With the majority of people having desk jobs sitting in front of a computer, common avoidable postural distortions like forward head posture (FHP) and Upper Crossed Syndrome have become almost the norm. If you’re able to keep your focus on proper posture from a young age and throughout your life, you have a good chance of never having to deal with these postural issues. Unfortunately, that doesn’t seem to be the case most of the time.
The less time you spend moving, the more likely your posture will suffer. This simple stretch can help and takes very little time.
Lately I’ve been giving out this simple passive stretch to many of my clients, so it seems like a good tool to share with everyone. The Wall Stand is a total body, passive, stretch and proprioceptive training tool that really focuses on lengthening your anterior (front- pecs, abs, quads) connective tissue and helping your body remember how it feels to but fully upright. Optimal posture, when seen from the side, would have your head over your shoulders so that the opening to your ear lines up with the flat end of your collarbone nearest to the shoulder.
For many people, due to our western lifestyles and sitting too much, the head has migrated forward. This can lead to many problems such as headaches, neck and shoulder pain and a hump known as Dowager’s Hump. The Wall Stand Stretch helps lengthen the muscles in the back of the neck and strengthen the muscles in the front of the neck, which can help correct the forward head posture.
The Wall Stand Exercise is as easy as standing against a wall. Doesn’t sound like much, but for many people it will be a deep stretch and it will be hard to hold for 5 minutes.
1) Place your heels against a wall. The move your hips and shoulders to the wall with your palms touching the wall.
3) Hold the position until you feel fatigue. Then walk away from the wall and let everything relax. On your second repetition, you will do the same movements. IF you had to step away from the wall to get your head against the wall, move your feet slightly towards to the wall…you should notice the second repetition is easier. If you don’t, that is ok, it will within a week if you do this stretch everyday.
4) NOTE: The head must stay against the wall. This will cause you to activate your cervical flexors (the muscles on the front of your neck) and lengthen the cervical extensors (the muscles on the back of your neck). In forward head posture, the extensors are too short and tight and the flexors are too long and weak. By actively using the flexors in the wall stand, you’ll begin to correct this muscle imbalance, so that the postural correction stay with your after you get off the wall. Again, you’ll hold the position until fatigue. Then step away. Repeat 2 more times.
That’s it. Five minutes against a wall can correct the problems caused by hours of sitting staring at a screen.
So, next blog I will show you how to activate the intrinsic muscles of your neck, shoulders, and spine to develop the strength for good posture.
A little from Dr. Dan, a little from Lisa but always a lot of good stuff!