4 Ways to Improve Your Posture At Home – Part 2 

Hamstring stretch

While getting checked regularly is important, posture care begins at home. Many of us have developed very poor habits that lead to chronic conditions such as upper cross syndrome (rounded shoulders and forward head carriage), increased lumbar lordosis/forward curve, and our old favorite, pain. Left alone long enough, poor posture helps arthritis develop and speeds degeneration of the spinal soft tissues. 

Luckily, there are some things you can do about it! In part 2 of our 4 part series, we’ll be discussing common home stretches. If you missed the first part, you can read it here: Part 1 Ergonomics. 

Stretch Those Muscles! 

Chronic poor posture often leads to dominance of the flexor muscles that bring the body towards the midline. Muscles commonly affected include the pectoralis muscles, upper trapezius, the sternocleidomastoid (SCM) muscles, the levator scapulae muscles, the suboccipital muscles, the hamstrings, the psoas muscles, and the thoracolumbar erector muscles. 

 

There are a number of simple stretches you can perform to loosen these muscle groups. Pec stretches can be done by holding either side of a doorway and leaning the body forward; those with tight pecs will feel the pull immediately just beneath the clavicle and toward the shoulder. 

 

A few yoga poses are excellent for stretching the lumbar erectors and the psoas muscles. The child’s pose and upward facing dog pose are great for stretching out both groups independently; the upward facing dog will also get a few of the neck muscles and the pecs. 

 

The levators are stretched by bending the head forward and away from the involved side and then rotating the head opposite the direction you’re bending. This will also stretch the trapezius muscle. 

 

The suboccipitals are stretched via extreme neck flexion while tucking the chin. You may need to use your hands to assist with this motion. 

 

Hamstring stretches can be very difficult for beginners or those with very tight hamstrings. While keeping the knee straight, there are two good options: one involves sitting on the ground and either leaning your body towards the straight leg, or pulling yourself with a band towards the foot. Another option is to place your leg on a chair, bed, or other surface and lean towards the foot while maintaining a straight knee. If necessary, this stretch can be done with assistance (simply instruct the other person lift your leg towards your head while keeping the knee straight). 

Note that all stretches should be held for roughly 30 seconds at a time and can be performed as often as you like, although 3-5 holds per day is usually enough. Remember to never stretch to the point of pain as you risk injuring the tight muscles! 

This concludes our home stretches. Our next post in this 4 part series is coming soon and will discuss strength and stability exercises. See you there! 

 

Need some extra help? Contact your Winter Park chiropractor today at (321) 972-2008 and request an appointment. We hope to see you soon! 

 

About the Author

Dr. Orsino, your local Winter Park chiropractor, focuses on preventative health by utilizing a mixture of traditional chiropractic techniques, modern equipment, and wellness advice to provide long lasting results to his patients. He also enjoys writing, video games, and the occasional matcha frappe.

Author
Paladin Chiropractic

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