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Ways to Reduce Forward Head and Rounded Shoulder Posture

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Hillary DummondAs technology continues to advance, the use of devices such as phones, tablets and laptop computers has increased drastically among all ages. For the majority, this viewing is done in poor posture, with head tilted and shoulders rolled forward. Although viewing these devices is likely the most consistent contributor to potentially damaging posture, other day to day activities have a similar affect. Driving, carrying heavy objects and sitting for extended periods are frequently conducted with less than ideal posture. The trouble with this is the disruption to normal muscle function that occurs as a result. Muscles of the neck, shoulders and back are the primary groups affected. As a result, muscles become tight and off balance, leading to pain and weakness at the affected site. Over time poor posture can lead to a very negative lasting impact on the body.

As a result of this growth in posture related injuries, numerous studies have been conducted relating to the identification of these injuries and the symptoms associated. With this information coming to light, the study of potential treatment options is also on the rise. The first of these studies comes from the journal of Physical Therapy Science https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5684019/. The research highlights the benefits of the McKenzie approach and the use of repeat movements, implementing a stretching regimen and utilizing Kendall exercises. These three proven techniques were compared side to side to see which had the greatest positive impact on the symptoms associated with posture related injuries. The results indicated that out of the three techniques, all three had a strikingly similar affect on decreasing the symptoms associated with these injuries, specifically those associated with rounded shoulders and a forward head.

The second study to be considered comes in the form of an article posted by Medical News Today https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/318556.php. This article also discusses various ways to fix the problem of rounded shoulders and a forward head, but utilizes specific stretches and related exercises under the premise that a simple routine can retrain the body to use proper posture throughout the day. The following exercises were highlighted as the most effective in treating this specific issue:

1.) Handclasp: In standing, reach behind your body and clasp hands together. Gently pull shoulders back until the chest opens up and stretch is felt.

2.) Door chest stretches: Place one hand on the side of a door frame with arm in a “L” position, move 1 foot in front of the other and gently lunge past the frame until a gentle stretch is felt in the chest/shoulder.

3.) Shoulder blade squeeze: Sitting up tall, move/pinch shoulder blades together. Shoulders should move down and away from ears.

4.) The T stretch: Laying on floor with back touching floor and knees bent up, move arms out to the side with palms up to feel a slight stretch in back and shoulders.

5.) Wall stretch: Standing with tailbone, lower and upper back, and head against a wall, position feet slightly away from wall and move arms against wall with elbows at 90 degree angle. This should provide a gentle stretch for shoulders and upper back.

6.) Rows: Using a row machine or theraband, pinch shoulder blades together.

7.) Wall Angels: With back against wall, fe

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et slightly away from wall, arms in “W” position and in contact with wall, the arms move upward and then down to start position to feel shoulder blade muscles working.

Many of the exercises listed above, as well as the McKenzie and Kendall approach and a variety of self-stretching techniques are used every day at the Center for Physical Rehabilitation. As Spring moves in and activity increases, it is important that there is an increased focus on maintaining good posture in our day to day function. By increasing our understanding of posture related ailments, and using the techniques mentioned above to activley correct the symptoms being experienced, we can have a positive impact on posture induced pains. If professional guidance through a compassionate, knowledgeable and caring staff is needed, than by all means please use our staff here at the Center for Physical Rehabilitation to guide your success.




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