A very valuable assessment, which I will follow up. I feel more confident about increasing my cycling mileage after making the recommended changes.
Sam, Maidenhead

Posture Related Injuries from Edinburgh


Well not technically from Edinburgh, but sitting in the departure lounge waiting for my flight back to Gatwick a quick scan of the terminal waiting area highlights why we are seeing more and more people suffering from injuries directly relating to poor posture.

To my left I have a young lady crumpled over her laptop, furiously tapping away at some sort of report and opposite me, a middle-aged man is pinning his mobile to his ear using his shoulder, while flicking through a diary.

It really is little wonder why neck, shoulder and back pain is so prominent in today’s society, and why there is a steady stream of people visiting the mobile massage therapist set-up in the middle of the departure lounge!

The flexed neck position, rounded shoulders and hunched upper back is a nasty combination that can lead to a number of aches and pains in areas that may not immediately come to mind.

Typically we associate this poor posture with neck, shoulder or back aches. But what else can it stress? To understand we need to make a flying visit (no pun intended) to the nervous system.

The brain is the origin of your nerves and the command centre for your whole body. The spinal cord exits the brain and runs down through the vertebral column, with branches of nerves leaving the spinal cord at each vertebral level to provide sensation and movement to your limbs. Due to the fact that the nerves are responsible for muscle contraction, stressing them can lead to muscle dysfunction throughout your body.

The pitfalls of poor posture are regularly reported to include lengthening of your back muscles, shortening of the tissues in the front of your body and slowly creating a stiff, immobile person. However, this position also places a stretch on the spinal cord itself.

The spinal cord does not like sustained stress so will send signals telling surrounding muscles to contract in an attempt to protect itself. If the ‘stress’ positions are adopted regularly enough, the neural tension can lead to headaches, chronic hamstring tightness and calf cramping, as well as the well documented neck shoulder and back related discomfort.

It is important that we try to limit this stress and work to mobilise the tissues before we cause a problem.  The best way of achieving this is by moving regularly!

A great way of doing this is personal training.  Often, personal training is only considered necessary if we are looking to lose a few pounds or train for a big event.  It can in fact, be hugely beneficial as a maintenance therapy in order to keep you mobile and pain free for general activity and life.

The advantages of personal training is that your needs are assessed before training and regularly reviewed throughout your training plan.  This provides continued development to ensure that asymmetries, imbalances and injury risks are identified and addressed, before you end up on the treatment table for some physiotherapy!

And so boarding is called, I check my own posture, think about the training program I’m going to do myself tomorrow and get on the plane for an hour of postural related stiffness!

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