last year

Why Does My Neck Always Hurt?

I hear it all the time… “my neck hurts” or “my shoulders are achy and I’m not sure why?”

We live in a society of texting, computers, driving and sitting. The picture below demonstrates what happens when we engage in all this forward leaning activity; the “forward head” posture. Yes… there is something wrong with your spine. Your muscles are pulling it out of alignment. Chiropractors, acupuncturists, and massage therapists can help with the pain associated with this new postural position, but the only way to resolve the issue long term, is to fix your posture.

Forward Head Posture

Imagine as you look at this picture to your right. Your head weighs 8 to 10 lbs. That’s like a bowling ball leaning forward, using muscles that were originally intended to keep you upright. Of course these muscles will get sore, causing other structural issues along the way! The best way to correct “forward head” posture is to stretch and strengthen the appropriate muscles and get yourself back into alignment. It’s important to practice this new position in your everyday workouts, and in your life. If you spend 8 hours in front of a computer jutting your head forward, then you should expect spending at least a few minutes a day working to counteract this posture.

File_001

Basic Neck Stretch

 

 You can do some simple stretches like the one in the picture to the right. You’ve probably seen this one before! However, this stretch will make your neck feel good… But you also have to STRETCH THE CHEST and STRENGTHEN the neck/upper back muscles to help keep the head back in the correct position.
IMG_9855

Chest Stretch on a Ball

First start with a chest stretch. You absolutely should do this first as it will be difficult to access the back/ neck muscles if your chest is tight and pulling everything forward. Begin with this simple chest stretch to the left lying face up on a stability ball and hold it for one minute. Yes… it feels as good as it looks.

 

Wall Stand

Yes that’s a white wall behind me

Then, you can move “static wall neck pusher”. Start by standing against a wall with the upper back and head against the wall, but the lower back in it’s natural arch (not touching the wall) and the feet 2 to 4 inches away from the wall. With the palms facing your body, push against the wall with your head and hands an hold this for a minute. While you hold it, think about how you are doing a GREAT job working to strengthen the upper back and neck muscles.

Try these exercises and let me know how it feels. Were you able to keep the shoulders up against the wall? And if so, did pushing your shoulders back jut your head forward?  This happens sometimes if you’re really rounded. First start with pushing the head against the wall. Then, gradually the shoulders will follow if you focus hard on getting them back. Leave a comment below to let me know how it goes.

 

Pilates OUT… Posture IN!

I did it.  I changed my business brand and took “Pilates” out of my name.”But wait!” you exclaim. “She just wrote a book on Pilates.  Does she hate it now and will she start telling us all to stop doing Pilates?”

The answer is NO.  I still love Pilates.  I will always be connected to the art of doing Pilates and the work that Uncle Joe created years ago.  It brought me to my current love… to what I’m now truly passionate about… to what you will hear me “geek out” about in emails to come.

I am a self proclaimed posture GEEK. In addition to putting clients through simple workouts, I have spent the last few years analyzing their alignment and helping them find optimal body functioning through corrective exercise.  What does this mean?

It means I give them homework that they can do at home in order to help them get out of the pain they experience from sitting all day long… or recover from an impact injury… or simply from walking or standing incorrectly for hours on end. This “homework” includes exercises derived from Pilates, Yoga, foam rolling, static stretching, and other modalities I’ve learned over the years.

I’ve gotten quite good at it.  Check out a recent testimonial from a client who found relief from her hip pain NOT from coming to my classes… but instead from the posture routine I gave her to do on her own.
I have discovered that after fifteen years in fitness, I love empowering people to resolve their own body issues. I have realized that the two hours they might see me in the studio are never as powerful as the DAILY thirty minutes they spend on their own at home, focused on their own body. I have learned that taking away fancy equipment and complicated movements and replacing it with a simple, home based routine, can change the outcome of my client’s pain, nearly instantaneously.

So I invite you to “geek out” with me about posture, alignment, exercise and all around pain free wellness issues. Welcome to the Posture Geek Newsletter. Welcome to VerticAlign Posture Coaching.

1 16 17 18