The most common issues I see with clients are pain, feelings of tightness, fatigue and headache caused by some combination of the components of upper crossed syndrome. This is just a fancy term for a hunched upper back, rounded shoulders and forward head. A person might have any one to all three of these postural issues in different levels of severity.
While I have lots of ways of addressing this in a massage session, I also make sure to educate each client on ways they can work on these issues at home. Anyone who has worked with me knows that I believe in simple strategies, exercises and modifications that anyone can realistically incorporate into their routine.
This is the first in a series of posts dedicated to all of the simple tips and tricks that I regularly share with my clients to address upper crossed syndrome.
One of the most basic and first things I recommend is simply being aware of one's posture. Awareness will always be the first step. However, it's important to not beat yourself up for not having perfect posture. I don't think anyone has perfect posture, definitely all time. I'm not even sure such a thing as perfect posture really exists as we are not static, stationary beings.
Traditionally, when thinking about posture, people have been instructed to pull the shoulders back. While this technically isn't wrong, it often feels unnatural and requires an effort that is difficult to maintain.
Instead, I recommend lifting the sternum or "breast bone" up away from the belly button. This is a small and very natural movement. It will feel very good to the body and fairly effortless. When the sternum is lifted, the other aspects of the posture will naturally start to follow into proper alignment.