(Ed. Note: From Arthritis Self-Management magazine of March/April, 2005 come these timely tips. Even though they’re for arthritis sufferers, don’t many of us exhibit those symptoms also? The main thing we wanted to emphasize in presenting these suggestions and pictures is to show how “Proper posture can, and does, help.” Note Marilyn Townsend – and we really thank her for the excellent articles on posture and how proper posture has helped her and how she now looks – Just amazing – and when you think of how heavy your head can be (36 lbs. vs. 12), with ST that can be quite unbearable and only add to your pain).
So what is good posture? Good posture means keeping your back in proper alignment. The back has three natural curves; a forward curve in the neck, a backward curve at chest level, and a forward curve in the low back. Good posture maintains these natural curves, without exaggerating them.
Sitting in a slumped position puts more strain on your low back than standing. SLUMPING IN A CHAIR ALSO STRAINS THE SMALL NECK MUSCLES that hold your head up, putting on them the force of three times more weight than normal. Your head weighs about as much as a bowling ball. If you held a 12 pound bowling ball in your hands and kept your hands close to your body, it probably would not feel too heavy. But if you held the ball in your hands and extended your arms straight out in front of you, you’d notice that your arms had to work harder, and you probably wouldn’t be able to hold up the ball for long. At arm’s length, that bowling ball now feels as though it weighs 36 pounds which is why your arms tire so easily. THAT IS HOW YOUR NECK MUSCLES FEEL WHEN YOU SLUMP.
Chin tuck: Sit or stand looking forward. Make sure you have good posture. Using your fingers, nod your chin down slightly, then push your head back, as if to make a double chin. Hold for 5 seconds, then return to the starting position. Do this exercise whenever you think of it throughout the day.
Shoulder blade squeeze: Stand or sit with your arms at your side. Squeeze your shoulder blades together for 5 seconds, then relax. Do this exercise whenever you think of it throughout the day. Do not do the chin tuck and the shoulder blade squeeze at the same time.
My mom and I wanted to thank you for hosting such a great symposium this year. This was our third year and we are looking forward to next years. E. Mathews