Tuesday, March 16, 2010
Momma Knows Best
Over the years, I've had many patients that complain of middle back, low back, neck and shoulder pain. Many of these patients also happen to be competitive or recreational runners/exercisers. A disturbing trend is developing where these clients aren't always adults. More and more, we are seeing children and teens with legitimate pain from poor posture not only in running and athletics, but in just day to day activities.
Postural weakness and pain develops from muscles being continuously put into a lengthened state (think slumped over at a computer). These muscles in between your shoulder blades and down into your lower back are much less effective in this state. They work much harder and fatigue much faster. This may result in muscle pain, trigger points, shoulder pain, back pain, or neck pain.
Now consider running. If these same muscles that are supposed to support your upper body, trunk, hips, and most importantly, your legs, are getting tired after 10 minutes of running, your body is going to fatigue much faster. Not to mention the fact that if you're slumping during a run, your lung capacity and overall breathing is going to be compromised, making your body work that much harder.
The next time you watch a race on TV, notice the form and posture of the some the world's greatest runners. They are all running with great form and posture. Now, I'm not saying that if you change your posture, you're going to be an olympian, but it will improve your stamina, prevent injury, make you more efficient over time.
Remember some of the things we talk about in this blog: core strength and functional strength. Most people think of abdominals when they hear the word "core". But, your abdominals are not the only part of your core. The muscles between your shoulder blades and throughout your trunk are all part of your "core". Your core is only as strong as the weakest link.
In the future, I will post some pics of simple postural exercises. Until then, remember what mom (or dad) said: Sit up straight! Stand tall! They were right, after all!