As seen in the October 2018 issue of Phoenix Vol. 53 No. 10. Written by Tri-Physical Therapy founder Dr. Barbara Goldsworthy.
Ladies, we have a hunch your posture is not always great.
And that you're probably sitting too much, hunched over your computer. And when you're standing, you're often carrying a heavy purse or diaper bag and leaning like the Tower of Pisa. It may seem as if rounded shoulders is a small problem. But "research says the weight of your head is about 10 to 15 pounds, and when you're looking down at your computer or texting, that head now becomes 60 pounds in terms of how much pressure (torque) is on your spine," says Dr. Barbara Goldsworthy, a physical therapist at Tri-Physical Therapy in Phoenix.
Posture issues and stress can cause tight chest muscles, weak back muscles, and back pain. "Your core is powerhouse, and everything stems from your powerhouse," Goldsworthy says. She recommends Pilates, which increases core strength, plus hip and shoulder stability. Goldswrothy works with patients to get proper body alignment and form on the machines, so they're strengthening the correct muscles. She notes that correct form often feels wrong for people initially, so guidance is important.
Goldsworthy also advises, "You shouldn't be sitting for longer than 30 minutes without taking a break, doing some shoulder rolls, standing up, doing some type of movement, and giving your eyes a break from the computer. Get the blood flowing, tap your toes." Even if you use a standing desk, blood can pool in your ankles, so movement is important.
For people with muscle tightness, Tri-Physical Therapy offers massage and cupping. While the latter may conjure images of Gwyneth Paltrow's red-spotted back, Goldsworthy explains that cupping is an alternative to trigger point massage, but instead of pushing the trigger point down, the cup lifts it up and loosens the muscle. "You have more range of motion, and you feel lighter. Then, going to Pilates machines and strengthening it with that new found mobility will help you avoid injury down the road."