Poor Posture? Back Pain? Yes- You CAN Fix It.

Poor Posture?  Back Pain? Yes- You CAN Fix It.

When I was about 8 years old my mother started to comment on my posture. She would constantly mention it during dinner, homework, TV time – non-stop about posture.

By the age of nine she had me walking around the house with a broom inserted behind my back, it was placed behind the back with my arms hooked behind it right below the armpits. Due to this childhood experience I was inspired to write about the diagnosis and course of correction of the Upper-Extremity Postural Distortion (Upper Crossed Syndrome).

(I dedicate this Blog Topic post to my mom)

Upper-Extremity Postural Distortion or ‘Poor Posture’ or ‘Slouching’ can be identified by a basic postural analysis in which a postural distortion pattern can be found. The distortion will present itself with an individual’s tendency to elevate and protract their shoulders (rounded shoulders), extend the cervical spine (a curved spine), forward head posture (looking down and curving the head).

As a result the individual will have a faulty force-couple relationship. The muscles in the upper extremity will either suffer the consequences of being short muscles or lengthened muscles. Both varieties of muscle will result in joint dysfunction and movement dysfunction. These dysfunctions can lead to tendon, ligament injuries, instability and muscle overuse. They can lead to neck, back and shoulder pains and later, to headaches. In anyone active that is suffering from this postural distortion, the ultimate result will likely be common injury patterns such as rotator cuff impingement.

Fixing It…

A plan of action will first be awareness. Never avoid an issue in your body – your health can never be pushed aside. Instead face it- awareness that you have the issue is key. If you are not sure, examine yourself in the mirror from a profile. Stand naturally and do not try to ‘tuck’, strengthen or align anything- stand as you usually stand.  Then ask yourself- what do you see?

Remember, since faulty movement on a poor base (posture) can be exhibited in any activity from cooking to watching TV, working at your desk or even over training one area of your body- you must become educated on the importance of posture awareness during daily routine.

Secondary would be strengthening and correcting with exercise. Proper posture must be instilled in the body. If you are using the treadmill or spin class as a workout tool, remember that above adding speed and time to your workouts- postural awareness is key! But fixing this will require some specific muscle training.

Generally an emphasis should be placed on balance training with proper posture. The use of cardio vascular machines such as the treadmill, stationary bicycle and stair stepper with out the help of support handles and with stability and optimal posture.

 Using ‘The Swing’ will be your first line of defense…

A Danish research study just proved that kettlebells could strengthen back, shoulders and neck and relieve back pain.  The swing teaches you to recruit the entire Posterior Chain (or the muscles you can not commonly see in a mirror). Some of those include your back, shoulders, glutes, hamstrings and core).

*** Read our Blog entry titles ‘Swing Right’ in order to fully understand the swing motion.

When you do your Swing- PLEASE listen to the instructors whether in class or on the DVD. It is vital that you execute the motion correctly- hence receiving the full benefits.

Using our Warriors Walk Series

We know it’s difficult to balance on one foot, let alone have a kettlebell guide you down and add weight. But this type of training is crucial and when you do it- keep the slow and engaged pase of your muscles in mind, also aligning your  spine neutrally by looking three to four feet in front of you on the floor.

Brazilian JiuJitsu & Pilates KB Series

If you didn’t notice- all the ground stuff we do is a combination of BJJ with a small influence of Pilates and Yoga. Your plank series (from the kettlebell plant Cleans, and Sphinx push-ups to the 15 second Plank drills, the JiuJitsu Sit-ups and Turkish get-ups) are all core strengthening tools. Now when your core is strong and able to act in everything you do from sitting around to training- then your posture will correct itself.

So – get yourself into a class, use the DVD or simply start a training routine that not only promises weight-loss results but also promises health results… Longevity and how you feel in your movement is just as important as how you look in a pair of skinny jeans!

(Luckily- we have both factors figured out).


Dasha Libin Anderson, MS, NASM-PES, NASE, M-KBIA