Changing Posture - Pain
I've been in the process of changing my posture after reading good books by Esther Gokhale for example.
I'm wondering if while consciously changing your posture you experienced any pain?
For example, my shoulders are slightly rounded and propel forward slightly. So I've been focusing on getting them more set back where they naturally should sit. Its the old standard move of raising the shoulders up, pulling them back slightly and dropping them into their natural place where they sit naturally. However, after keeping this position for some time my shoulder muscles start to ache strongly, my traps get really sore, etc.
Is this a good sign that I'm changing the body ('no pain no gain') or is this a bad sign?
Any personal experiences out there?
While adjusting your posture, you have to retrain your muscles. You are currently using the major muscles to hold the postural muscles in place, so yes, it can be tiring. Once your postural muscles are strengthened, the major muscles will not be actively engaged.
Seeing a physical therapist or chiropractor for stretches & exercises may help speed up the process. Make sure you do exercises that balance your chest & back muscles (push-ups & squats, not one or the other). Spending a lot of time writing or at the computer will pull your shoulders forward too, so be sure to get up and stretch!
Yes, this happens. After a while, you might even experience some "clunking" of your shoulders and back bones popping into place, as the muscles set the bones where they should be.
One thing that helped me more than anything else was Australian pullups, or horizontal rows, or whatever else people call them. Get under a bar or a suspension trainer (TRX, etc) and do the reverse of a pushup motion. This helped strengthen the mid-back muscles that help pull my shoulders down and back like they should be.
Thanks for the replies!
Yeh my side delts are really feeling some pain when my shoulders are being held in the right place at the moment.
I've always had weak side delts muscles which could be a symptom of poor shoulder positioning/posture
Your body will always try to seek homeostasis, whether it be posture or diet or sleep patterns, etc. good or bad, it will resist change. With posture, consistency is key. A lot of things that help are strengthening the posteriour chain, correcting imbalances and getting rid of bad habits.
Definitely expect some soreness and/or outright pain for a bit.
A few years ago, I needed to develop perfect posture. Wow - was that work! Just being consciously aware of my posture was mentally tiring. Then having to keep my muscles from slipping back into their old slouchy ways was a constant battle. There was definitely some pain for a few weeks. Incorporating it into my exercise and daily activity was also challenging. Fortunately I had a great session with a Physical Therapist who showed me how to do a lot of little day-to-day tasks without compromising my posture. That was immensely helpful. It took a good several weeks to get my muscles re-trained, and I still have to watch to make sure I'm not slipping.
Nowadays, I've seriously had many people ask me if I'm a dancer (which to me is laughable - I think my jaw did literally drop open the first time) because apparently I move and sit that way due to my posture. I've also had people just blurt out "Wow! you have amazing posture" which tells me it's paying off. All of this is very flattering, but the best part is that it pays off in better athletic performance, fewer injuries, less aches, pains 'n strains, and a taller, slimmer-looking profile. One unanticipated side effect - I look way better in pictures now.
It's not always easy, but it [I]does [/I]get much easier and it's so worth it!
A few great things to do daily.
Joint mobility drills. Every morning i loosen up every joint with a series of circles and swings and a few dynamic stretchs.
Learn to squat. Holding a squat for up to ten minutes a day does wonders for hip mobilty. Also squat to pick things up.
Focus heavily on strengthing the entire posterior chain. Do teo exercise for the back for every one of the front. This will help posture passively.
Use your non dominant hand more often. Many people have major imbalances from only picking things up and carrying with their dominant hand. Even things like brushing your teeth the same way can throw your neck out of alignment.
Quit sitting down. The worst thing in the world for posture is sitting and slouching forawrd.
I will tell you why it hurts: Your muscles and tendons are used to that awful, forward-shoulder position. Putting them back works muscle and stretches tendons in ways they aren't used to, thus, it's gonna get sore.
I suggest you see a chiropractor. I dealt with posture issues and back pain for years, turns out it was from an old fall on my hip, putting my spine out of alignment. My tendons and muscles got used to the bad curvature of my spine, and it took months of physical and chiropractic therapy to get back to "normal" ("normal" because I honestly don't know what perfect posture feels like; I have some permanent damage, because tendons do *not* go back to normal once they are stretched out).
I did experience this, especially in the beginning: Muscles were very sore after being adjusted into the "correct" position. It takes the body a long time to heal, and I wouldn't be surprised if your spine is also out of alignment. That your shoulders naturally go forward makes me suspect that you don't have a very strong core; people with weak abs will hold their weight with their back, and that's what it looks like. Forward shoulders, forward neck (neck should rest against the headrest in the car, just look at all the drivers that hunch forward over their steering wheels...that's bad posture for ya).
The difficulty of not doing this with someone (ie, an expert guiding the way), is that what you think is relevant and important to your posture -- or the origin of the problem -- may not be.
That being said, when I was given my first "key" to work on, the immediate pains went away, but others cropped up because my body was compensating differently for what it "once" did. And then, my postural patterning guy gave me a second thing to fix that problem, and I was able to work on it and when that was fixed, it created other pains upstream. And so then I was given a third thing, and that fixed and I got other pains, and so on.
The trouble is, you may not know how to fix it just from reading a book. Working with a posture specialist could go a long way for you. :)
[QUOTE=jfreaksho;1225930]Yes, this happens. After a while, you might even experience some "clunking" of your shoulders and back bones popping into place, as the muscles set the bones where they should be.
One thing that helped me more than anything else was Australian pullups, or horizontal rows, or whatever else people call them. Get under a bar or a suspension trainer (TRX, etc) and do the reverse of a pushup motion. This helped strengthen the mid-back muscles that help pull my shoulders down and back like they should be.[/QUOTE]
I have exactly this problem, thanks for the suggestion.
One thing I wanted to ask the forum, I did the 'doorway' shoulder stretch and have had noticeable pain in the top of my spine afterwards. I didn't feel it at the time, is this just a case of too much too soon or to be expected? It has stayed at uncomfortable rather than painful as such.