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Thread: More about posture




  1. #1
    Ultimate BHUZzer dunyah's Avatar
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    More about posture

    There was a great thread a while back, with tips for improving posture. I have been using some of these exercises:

    stretching the muscles in the front of the shoulders by placing hands on either side of a doorway and leaning forward

    standing against the wall, with arms overhead and elbows touching the wall, sliding the arms upward to strengthen the shoulders

    placing one hand behind your back, gently circle the shoulder for at least one minute, really releases the shoulder

    but probably not enough. I do feel better when I do these. But viewing a recent video of my dancing, I am so frustrated to see that my shoulders don't stay back, then tend to creep forward.

    I had two whiplash injuries, one very severe, and have lost the natural curve in my neck, so that my head is slightly pushed forward. I think this really exacerbates the problem. I am constantly correcting my posture but my default posture is not what I would want it to be, I'm getting a bit "droopy."

    I should probably go see someone for advice, but who? Physical therapist, personal trainer, chiropractor ??

    Any bhuzzers have experience with this problem? As I am getting older it is getting more difficult to reverse the problem, and it's kind of depressing.
    Belly Dance to the Music of Americanistan
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  2. #2
    Ultimate BHUZzer *Shira*'s Avatar
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    Re: More about posture

    Quote Originally Posted by dunyah View Post
    I had two whiplash injuries, one very severe, and have lost the natural curve in my neck, so that my head is slightly pushed forward. I am constantly correcting my posture but my default posture is not what I would want it to be, I'm getting a bit "droopy."

    I should probably go see someone for advice, but who? Physical therapist, personal trainer, chiropractor ??

    Any bhuzzers have experience with this problem? As I am getting older it is getting more difficult to reverse the problem, and it's kind of depressing.
    I had two whiplash injuries (one severe), plus a rollover car accident, and I too used to have both the problem of keeping my shoulders back and also the problem of a lot of pain.

    For me, two things that helped were:

    1. Rolfing (some rolfers include Rossiter technique as part of what they do, and I found it very helpful)
    2. Myofascial release

    Both types of body work target the layer of fascia that runs throughout your body. The fascia can get "stuck", plus you can build up rigid scar tissue in sites that were injured, and both of these styles of body work seek to restore your body to being pliable and aiming for healthy alignment.

    Rolfing was helpful in correcting my overall body alignment, and myofascial release has been helpful in working on specific problem areas. It's very, very important to choose carefully when choosing a rolfer - you want someone who approaches the body with respect and empathy, someone who will COAX your body to the desired alignment, NOT someone who'll be harsh/confrontational with your body.

    I used to have so much neck pain in the whiplash area that I'd take ibuprofen before going to bed and place a hot towel under my neck to try relaxing the muscles enough to help me fall asleep. My neck became pain-free after just a few months, and I have not had a return of that pain in 3-4 years.

    I used to take a one-hour bath every night before going to bed to release tension in the muscle area that was damaged in the rollover car accident so that I could get to sleep. I haven't felt the need for that in years. Now I can take a bath or sit in a hot tub simply for pleasure, without "needing" it as therapy.

    I'm currently in the process of using myofascial release to heal a bunion that was caused by 15 years of wearing pointy-toed shoes to work every day. My therapist has made a LOT of progress on that, but she has more to do.

    The combination of rolfing and myofascial release fixed injuries (kneecap thrown out of alignment) in both knees that were caused by a Turkish drop gone bad. I used to have knee pain, especially when climbing stairs, and no longer have any at all.

    My posture has improved greatly, as a result of the "stuck fascia" being released and allowing my body to pursue a more healthful alignment.

    Body work has worked miracles for me.
    dunyah and carpediem like this.


  3. #3
    A journey of ten thousand miles begins with a single post. Lauren_'s Avatar
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    Re: More about posture

    I struggle with the same thing (you got two of those three exercises from me, I think!)

    I've been SO curious about Rolfing since Shira wrote in depth about her experience. There didn't seem to be any Rolfers in my area at that time, but one recently opened up shop not TOO far away... I keep thinking I'm going to check it out...

    my other little pieces of advice are:

    1) I've become aware that those of us with head-forward posture often have ribcages that sink/collapse in front. (Sedonia first pointed out to me that my lower ribs in the back are not tilted forward the way hers are). Lifting the low ribs in front so the back low ribs draw into the body makes it SOOO much easier to bring the head back into alignment while lengthening the back of the neck into a natural alignment. Imagine a hook under the front ribs and one under the base of the skull in back both lifting up at the same time.

    2) Make that postural correction as often as you think of it. Try to move that way during the day, sit that way, etc. I find it helpful to support my midback with a cushion when seated, like in my car.

    3) Strengthen the upper back muscles. Doing rows with dumbbells, lat pulldowns on a machine at the gym, tricep dips on a chair, etc. all help tremendously. Here's another one: Lie on your back. Press the backs of your shoulders/arms and back of your head into the floor and see if you can lift your ribs away from the floor. Don't let your chin jut up toward the ceiling! Hold until you feel that 'sensation of building strength' in the upper back/neck muscles. Relax for a moment and repeat...

    4) Stay very aware of posture while practicing dance, of course. As you've seen, video is the most helpful tool. Use those two imaginary hooks to lift your ribcage & head. Lift from the back of the ribcage as well, and draw your shoulderblades down toward your waist.

    5) My brilliant massage therapist has pointed out to me that the muscles in the front of my neck, that attach at the collarbones, are contributing to the issue. Stretch these by laying your head to the side, ear toward the shoulder (both shoulders relaxing toward the floor) and then let the head tilt slightly back, so your face turns toward the ceiling. You can enhance the stretch by tucking the arm that you're tilting AWAY from behind your back.

    I believe it's a three-legged stool. Awareness, opening the front of the chest/shoulders/neck, and strengthening the upper back muscles (which get overstretched & weakened by this habitual posture.

    I also believe it's taken years/decades to lock in the bad posture, and it takes constant vigilance for months/years to lock in any improvements.


  4. #4
    Ultimate BHUZzer ssipes's Avatar
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    Re: More about posture

    The Complete Guide to the Alexander TechniqueDunyah, if you have access, work with an Alexander Technique instructor.

    This helped me where chiros, doctors, massage therapists, myofascial release, stretching regimes, weightlifting, and physical therapy did not. (not saying these things aren't good -- I still lift weights, get occasional massages, and stretch)

    I have a very straight spine, a miliary neck (no curve, or in some xrays even a reverse curve), and a herniated disc, and my upper body used to be compressed and locked. Alexander Technique was a physical epiphany.

    You really need to work with an AT instructor, but I can tell you one of the first principles: let your head go up.
    dunyah and tahiradancer like this.
    Dancer/instructor/silk artist in southern Illinois email: sedoniaraqs@gmail.com
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  5. #5
    Ultimate BHUZzer dunyah's Avatar
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    Re: More about posture

    Thank you, you have all given me lots to think about. I do think the myofascial release is something I could pursue right away. And the piece about the rib cage is really useful. Thanks for your thoughtful responses.

    I don't know much about rolfing or Alexander Technique, but I will look into it.
    Belly Dance to the Music of Americanistan
    http://www.americanistan.com


  6. #6
    A journey of ten thousand miles begins with a single post. Zumarrad's Avatar
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    Re: More about posture

    What Lauren said. Therapies will be good for you, and exercises will help you retrain your body, but the ultimate trick is your alignment, and those hooks in the ceiling are very helpful things.


  7. #7
    Administrator Hannan's Avatar
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    Re: More about posture

    I am addicted to a blog by Katy Bowman, a biomechanist: Katy Says | Chronic Pain is Not natural
    She has incredible information on alignment.
    She also has great online classes. Her shoulder $15 class fixed my sore shoulders better than an $80 massage. Super Supple Shoulders
    I don't have any affiliation with her, just wanted to recommend her stuff because it has been so valuable to me.
    -Hannan
    Kalirah and lylagus like this.


  8. #8
    Established BHUZzer GenevieveOfAtlanta's Avatar
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    Re: More about posture

    I was having constant, severe pain in my neck, shoulders and back. No amount of stretching seemed to help, and frequent massages are not really in my budget. Finally, I got a standing desk for my office. It changed everything! I have none of the pain and stiffness I was experiencing before from sitting for long periods of time. Now, if there are underlying issues causing your pain (and it sounds like there are) those need to be addressed before you would see any major benefit from a standing workstation. But it's something to think about. We tend to get very "comfy" while sitting for long stretches, and that usually equates to poor posture. If you sit at a desk for several hours a day, those poor positions become locked in your muscle memory. While standing, I find it quite a bit easier to constantly check in with my body and correct my posture.
    dunyah and nasila like this.


  9. #9
    Master BHUZzer tigerb's Avatar
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    Re: More about posture

    Thanks for all this great information, everybody. My chronic muscle aches have recently been diagnosed as fibromyalgia (in other words, they said, "sorry, we have no magic drugs for you.") I'm sometimes in so much pain my massage therapist can barely touch me.

    I ordered Katy Bowman's "When you hurt all over" DVD as that sounded so familiar!
    Vashti Silks is my silk dye blog


  10. #10
    Ultimate BHUZzer ssipes's Avatar
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    Re: More about posture

    Thanks for sharing this!!

    Would the shoulder class address tight upper traps?

    Quote Originally Posted by Hannan View Post
    I am addicted to a blog by Katy Bowman, a biomechanist: Katy Says | Chronic Pain is Not natural
    She has incredible information on alignment.
    She also has great online classes. Her shoulder $15 class fixed my sore shoulders better than an $80 massage. Super Supple Shoulders
    I don't have any affiliation with her, just wanted to recommend her stuff because it has been so valuable to me.
    -Hannan
    Dancer/instructor/silk artist in southern Illinois email: sedoniaraqs@gmail.com
    Sedonia's Etsy Store


  11. #11
    Ultimate BHUZzer ssipes's Avatar
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    Unhappy Re: More about posture

    nevermind
    Last edited by ssipes; 10-09-2011 at 10:12 AM.
    Dancer/instructor/silk artist in southern Illinois email: sedoniaraqs@gmail.com
    Sedonia's Etsy Store


  12. #12
    Mega BHUZzer lylagus's Avatar
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    Re: More about posture

    Quote Originally Posted by Hannan View Post
    I am addicted to a blog by Katy Bowman, a biomechanist: Katy Says | Chronic Pain is Not natural
    She has incredible information on alignment.
    She also has great online classes. Her shoulder $15 class fixed my sore shoulders better than an $80 massage. Super Supple Shoulders
    I don't have any affiliation with her, just wanted to recommend her stuff because it has been so valuable to me.
    -Hannan

    I ordered one of her DVD's. I'm hopeful. Thank you for the connection.


  13. #13
    Ultimate BHUZzer tahiradancer's Avatar
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    Re: More about posture

    Quote Originally Posted by ssipes View Post
    The Complete Guide to the Alexander TechniqueDunyah, if you have access, work with an Alexander Technique instructor.

    This helped me where chiros, doctors, massage therapists, myofascial release, stretching regimes, weightlifting, and physical therapy did not. (not saying these things aren't good -- I still lift weights, get occasional massages, and stretch)

    I have a very straight spine, a miliary neck (no curve, or in some xrays even a reverse curve), and a herniated disc, and my upper body used to be compressed and locked. Alexander Technique was a physical epiphany.

    You really need to work with an AT instructor, but I can tell you one of the first principles: let your head go up.
    WOO!!!! I was going to say Alexander Tech! So helpful! As are Rolfing, etc. But I love how AT can really hone in on posture issues and get us back to neutral quickly. I am actually trying to get my sister to do this!

    {{{HUGS}}}


  14. #14
    Ultimate BHUZzer dunyah's Avatar
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    Re: More about posture

    Since posting this, I have been diligent about doing the exercises I mentioned, plus the visualization about the hooks in the rib cage and back of the head. The result is a painful triggering of my old neck injury! I have an appointment for a myofascial release massage treatment with the most gifted massage therapist I know. I am somewhat hopeful but also feeling discouraged. The old neck injury is definitely haunting me!
    Belly Dance to the Music of Americanistan
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  15. #15
    A journey of ten thousand miles begins with a single post. Lauren_'s Avatar
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    Re: More about posture

    Quote Originally Posted by dunyah View Post
    Since posting this, I have been diligent about doing the exercises I mentioned, plus the visualization about the hooks in the rib cage and back of the head. The result is a painful triggering of my old neck injury! I have an appointment for a myofascial release massage treatment with the most gifted massage therapist I know. I am somewhat hopeful but also feeling discouraged. The old neck injury is definitely haunting me!
    Oh NO! I hope the massage helps!


  16. #16
    Ultimate BHUZzer dunyah's Avatar
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    Re: More about posture

    Quote Originally Posted by Lauren_ View Post
    Oh NO! I hope the massage helps!
    Me too, I can't wait! I haven't been in pain like this for many years.
    Belly Dance to the Music of Americanistan
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  17. #17
    Ultimate BHUZzer dunyah's Avatar
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    Re: More about posture

    I just got back from seeing my massage therapist. She spent a lot of time working on the muscles in the front of the neck, and did some cranio-sacral release. My posture is visibly improved!

    To work on alignment, she placed her hand on my back, just below the bra line. She had me breathe into that area, i.e. expand the body in all directions when inhaling, then keep that position when exhaling. This engages the abs and allows the upper body to stack up nicely, the shoulders to hang freely from the spine, and it is easy to do and to remember.

    There is more, but I am so relieved that I'm not hopeless. I'll be going back next week.

    Shortened muscles in the front of the neck were pulling the head forward, causing the ribcage to sink, the shoulders to pull forward, etc.
    tahiradancer and *Shira* like this.
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  18. #18
    Ultimate BHUZzer dunyah's Avatar
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    Re: More about posture

    I just have to add that the technique about using the breath for proper alignment (see post above) is brilliant! I can use it any time, sitting, standing, walking, and it really works. My posture is so improved.

    I am going again to see the massage therapist again next week. She says she can get my head to come back a little further, so I am hoping to see even more improvements. I am so grateful, I was picturing myself all hunched over and unable to straighten up in a few years!
    Belly Dance to the Music of Americanistan
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