Through the years, I’ve been privileged to have experienced almost everything I treat my patients for: headaches, neck pain, back sprains, disc issues, shoulder injuries. It helps me relate to their story, helps me come up with a treatment plan, and helps to put them at ease.
If there’s one cause that is central to the core of my being it is the deterioration of our head and neck posture with the advent of smartphones and tablets. Well, yeah, world peace, marriage equality, climate change, yadda yadda, I’m pretty passionate about those things, too, but for today, it’s head and neck posture.
Core stability is important for low back health over a lifetime, and impacts all body movements and postural positions. As a culture, we’ve lost our abdominal control for the most part, but it’s not too late – we can turn back time and get it back!
How we hold ourselves in space at rest (static) and while moving (dynamic) is the most important predictor of the shape of things to come. Posture is determined by voluntary muscle contraction. These muscles are controlled by nerve impulses from the motor cortex of the brain. As the brain is pretty busy, it’s always looking for ways to be more efficient.
Stretching sucks. It’s a pain in the butt (especially when you’re stretching the butt muscles). It’s boring. But here’s the upshot: longer hamstrings, hip flexors, and back muscles translate to longer strokes and slower slides.
Whatever your favorite pastime, whether it’s going to the gym, skiing, running, basketball, lying on the couch inhaling spicy popcorn and Netflix binging, we should make stretching part of our regular activities so that we’ll be better able to enjoy our activities.