I was at the Takapuna Market yesterday – it was a great day, so thank you to all those who stopped to talk to me or buy from me. I had made a handout to give people who passed by about how to care for aching neck and shoulder muscles. I decided to target people who walked past me with a ‘chook look’ posture.
And I was amazed at how many people were eligible, chook looks everywhere!
I was kept busy.
So why does it happen.
It may be the result of long periods at a poorly positioned computer screen or sewing machine, or knitters who are caught in the trap of getting just one more row done even when they are tired.
After an illness or a time of poor nutrition there can be general fatigue that means it is hard to hold up against gravity for long periods of time, and the sag is less effort and it becomes the new normal.
It can be due to a low self esteem, a physical response to depression or anxiety or ‘carrying the weight of the world’ on their shoulders.
Some women may do it to try and take the attention away from their breasts.
It can be the result of a poor breathing pattern in the first place.
Or no-one has ever corrected it, so again it starts to feel ‘normal’
When you look at a chook look posture side on, a person’s ears will be in front of their shoulders. Their nose will get their first
1- Their neck and shoulder muscles will be multitasking as for every 2.5 cm your head moves forward your spinal muscles will have to carry an extra 4.5 kg of load.
2- The diaphragm is compressed so it harder to breathe into the lower areas of the lungs, and those neck and shoulder muscles will do some more multitasking as they will have to do weight lifting to lift the rib cage for every breath. All day. Around 14,000 – 26,000 times over the day depending if you are breathing from 10-18 times a minute.
3- They will have a greater chance of jaw pain as this posture makes the jaw muscles tense.
4- The shoulder joints are rotated forward, which can put more of a shearing force on the rotator cuff muscle tendons that are a vulnerable area for shoulder injurys anyway.
5 – the scapula will rotate forward around the rib cage and the spine will tend to be rounded, so all the muscles of this area will be constantly in a lengthened weakened position.
So how do you correct it?
Certainly not with the shoulders back chest out rigid posture that our grandparents seemed to have been brought up on.
But stand in front of a mirror and practice a small chin tuck so that your eyes don’t look up or down but stay looking straight ahead while your head moves slightly backwards. The worst that can happen is a bit of a double chin. Which is not the end of the world!
And then roll your shoulders back a little. Don’t do any big movements or it will feel awkward. Small changes can make a big difference.
Practice holding this posture off and on e.g. during the advertisements on T.V. or between a couple of lamp posts when you are walking. You are establishing a new postural habit.
If you want to stretch the tight structures across the front of your chest, Google pectoral stretches and do them 3 times a day for 20 seconds each.
AND DON’T DO ANY OF THE ABOVE IF THEY CAUSE PAIN. But discuss it with your doctor next time you see him or go or see a physiotherapist.