum over navel over pubic bone
- Ears over shoulders over hips
When to Seek Help: When you’re experiencing; headaches, neck pain, shoulder pain, upper back/shoulder blade pain, or stiffness. If your symptoms don’t easily resolve with a break and position change, it’s time for some help.
Are you noticing that there is a lot of resistance to correcting your position? You may have stiff muscles or joints that are preventing you from improving your position. Treatment may include?
- Manual therapy to mobilize your joints, allowing better symmetry in your spine
- Muscle release techniques to loosen stiff areas
- Muscle strengthening for weak areas
- Neck stability strengthening to increase muscle endurance
- Neck proprioception training to help your body remember what is a normal posture
- Ergonomic suggestions for your work or home set up