Postural Straps – Good Investment or Poor Replacement?
Posted on 22nd December 2020 at 10:00
We all know the feeling of being a ‘grump in a slump’. You’re sat at your desk with shoulders slumped, your back is hurting, your head is pounding, and you would do anything to be out of pain. If your shoulders and head slip forward, additional pressure gets applied to the joints in the neck and discs in your upper spine which can accelerate degenerative and arthritic changes. Sounds nasty, right? As well as the bones, the muscles in the neck and upper back are under constant tension. These muscles will contract to try and pull the head and shoulder blades into correct alignment. Over time this will lead to headaches, neck pain, generalised discomfort, and ‘knots’ due to the root cause not being addressed.
What is a Postural Strap?
I have been approached by a number of people recently asking whether it is worth buying a posture strap to help improve posture and reduce pain. You may be asking what a posture strap is. Well, it’s what it says on the tin! A posture straps aims to pull your shoulders back towards the spine (also known as retraction), which allows short term relief of your symptoms by correcting poor biomechanics and posture. This will ease discomfort whilst being worn, however does not address the root cause as to why the shoulders and head have slipped forward in the first place. Therefore, when removed, it’s as if nothing has changed.
If a posture strap is worn over a longer period of time, the body does not learn to rectify the cause of the problem and therefore this cyclic pain can turn in to a chronic complaint. The muscles that aim to pull your shoulder blades back to achieve correct alignment no longer have to do their job, therefore overtime effectively ‘switch off’ and disengage. This makes the whole problem worse! You have now become weaker and reliant on this contraption to ease your discomfort, so now you have no choice BUT to wear the strap.
So, What Can We Do?
Naturally your body would engage muscles including your rhomboids, lats, middle and lower trapezius fibres to help retract and depress both shoulder blades (bring them back and down) to bring you into correct alignment. This means no muscle pain, no headaches, and a happier person at work. The best way to provide optimal results is to work on the root cause of why your shoulders and head have started to slump. A great starting point is to look at adjusting your desk posture by checking your working environment including screen height, chair ergonomics, and making sure your desk height is correct for you for short term relief.
For longer pain relief, aim to reduce tension in your upper body by having regular sports massage and strengthen your natural built in shoulder support including your back muscles. This will improve your shoulder mobility, spinal range of movement, reduce your pain and additional loads on your spine and discs. The only thing left to do is invest in your health!
To find out more, get in contact and book yourself an appointment here.
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