Dr. Rick's Health Tip of the MonthMarch 2000
Take a Break and Sit Up Tall
By Rick Allen, DC
Your mother, father, and dance teacher have all probably harped at you about "standing up straight." It is so important, and so overlooked, that I want you to bring it to your consciousness by trying an experiment to actually feel what your upper back and neck muscles do all day long.
Do a Simple Experiment
Take a 10-lb. weight and, while seated, hold the weight in your hand close to your shoulder with your elbow supported on the arm of a chair. No problem, right? Now take your hand and hold the weight out away from your body. A little tougher, right? This is what happens when your head, which weighs about 10+ lbs., moves out in front of your shoulders. You not only lose the natural neck curve, you build up tension in your neck and shoulders. It can be a source of neck and back pain, headache, and, long-term, detrimental changes in the muscles, ligaments and bones of your neck and back.
Try this experiment mimicking forward head posture. Really get a feel for the problem.
Take Personal Action
As one step toward correction, take a mini-break every 15 minutes while sitting reading or working on the computer. Stretch your neck and back from side to side. Look across the room. Breath deeply in and out three times. Resume your work reinvigorated!
If Necessary, Get Additional Help
Be aware of the tendency to sit with your head forward and shoulders hunched up. Awareness in the first step. Taking personal action is a second step. You may need to take a third step of seeking professional help from a chiropractor who specializes in postural correction.
Additional ResourcesInstep Articles:
- December 1999, January 2000, February 2000 - Current series on back pain and correcting posture.
- December 1998: Psoas - Hidden Influence on Posture
- September 1997: Better Posture…Better Health…Better Dancing
- June 1996: The Graceful Illusion.
You are invited to watch a half-hour video of good and bad posture on the beach in Fort Lauderdale, Florida by Paul St. John, LMT. It is a real eye-opener. Please call if you would like to watch it at my clinic: 503-257-1324.
Dr. Rick Allen is a chiropractor, massage therapist and dance student who splits his time between Portland, Oregon and Trout Lake Washington. Dr. Rick welcomes your questions and suggestions for future articles. However, he cannot make specific diagnoses or treatment recommendations unless you visit him in person. He can be reached by phone at 503-257-1324 in Portland, 509-395-0024 in Trout Lake, or toll free at 1-888-247-3248, email or on the World Wide Web: www.CascadeWellnessClinic.com
DISCLAIMER: The information included in this website is meant to encourage thinking concerning choices of care for and insight pertaining to possible causes of various problems. It is not a prescription for or diagnosis of any disease or condition. Suggestions are based on the assumption by the writer that a thorough examination was done previously and the reader is under care by a healthcare professional. This information is not a substitute for a live doctor.
© Dr. Rick Allen
Cascade Wellness Clinic