Updated: Mar 20
Constant slouching at your desk decreases your upper body mobility by driving your whole shoulder complex into a forward position. From the base of your neck to the bottom of your rib cage, slouching moves things forward.
The forward position rounds your thoracic spine. This makes it difficult for your shoulder blades to move properly along the rib cage, all as a result of that constant slouching at your desk. In that rounded position, shoulder blades are forced to sit away from the spine.
The misalignment of the shoulder blades limits the range of motion in the shoulders and limits upper body mobility. Slouching causes compression of the ribs and increases stress on the rib cage. That compression and stress makes it hard for the thoracic spine to extend and rotate properly or very much.
Postural Imbalances create postural instabilities and posture deviation
Postural Imbalances start to show up as aches and pain in shoulders, neck, hip and low back. Without the range of motion the thoracic spine requires to move, other muscles will pick up the slack by compensating to continue the function. Continual performance in a compensated manner can lead to injuries and/or posture deviations.
Constant slouching at your desk also contributes to poor posture by weakening and fatiguing muscles and ligaments which then pull the thoracic vertebrae out of position. Over time, such a postural imbalance can lead to a more permanent postural deviation, like stooped shoulders or kyphosis.
Ask yourself if you’re sitting at your desk a lot these days with arms stretched forward and a rounded neck and spine. If so, it’s time to take a break and move in a different direction. You’ve probably been at it all day, and you’ll probably be here tomorrow and the next day, too.
My friend, you’re becoming a slouch, not the lazy kind but the rounded back with a forward lean kind.
And as we now know, by slouching, you’re decreasing your upper body mobility and creating a bad postural outcome.
As certified practitioners, we have videos and classes that can help you relieve the stress, maintain better alignment and keep you away from aches, pains, and possibility of injuries.
An Indicator of Imbalance
A good indicator of thoracic spine imbalance is that pinch you get when you lift your arm straight up and over head.
To move your arm above your head (shoulder flexion), shoulder blades upwardly rotate and posteriorly tilt on the rib cage. In order for this move to be smooth and ‘pinch-free’, the thoracic spine has to have the availability of extension (arched back position).
The problem is that it's the lack of extension that we tend to lose as maturing adults, and slouching is quite the opposite of what we want to be doing.
Also, the pectorals or chest muscles play a role here. Rounding forward in a slouch, tightens the pectorals. Staying in the rounded position for a period of time (like every day at your desk without breaks or time out for stretching), can shorten and tighten these pectoral muscles. A tight chest musculature contributes to the inability of lifting that arm straight above the head and with ease.
While rounding forward tightens the chest muscles, it loosens and weakens the back and shoulder muscles (trapezius, rhomboids and rotator cuff).
So while slouching can cause headaches, stiffness, low back aches and disc compression, it can also make it difficult to reach over head to get the binder required for your work.
Time to Take a Break for Minute Moves That’ll Improve Your Posture
Taking regular breaks during your day for a Minute Move will promote a healthier thoracic spine and help avoid the downfalls of a slouched posture for an extended period of time. The more consistent you are, the more results you’ll see and the better you'll look and feel.
Below, we’re sharing just a taste or a Minute Move of some videos we have on Vigor and Trim Fitness and Health Membership For Over 50. If you’d like to dive deeper or learn more Minute Moves, we’d love to have you on board. And, there’s a 7 day FREE trial to get started.