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HELP- I’m working at a desk job and my upper back is really starting to hurt. Is there anything that I can do to help this? I’d really like to improve my posture

When working at a desk it is very easy to get into poor posture habits. Over time this can contribute to Kyphosis.

Kyphosis is curvature of the spine that causes the top of the back to appear more rounded than normal. Everyone has some degree of curvature in their spine. However, a curve of more than 45 degrees is considered excessive.

Symptoms may include back pain, muscle fatigue, and stiffness in the back. Most often, these symptoms remain constant and do not become progressively worse with time.

Whilst working at a desk can cause this another reason for rounded shoulders is because of prioritising chest exercises and neglecting the upper back.

But good news! There are some exercises you can do to help correct your posture in your shoulders and upper back.

My favourite ones are:

1) Supine neck retraction

Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Pull your chin in so that the head is pushed back towards the floor. Hold this position for 10 seconds and then release. Repeat 10-15 times.

2) Scapular wall slides

Stand against the wall with your feet 18-20 cm away from the wall. Your upper back, shoulders, and bum should be touching the wall. Raise your arms above your head then bend your elbows so that your upper arms are parallel to the floor and your forearms gently press against the wall. Inhale and slide your hands and arms up the wall, then slide back to the arms to your start position as you exhale. Remember to engage your core to prevent your lower back from arching.

2/3 sets of 8-10

3) Resistance band pull aparts

Standing straight, tucking the pelvis under and having the rib cage on top of the pelvis. Using a resistance band with an underhand grip in both hands. Have the hands in line with your shoulders then start pulling the band apart and into your chest- keeping your elbows as straight as possible but not locked. Hold the band onto your chest for 2 seconds before bringing back to the start position.

2 or 3 sets of 10-15

4) Thoracic Spine Rolling

Lie on the floor with a foam roller underneath you, across your mid back. Tuck your chin in towards your chest and rounding the back start gently rolling up and down on the foam roller, massaging the muscles of your back and thoracic spine. And then start gently twisting side to side-

Go slowly with foam rolling and breathe deeply.

2-5 minutes of Foam rolling.

5) Pec Stretches on doorway

Using a door frame- have your elbow in a straight line with your shoulder. Step the same leg as arm through pushing your chest out and turning it slightly out to the side.

Holding the stretch for 30 seconds each side x2

6) Pronation I Y T

Lying on your front with a cushion to support your forehead and gently tucking the chin in. Having your arms above your head and straight - lift up from the shoulders upwards, keeping elbows straight and lifting the entire arm off the floor.

Then moving the arms out to a 45 degree lifting the arms up towards the ceiling.

Then taking the arms out to the side thumbs facing up towards the ceiling lifting the arms up again and squeezing the shoulder blades.

2/3 sets of 3-5 each IYT

Try at home every few hours to get up and move away from your desk and doing 1 or 2 of these exercises for a few minutes.

You could even do these every day to help your posture.

Try these and let me know how you get on.

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