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Dr. Rick's Health Tip of the Month

March 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 Resources

Instep Articles:

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.

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