If you want to eliminate your neck, shoulder and upper back pain one of the first steps you must take is to stop schlumping.
Many people suffer from kyphosis, a.k.a. schlumping, which is technically defined as an upper back curvature greater than 35 degrees.
When you schlump on a regular basis, your head has no place to go but forward. Every extra inch your head juts forward adds an extra 10 pounds of pressure onto your neck, often leading to neck pain, herniated discs in your neck, upper back pain and shoulder pain.
This pattern of a rounded upper back is common among older Americans as well as anyone who sits behind a desk reaching towards a computer. To stop this pattern, you must stretch your latissimus dorsi muscles to return your spine to optimal alignment.
To stop this pattern, you must stretch your latissimus dorsi muscles to return your spine to optimal alignment.
What are your lats?
Your latissimus dorsi muscles are the largest muscles in your back. They fall on the acupuncture meridian for your spleen and are often aggravated by the mental pattern of worrying and the physical habit of overeating sugar. Frequently one side is tighter than the other, often leading to one shoulder being higher than another.
To unwind the pattern of kyphosis, you must stretch your latissimus dorsi muscles to return your spine to optimal alignment.
- Stand with your feet directly underneath your hip bones. Make sure your feet are pointed straight ahead.
- Bring a yoga strap overhead with your hands hip width apart.
- Wrap your hands around the yoga strap.
- Keep your wrists straight. Pull horizontally to the left and right as if you were pulling the strap apart.
- Hold one minute.
- Brings your spine into alignment.
- Stretches your latissimus dorsi muscles, the largest muscles in your back as well as your shoulders.
- Increases oxygen flow to your lungs.
- Make sure you don’t flex your wrists.
- Make sure your feet are pointed straight ahead.
- Keep your arms as straight as possible.
- If you can’t bring your arms fully over your head, do your best but don’t arch your back.
- Be sure to breathe deeply and relax!
I include this overload lat stretch in my sequence of posture exercises. You can download the directions for FREE at this link.
Want to learn more about how you can eliminate chest, shoulder, upper back and neck pain naturally? Call 678-612-8816 or email me at email@example.com to make an appointment. I’ll analyze your posture and explain what’s going on in your body and what you can do to feel better today.
To join Catherine’s ongoing yoga classes, follow the directions at this link. We meet Tuesday evenings from 7:30 to 9 p.m., Thursday mornings from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and Thursday evenings 7:30 to 9 p.m.
Private lessons meet by appointment Monday through Friday.
Photo of overhead lat stretch courtesy of Diane Fulmer of Savannah, Georgia.