About 18 months ago I went to the doctor for a sore shoulder. It was more than a little sore. It was actually quite painful – I couldn’t lay on my right side or lift my arm over my head – and the doctor was able to help it feel better. He never mentioned the cause, but I caught a glimpse of my chart and was shocked to see a note about poor posture.
What? No way. I have beautiful posture. People have remarked on it in the past and, as a classically trained singer, it’s just expected.
But I will admit that since having Miss O my posture has started looking a little sad.
I started to think about why that was the case and I came up with a pretty long list of things that I do daily that cause my shoulders to hunch forward.
Here are just a few: carrying a child, holding a child (sitting), hugging a child, giving a bath, brushing teeth (mine and hers), doing hair, making dinner, cutting food, carrying groceries, driving… it goes on and on.
Then add in all of our time sitting at a computer or playing on our phones, and we spend a good portion of our day with horrible posture.
Ever since my diagnosis and subsequent physical therapy and chiropractic care I’ve been much more deliberate about caring for my posture.
Try these easy stretches to help prevent mommy hunchback. Please note, I am trained as a singer, not a physical therapist or doctor. If you need medical help or a long-term pain solution, go to a doctor, not a chick with a blog.
- Bend over, let your arms hang down at or near your toes. Roll up slowly, 1 vertebrae at a time, roll shoulders back at top. Stay loose the whole time and don’t let your shoulders squeeze up towards your ears.
- Bring your arms straight up and extend your fingers toward the ceiling. Slowly, keeping your arms straight, lower them to your side into a T shape, then down to your hips.
- Squeeze your shoulder blades together, so it looks like your pushing your chest out (but not so far it hurts), hold for 20 seconds, then release. Be sure to use your abs for support to prevent hyper-extending your back.
- Stand against a wall, feet 1-2 fee from the wall, shoulders flat against the wall.
Most importantly, however, stand up straight when you can. When you’re standing or walking with free hands take extra care to stand up straight. Carry yourself with dignity at all times, even when you’re wearing 3-day old yoga pants with drool and glitter on them. Walk tall!