19 Nov How Can You Reduce Muscle Tension from Postural Stress
How Can You Reduce Muscle Tension from Postural Stress?
Muscle tension from postural stress is widespread, especially in the digital age, where desk jobs, longer sitting hours, and prolonged use of different devices dominate almost everyone’s lives. It is no wonder why so many individuals experience discomfort related to their posture. Fortunately, there are ways to proactively mitigate the risks associated with postural stress. But first, the basics!
Understanding Postural Stress
Postural stress refers to the strain on your muscles when maintaining a particular position (generally unusual) for extended periods. Typically, this is seen in individuals who sit or stand in one position without frequent movement. Affected areas include the neck, shoulders, lower back, and hips. Over time, this accumulating tension can lead to an imbalance in muscle strength, reduced flexibility, and even spinal misalignment. If not addressed in time, prolonged postural stress can result in chronic pain, reduced mobility, and degenerative conditions like osteoarthritis.
Tips to Reduce Muscle Tension from Postural Stress
Poor posture generally tightens specific muscles, increasing muscle tension and interfering with daily life. Understanding and implementing the right strategies can significantly eliminate these risks. Here are some methods to reduce muscle tension caused by poor posture:
· Regular Breaks
Every hour, take a 5-minute break. Stand up, walk around, and stretch a bit to release built-up tension. You can also adopt the 20-20-20 rule: Every 20 minutes, take a 20-second break and focus on something at least 20 feet away to relieve eye strain and correct your posture.
· Ergonomic Workstation
Set up your workspace for optimal posture. Your screen(s) should be at eye level and your feet should rest flat on the ground. Invest in an ergonomic chair that provide lumbar support. Also, regularly check and adjust your posture during work, making sure your shoulders are relaxed and not hunched.
· Postural Awareness
Awareness of your posture is essential, so check in with your body regularly and adjust as required. Practice mindfulness, enhancing your understanding of how you hold your body throughout the day. Learn about the right movement patterns and postural habits as well.
· Exercising Regularly
Regular physical activity generally promotes better posture and reduces the risk of muscle tension. Incorporate strength training and flexibility exercises into your routine. Focus primarily on muscles prone to stress, and engage in core-strengthening activities, as a strong core is pivotal for good posture. Yoga and Pilates are also excellent choices to alleviate muscle tightness.
· Use of Supportive Tools
To support your spine’s natural curve while sitting, consider using lumbar rolls or cushions. Posture-correcting wearable devices can also provide real-time feedback, reminding you to sit or stand correctly, ultimately stressing your muscles a lot less.
· Professional Consultation
When stretches and posture-correcting equipment don’t work, professional consultation proves effective. A chiropractor can make the necessary posture recommendations and spinal adjustments tailored to your unique needs. Regular chiropractic care can help alleviate postural stress and is especially beneficial if you have chronic issues related to postural stress.
Stretching Exercises That Can Help
Here are some easy and common stretches chiropractors suggest to reduce muscle tension arising from postural stress:
· Neck Stretch
This is one of the easiest stretches – simply tilt your head to one side, bringing your ear to your shoulder, hold for 15-20 seconds, and repeat on the other side. You must do these while sitting or standing upright.
· Shoulder Rolls
Sit or stand with your back straight. Slowly roll your shoulders forward and then backwards in a circular motion to relax the trapezius muscles.
· Wall Angels
Stand with your back against a wall, raise your arms to the sides with elbows bent at 90 degrees, and move your arms up and down like making snow angels. This keeps your head more in line with your body.
· Knee-to-Chest Stretch
Lie on your back and pull one knee towards your chest, holding it with both hands. Switch and repeat with the other leg. It helps relieve muscle tension in your lower back and hips.
· Cat-Camel Stretch
Get on your hands and knees, arch your back upward like a cat and then downward like a camel. Do this a few times, and it will help you with your thoracic and lumbar spine.
· Cat-Cow Stretch
Similar to the cat-camel stretch, begin on your hands and knees in a tabletop position. Curve your back, lifting your head and tailbone towards the ceiling like a cow. Then, arch the back upwards, tucking your chin and tailbone like a cat. It improves posture and balance and is ideal for those with back pain.
· Hip Flexor Stretch
In a lunge position, with the back knee on the ground, push the hips forward. Repeat both sides several times. It benefits those who sit for extended periods, aiding in spine stabilization.
Please Note: While these exercises can benefit many people, individual needs vary. Always consult a qualified healthcare professional before starting a new exercise regimen, especially if you have existing health concerns.
Get Professional Help For your Postural Stress!
Postural stress, while prevalent, can be effectively managed with awareness and proactive measures. As an experienced chiropractor, Dr. Pranav Patel at Advanced Health Solutions, recommends prioritizing musculoskeletal health to prevent long-term implications and ensure optimal well-being. If you are struggling with chronic muscle pain or want to improve your overall well-being, do not wait for another time. Book your appointment with our chiropractors and physical therapy professionals now and take the first step towards a healthier, pain-free life! Schedule a consultation and start feeling and FUNCTIONING better!