My 10 top tips for improved posture and the health of your back

As a child, were you told “Stand up straight!” or “Don’t slouch!”. It turns out that whoever said it, they were right all along! Having poor posture when walking, sitting, working or driving can have a negative impact on your life including:

  • Pain in your back and shoulders.
  • Shallow breathing.
  • The appearance of lacking self confidence.

Click HERE to book your bespoke Back Pain Reducing Realignment treatment

What is posture?

Posture is defined as the way the body is carried. Good posture means carrying your body in a way that puts the least strain on muscles and ligaments. Poor posture can cause pain in the neck and back, and can sometimes lead to injury. Making changes to your posture is a great way of improving your overall appearance as well as your health.

Many of the reasons for bad posture can be fixed and others, like pregnancy, go away in time. Some of the reasons are:

  • Poor habits – sitting and standing incorrectly
  • Weakened muscles
  • Obesity – The extra pounds add strain to your skeleton and muscles.
  • Pregnancy
  • Ill-fitting shoes (like high heels)
  • Reduced muscle and joint flexibility (this can happen with conditions like rheumatoid arthritis)

Why Is Good Posture Important?

Good posture is good for your health in a number of ways. Standing and sitting with correct posture prevents strain and overuse of neck and back muscles, it helps the muscles work more efficiently

Good posture also has other more subtle benefits. When you stand properly, the body tends to look taller and slimmer. Good posture can also make you look more confident. And, we all know, when you look confident, you feel confident.

As most of us are seated at desks for most of the day, it is very important to have correct posture while seated.

The combination of regular stretching and massage help to improve and maintain your posture .

Are There Warning Signs Of Back Pain Caused By Poor Posture?

Back pain may be the result of poor posture if the back pain is worse at certain times of day or week. If you experience back pain at certain times of the week, but not at the weekend, this may be the problem.

Click HERE to book your bespoke Back Pain Reducing Realignment treatment

The signs to be aware of are:

  • sudden back pain that is experienced with a new job, a new office chair, or a new car
  • pain that starts in the neck and moves downwards into the upper back, lower back and extremities and pain that goes away after changing positions while sitting or standing.

Keep active

As muscles get tired, slouching, slumping, and other poor posture positions occur. This then puts extra pressure on the neck and back. In order to maintain a relaxed yet supported posture, switch positions frequently. Take a two-minute break from your desk every hour to stretch your limbs.

Keep the body in alignment while sitting at your desk and standing

  • Distribute body weight evenly to the front, back, and sides of the feet while standing.
  • While sitting in at your desk, take advantage of the chair’s features.
  • Sit up straight and align the ears, shoulders, and hips in one vertical line.
  • Any single position, even a position with good posture, will tire your muscles. Leaning forward with a straight back can alternate with sitting back, using the back support of the office chair to take some of the strain from your muscles.
  • Also be aware of (and avoid) unbalanced postures such as crossing legs unevenly while sitting, leaning to one side, hunching the shoulders and craning the neck.

Use Posture-Friendly Props & Ergonomic Chairs When Sitting

  • Supportive ergonomic “props” can help to take the strain and load off the spine.
  • Lumbar Rolls or pillows offer great support to the lower back when seated at a desk.

Increase Your General Awareness For Great Posture

Being aware of posture at work, at home, and at play is a vitally important step towards instilling good posture techniques. This includes making conscious connections between incidents of back pain and what position you were in at the time.

Use Exercise To Help Prevent Injury & Promote Great Posture

Regular physical exercise such as walking, swimming and cycling will help the body stay in good condition, while specific strengthening exercises will help the muscles surrounding the back to stay strong.

There are also specific exercises that will help maintain good posture. A balance of trunk strength with back muscles about 30% stronger than abdominal muscles is essential to help support the upper body and maintain good posture.

Wear Supportive Footwear When Standing

Avoid regularly wearing high heels, which can affect the body’s center of gravity and change the alignment of the entire body, affecting back support and posture.

Be Aware Of Your Posture When Moving Or Stationary

Walking, talking on the phone, and typing are all moving activities that require attention to posture. It is important to maintain good posture even while moving to avoid injury. Back injuries are especially common while twisting and/or lifting and often occur because of awkward movement and control of the upper body weight alone.

Do re-check your posture whenever you think of it! I often find myself reverting to old habits particularly when using laptops!!

Create The ‘Right’ Environment & Workspace Conducive To You

It does require a bit of time but the results will be well worth it. Undue strain will be placed on the spine unless your office chair, desk, keyboard, and computer screen are in the correct position.

Avoid The ‘Over-Protecting’ Posture

Remember that it is important to maintain an overall relaxed posture to avoid restricting movements by tensing muscles and adopting a stiff posture.

For people who already have some back pain, it is a natural tendency to try to limit movements to avoid the potential pain associated with movement. But, unless there is a fracture or other serious problem, the spine is designed for movement and any limitation in motion over a long period of time creates more pain and will make the overall situation worse.

You can always spot someone in pain when they walk ahead of you in the street… so take a look at yourself. If you are frightened of pain you walk in an unusual manor. It tends to be a stiff, tense and unnatural poise.

The way to change this is to relax. Hold your head up so it is horizontal to the floor,ensure your jaw is not tense, check your breathing and walk (picking your feet up properly).

I completely believe it is possible not only to eradicate most if not all of the chronic aches and pains of a bad back. Why, because I’ve done it myself!

I really have been there and done it all with my bad back, including back surgery! For those of you who are about to switch off at the point of surgery, please allow me to continue…

Back Surgery Was Really Not The Answer!

That just took away the ‘result’ of the problem without ever addressing the cause. It’s taken me 10 years after my op to have put it together in a package to help fellow sufferers.

  • I had to address the physical aspect of the back pain and Sciatica.
  • I had to adjust many aspects of my lifestyle (mostly silly things if I’m honest)
  • I had to address the fear of the re-occurrence of pain, the ‘knowing’ when it was going to ‘go’
  • I needed prevention strategies that were easy and worked
  • I had to address the impact of my bad back and the fear of its re-occurrence because it affected me in so many ways. My back impacted on my work. My work impacted on my finances. My finances impacted on my home life and family.

I’m sure you resonate with this on some or many of these levels! I just wanted you to know that I’ve contended with the lot, and just like you I struggled.

But that is in the past now, even when I do something that in the past would have debilitated me for days if not weeks, I am in a position that I am able to do most things and indeed partake in a far more active lifestyle than I would ever have imagined, probably moreso than before in many ways!

Click HERE to book your bespoke Back Pain Reducing Realignment treatment

How can I help with your back pain?

Many people face horrendous pain either acute (swift onset) or chronic (long term) and often one leads to another following the initial eposide. As we know this can lead to a serious intrusion on your ‘normal life’ and activities, or worse still leave you considering surgery as an option. However in most cases (some people claim 90%) surgery is merely treating the symptom and not the cause.

In 2002 I had an ‘emergency’ back op to remove a herniated disc. I was instantly pain free, and the numbness felt throughout my entire right leg and foot (starting in my buttock running the entire length of sciatic nerve) reduced over the next couple of years, now I have one tiny area behind my knee which is numb, the rest is perfect.

Back pain- where Do you Start?

Almost everyone can benefit from massage and the stretching of soft tissues in the back, legs, buttock, and around the spine. Realignment is key…

Click HERE to book your bespoke back treatment

The spinal column and its contiguous muscles, ligaments and tendons are all designed to move, and limitations in this motion can make back pain worse.

If you suffer from chronic back pain you may find it takes weeks or even months of stretching and other back exercises to mobilize the spine and soft tissues, but the pain will be relieved and mobilization will improve, at this point it is time to mention preventative measures.

Preventative measures such as lifestyle changes will also need to be made, however, I believe it is better to start at the beginning and work through the initial stages.

Keep the following in mind when starting a stretching routine as part of a program of back exercises:

    • Move into the stretch slowly and avoid bouncing, which may actually tear muscles
    • Stretch on a clean, flat surface that is large enough to move freely
    • Stretching should be pain free; do not force the body into difficult positions
    • Wear comfortable clothes that won’t bind
    • Hold stretches long enough (20-30 seconds) to allow muscles or joints to release.
    • Repeat the stretch, generally 5 – 10 times.

Click HERE to book your bespoke  back treatment

Important Note:

If you already have low back pain or neck pain, I recommend you consult with your GP or consultant before starting any exercise.

Practical Note:

Just 5 to 10 minutes of stretching in the morning and at night can provide significant lower back pain relief.

Neck and Shoulder Stretches

Back pain is often accompanied by neck pain due to muscular imbalances so I always recommend stretching your neck as well as your back and legs.

Flexion Stretch—Chin to Chest.

While standing or sitting, gently bend the head forward while bringing the chin toward the chest until a stretch is felt in the back of neck.

Lateral Flexion—Ear to Shoulder

This exercise stretches the neck area below the ears as well as the top of the shoulder. To begin, gently bend the neck to one side as if to touch the ear to the shoulder until a stretch is felt in the side of the neck. Switch to stretch the other side.

Back Exercise Stretches

Many back pain patients know the feeling of tension in the back, especially first thing in the morning. These stretching back exercises can help bring back some suppleness and increase mobility, decreasing back pain and discomfort.

Back flexion exercise

Lie on your back, pull both knees to the chest while simultaneously flexing the head forward until a comfortable stretch is felt in a balled-up position.

Knee to Chest Stretch

Whilst lying on the back with the knees bent and both heels on the floor, place both hands behind one knee and bring it to the chest (can be done side on- great for sciatica relief)Please contact me directly to find out more stretches and how I can help you….. (link at the bottom of this article)

Hips and Glut Stretches

The hips and bottom (where the gluteus muscles are) support the lower back. Stretching these muscle groups plays a critical role in maintaining spine flexibility.

Hip stretch

  • While standing with feet shoulder-width apart, take a half-step back with the right foot, bend the left knee and shift weight back to the right hip.
  • While keeping the right leg straight, bend forward more and reach down the right leg until a stretch in the outer hip is felt.

Piriformis muscle stretch

The piriformis muscle runs through the buttock & can contribute to back pain or leg pain.
To stretch the this muscle, lie on the back and cross one leg over the other and gently pull the other knee toward the chest until a stretch is felt in the buttock area.

Click HERE to book your bespoke Back treatment

Can Magnesium reduce stress and relax muscle tension?
Is magnesium a natural stress buster?
What does Magnesium do?

It helps maintain normal muscle and nerve function, keeps heart rhythm steady, supports a healthy immune system, and keeps bones strong. Magnesium also helps regulate blood sugar levels, promotes normal blood pressure, and is known to be involved in energy metabolism!

Basically, a Magnesium deficiency can leave you feeling anxious, stressed and cause muscular tension… so the answer for me is a resounding yes, Magnesium Is A natural stress buster!

Click HERE to book your bespoke stress reducing treatment

Better still, remember can help increase your overall energy.

How do you increase your daily magnesium intake?

By supplementing your diet or increasing your choices of the foods listed below.  Before we go to the table I’d like to point out a few extra tips:

Many sources of information mention the value of Soy products (e.g. Tofu, soy flour, and soy milk). However, soy milk is high in phytoestrogens (as well as magnesium) and it has been suggested that it is unhealthy to eat Soy in large quantities because it may raise oestrogen levels &/ it may cause thyroid problems.

Caffeine can cause a magnesium loss.

How much Magnesium do you need and where can you find it in your diet?

The following is the recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for magnesium in children and adults:

Age
(years)
Male
(mg/day)
Female
(mg/day)
Pregnancy
(mg/day)
Lactation
(mg/day)
1-3 80 80 N/A N/A
4-8 130 130 N/A N/A
9-13 240 240 N/A N/A
14-18 410 360 400 360
19-30 400 310 350 310
31+ 420 320 360 320

 

Sources of dietary magnesium

Source mg/100g Source mg/100g
Kelp 760 Sunflower seeds 38
Wheat bran 490 Barley 37
Wheat germ 336 Dandelion leaves 36
Almonds 270 Garlic 36
Cashews 267 Fresh green peas 35
Molasses 258 Sweet potato 31
Buckwheat 229 Blackberries 30
Brazil Nuts 225 Broccoli 28
Hazelnuts 184 Cheddar cheese 25
Roasted peanuts 180 Cauliflower 24
Millet 162 Carrots 23
Pecans 142 White fish 23
Rye 115 Celery 22
Bean Curd 111 Chicken 21
Dried Coconut 90 Asparagus 20
Brown rice 88 Beef 18
Whole-wheat bread 76 Potatoes 17
Dried Apricots 62 Tomatoes 14
Corn 48 Oranges 13
Avocado 45 Whole milk 13
Parsley 41 Eggs 12

 

Personal note from Dawn:

I found Magnesium made a huge difference on my body, my trick was always to carry a bag of cashews (hardly difficult to make this healthy change!!) and so many clients agree it has had a very positive and speedily effect.

Click HERE to book your bespoke stress reducing treatment

 

Reduce Stress, Recover From Burnout… Read my book

'It's All About ME' | By Dawn SymonsA PRACTICAL GUIDE FOR A HEALTHY BODY AND MIND

 

When you become embroiled in extreme stress and burnout, one of the biggest difficulties is that is that on the surface you appear to be ‘normal’, healthy and well.

Loaded popular beliefs that Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME) does not exist, along with labels such such as hypochondriac, attention seeker or lazy, do little to resolve the emotional conflict of this crippling disease.

What I know for sure is that there are things that you can do… I know this to be true because I had to find and do them myself.

I wrote this book because I burned out 3 times. Frantically chasing a solution for my problems made things even worse. But after many long years I found a solution which is the exact opposite of frantic…

Price: £6.97


Copy Protected by Chetan's WP-Copyprotect.