3 min read

Vitas Naudziunas, PT

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How To Maintain Good Posture While Driving

 

We look at the top three reasons why you shouldn’t lean while driving, and the three things you can do to ensure you maintain good posture in the car.

Many of us spend a decent part of our life driving or commuting to work. The average one-way commute is 25 minutes in North America – that’s a minimum of an hour of your day spent driving. That is enough to develop poor posture and movements habits, especially right at the start of your day. Lower back pain and prolonged driving seem to go hand-in-hand, but it doesn’t have to be that way.

Leaning over the one side while driving will eventually become uncomfortable on your lower back.

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The lean can stay with you all day

1. This position creates an “S” shaped curve in your spine. After sleeping, your discs have rehydrated and decompressed. Putting yourself in this position creates uneven load through the discs for a prolonged amount of time, creating uneven pressure through the discs of the low back. It also promotes having the head forward which can strain the neck and cause adaptive changes in the low back as further compensation.

2. Muscles adapt to chronic positions by adaptively lengthening or shortening. So after your 30-minute drive in that particular position, the body will naturally maintain some of that “S” curve once you are back upright or by the time you reach your desk.

3. This adaptation can also affect your movements patterns as the muscle progressively adapts to that position over time, especially if you go to work and spend your day sitting. Thus, you may have poor alignment while moving and there is a good chance you’ll even notice it because your body has already adapted to that position. That alignment may not cause issues initially but when it does it will take just as much time to undo it.

The following are ways you can fix your posture while driving.

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Sit the right way

Get in your vehicle and find a seat position where you can sit upright on the chair (raise the chair back if you have to) and comfortably have your hands on the wheel with a relaxed, mild bend in the elbows.

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Adjust your vantage points

Once in this position, alter your mirrors so that they will be most effective when sitting in this stance. Seated like this will be a constant reminder of optimal position while driving.

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Switch Your Sitting Position

For those that already have been in these postures for a long time, spend 5-10 minutes a day sitting in the opposite position for a few weeks just to help even out these muscle imbalances. You will notice that if you tend to lean right while driving, then leaning to your left will feel awkward. This reaction is your brain and body telling you that it’s a position you are not used to.

3 min read

Rebecca Armstrong

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How To Carry Your Bag And Avoid Shoulder Pain

 

While living in the digital age, it’s easy to choose fashion over function. Without thinking twice, we will purchase the fancy looking purse or handbag over the practical and functional option, which can lead to shoulder pain.

The problem is that while we may look fly AF walking with our large *insert name brand here* purse, the constant load on our shoulder can lead to neck, shoulder pain, lower back pain and dysfunction.

Carrying that heavy bag can cause your natural gait to be thrown off (by interfering with your arm swing), your center of gravity will shift to the side, and your bag will also cause your upper trapezius muscles to become overactive and stiff.

Here are five tips you can use to try and decrease the adverse effects of carrying a purse.

Try a cross body bag

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Instead of loading one side of your body with a heavy weight, causing your body to carry an asymmetric load, try using a cross body bag to distribute the forces through the body better.

Reduce the load

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While this may seem like an obvious one, lessening the burden that you carry on the daily can significantly reduce the strain you place on your shoulders and neck. Consider doing a weekly inventory of your purse to see what you need or don’t need.

Switch your bag on your other shoulder

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This may be a tough one to get used to as you likely have developed muscle memory and subsequent tension on the side you carry your bag on, but switching shoulders periodically can help distribute the load, and decrease the strain and asymmetry on your body.

Try a backpack

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I know you are probably rolling your eyes at this one, but there are a lot of fashionable backpacks to choose from! Switching to a two strap bag can significantly reduce the amount of strain and asymmetry a large shoulder bag would otherwise cause. The load will evenly distribute the weight through your body, and you will be able to walk with a normal gait.

Use a dynamic purse/bag

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Try using a bag with different strap options. Switching between cross-body, on the shoulder, and holding the purse as a clutch can offer rest to those often overused, upper trapezius muscles.

 

2 min read

Dr. Kevin Marryshow

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Four Text Neck Exercises To Avoid Text Neck Syndrome

At this point in the tech generation, it’s safe to say that majority of the population has a smartphone. Unfortunately, we all are susceptible to text neck syndrome. However, small changes to the way you consume content on your phone can make all the difference between a healthy neck and text neck.

Check out these four simple exercises and neck pain stretches for your neck pain!

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1. Neck problems from cell phones can be fixed by simply bringing your phone a little closer to your face. It makes the world of a difference!

Ultimately, you decide on positioning; your phone doesn’t. By putting 10 degrees of extension in your neck (bringing your head back up) can alleviate about 10lbs of sustained weight on your neck. As long as you’re more conscious about positioning, it’ll help you find opportunities to bring your phone up to your face.

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2. Talk more and text less

We have lost our ability to make more genuine connections. We don’t even call to wish each other happy birthday anymore. We pretty much say all of our well wishes with one emoticon. In a day in age where hearing a voice over the phone is rare take advantage. It could set you apart in many ways and give you a competitive edge.

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3. Tuck your elbows – it provides you with a checkpoint

When you tuck your elbows into your body it gives you no room to drop your arms down any more. When your arms drop down your head will just end up following.

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4. Get into the habit of simple and quick neck exercises

Working on the deep neck flexors is an excellent way to create a stretch of your back neck muscles that tend to tighten up. It also builds the strength of the muscles deep in the front of the neck that tends to get weaker and inhibited because of always texting on your phone.

  1. Lie on your back
  2. Tuck your chin slightly
  3. Raise your head up just high enough to force you to contract the muscles in the front of your neck against gravity
  4. Slowly continue to raise your head into more neck flexion (chin down to to chest)
  5. Don’t let your chin jut forward
  6. Hold for 30 sec (or whatever time you can tolerate. Many of you will be super tired after 10secs)
  7. Repeat 3x daily

3 min read

Dr. Kevin Marryshow

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How To Netflix And Chill Without The Back Pain

 

We’ve all been there before. One hour on Netflix quickly turns into twelve hours slouched on your couch and before you know it, you’re experiencing lower back pain.

Before you decide to invest the next twelve consecutive hours of your day cuddled up with your partner, make sure to take the proper steps to avoid any potential back pain.

To help avoid any injuries, we’ve outlined the top five things you need to know so you can Netflix and chill, sans the back pain.

Plank before the meet-up

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Before you head over to your date’s place, do a plank. Getting into a plank position is an excellent way to get your core muscles engaged to take on the stresses of a TV marathon. I mean, you could do a plank at her house, but there is no guarantee she won’t consider you a weirdo. For the sake of argument, get to know her first before you make her living room your personal space.

Slouching isn’t attractive

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Slouching creates a posterior pelvic tilt and it adds additional stress on your back. To avoid any back pain, slide your butt right back into the wedge where the backrest meets the cushion.

It’s good to kick it, but not with your feet up

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Putting your feet up seems relaxing, but the temporary bliss is just adding more stress on your lower back. If you want to test your back out, try sitting with your feet up for three hours while slouching. You may make it through the next episode, but eventually your back will give in.

Don’t overlook the figure-four stretch

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Every hour, take a break and try a duo “figure four stretch.” There is no better way to show your date that you take good care of your body.

  1. Slide forward to the edge of your seat
  2. Cross one leg over the other into a figure 4
  3. Sit up tall until you feel a stretch in your glutes
  4. Hold for 30 seconds
  5. Repeat three times on both sides

Every step you take counts

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Whether it’s bathroom breaks, refilling your drinks, or restocking snacks, getting up from your seat will have a positive impact on your back. Going for a walk mid-way into your TV binge will alleviate the stress on your back and provide you with the perfect solutions to avoid any post-Netflix and chill back pain.

2 min read

How To Properly Sit At Your Desk

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How To Properly Sit At Your Desk

 

The majority of people sit either with a flat lumbar spine or overarched lumbar spine. 

Sitting incorrectly creates improper compensations, inefficient use of the musculature and compression of the spinal disk. These dysfunctional sitting postures can be carried over into standing and movement patterns which can have a drastic effect on your health.

Also, sitting while under stress (i.e. at work) taps into your sympathetic nervous system (fight or flight). Since you can’t punch your boss, out (fight) or run away from work (flight), your sympathetic nervous system is on overload constantly even when you get home. You cannot tap back into your parasympathetic nervous system to rest and digest, that is why so many people cannot sleep well and have poor digestion. By repeating the cycle day in and day out, it’s no wonder why people die prematurely.

So how do you resolve this? Well, for starters try to not to sit so much. Go for walks, find a movement practice to destress, and meditate.

If you have to sit, sit with a posture that is supportive for your structure.

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Many of us spend way too much time sitting at work with a posture that is not supportive for our bone structure and tissues.

Sitting up straight and pulling your shoulders back are important to keep in mind, but they are difficult to do unless you keep your pelvis neutral. How do I do that?

  • Find your “SITS” bones. Get in a chair and when you feel two hard/firm bumps, you want to sit right on top of them. If you tilt your butt back, you will feel them move backwards.
  • Try to slouch upper body without allowing your pelvis to posterior tilt.
  • Come back up then allow your pelvis to posterior tilt (Tuck tail under). You will notice your upper body drop into a slouch
  • Keeping your pelvis in posterior tilt, try to straighten your spine, so you are upright.

It’s hard to keep everything lined up if your pelvis is not level but it’s so much easier when it is!

1 min read

Michael Bercasio

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Forward Head Posture Is Affecting Your Brain

 

It’s not uncommon to see a patient walk into the Myodetox office with a twelve-pound head that’s migrated three inches forward on their body because of Forward Head Posture (FHP).

Forward Head Posture is a common problem for a lot of people, amongst other postural issues. Over time, Forward Head Posture will cause significant damage to the spine, in what is otherwise a preventable injury.

Did you know for every inch of Forward Head Posture, the weight of the head on the spine increases by an additional ten pounds?

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The rampant spread of this particular posture issue is partly due to our society’s addiction to prolonged sitting, and through excessive use of tablets and smartphones (damn you, Snapchat). By doing so, your forward posture can add up to 30 pounds of abnormal leverage on the cervical spine!

Forward Head Posture has also been shown to affect the brain negatively. Research shows that 90% of the stimulation and nutrition to the brain is generated by the movement of the spine. Therefore, less cervical movement results in less nutrition to the brain. Only ten percent of the brain has to do with thinking, metabolism, and healing.

Research shows that 90% of the stimulation and nutrition to the brain is generated by the movement of the spine.

Consequently, FHP will cause the brain to rob energy from thinking, metabolism and immune function to deal with abnormal gravity/posture relationships and processing.

1 min read

Staff

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This Is Why You Don’t Have Good Posture

If you’re not standing or sitting straight, it’s not your fault you don’t have good posture.

How often do you hear the importance of good posture? They’re either nagging you to, “sit straight, keep your chest out, and stomach in!
” or “stop slouching and keep those shoulders back!”

You’re constantly bombarded with advice and suggestions on how to be “posturally sound.” But unless you make a conscious effort to “sit straight”, you are quick to revert to your old habits! Here’s what you guys have been waiting your entire life to hear – it’s not your fault! 

The problem is that people confuse “posture” with “structure.” Posture is the ability to hold the structure of your body. Structure (when it comes to your body) is how your body stacks with gravity.

Wait, what? Okay, let us break it down. When the structure is properly balanced, your body is stacked well, which means it’s much natural to have good posture. While there are many other reasons that cause poor posture, in this case, we should clearly look at how the structure of our body directly effects our posture. A person slouches not because he has bad habits, but because their body structure doesn’t make it easy for the person not to slouch.

Do you want to get someone to sit straight? Focus on the structure of your body so when sit down or stand, you’ll notice a drastic improvement with your posture.