Good posture a benefit to athletes

Athletes from young to old, recreational to expert, can benefit from having good posture.

Having an upright posture not only makes us feel better about ourselves, it also helps to prevent injuries in sport.

I often see young athletes from various sports coming in to the clinic because their shoulder, neck or lower back are generally achy and sore.

Often these young people are sitting slouching in a chair with their shoulders rounded, head and neck forward, and lower back slumped, regularly with a cellphone in hand. At this point I usually ask the athletes if they sit like this all the time. Almost always I am given an affirmative response, as they simultaneously try to sit up straighter in the chair.

These young athletes during the evening and weekends storm playing surfaces for one to three hours, then afterward sit or stand the remainder of their day in poor postural positions. These positions cause various forms of muscle tightness, imbalances and joint creep, leaving their bodies more prone to injury.

There are two common postural positions athletes find themselves in.

The first is forward (anterior) rolling of the head and shoulders. This can cause chest (pectoralis) and neck (cervical) muscular shortening. This combination of positions can lead to an increased prevalence of shoulder, upper back, neck and headache symptoms.

The second common position athletes find themselves in is forward (anterior) pelvic tilt. This involves the front of the pelvis rotating forward and downward, while the rear side of the pelvis rotates back and upward. This can cause a number of problems including low back pain, hip flexor strains and decreased biomechanical efficiency with movement.

Various strategies can help avoid these common undesirable postures. Stretching of shortened musculature can help avoid progression of the imbalances. Activating opposing muscle groups using corrective exercises helps to reposition body parts back to where they are supposed to be. Also making a conscious effort to sit and stand with proper positioning makes a pronounced difference.

If you are struggling with any of the above problems I suggest consulting a functional movement professional.

Dr. Andrew Fagan is a licensed chiropractor, kinesiologist and clinical acupuncture provider. You can reach him at dr.fagan@porthopehealthcentre.com or 905-885-5111

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