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  • Jordane Z-T MSc Physiotherapist

What you need to know about Upper Back Strength

Do you suffer from back and neck pain, head aches and even shoulder pain? Do you feel stiff? Do you feel your posture is not what it used to be? If the answer to any of these is “Yes”, you are not alone. We have noticed that a large percentage of people with these symptoms cannot identify what is causing their pain.

Consider this - you might be feeling this way due to altered upper body posture and reduced strength.

The strength of our upper back and shoulder girdle, along with a good core, provides a base for all upper body movement. If your muscles fatigue easily, then you may start to feel pain.

Why is this such a common problem?

Habit. The most common cause of altered upper body posture and strength is habit. Those who spend many hours at a desk or those who have jobs that force them to adopt a slumped posture for many hours are more at risk. The upper back becomes stiff, and the muscles lose their strength.

Posture. For others, the issue may be more to do with posture. How have you learned, over years, to hold your head and shoulders. Do you roll you shoulder forward when you are stressed, or even cold? It is really common for us to see people with tight, forward shoulders that pull on the muscles and joints of the neck and back. Or perhaps your head pokes forward? perhaps you don’t even know what your posture is like?

Lack of use. If you live a life where you do not exert your upper back muscles, (sedentary job/sedentary hobbies) you will gradually lose strength in your muscles. If your muscles are not supporting your body, you may start to feel postural pain, muscle pain, and stiffness.

What is the solution?

Strength and muscle balance of the upper body are crucial. Having your posture and muscle function assessed may save you from your current pain and more importantly, may save you from problems in the future.

So a solution can be found in a combination of these 4 stages.

1. A good assessment of strength, posture and habits.

Ask your family and friends what they think of your posture - they may have valuable insight.

Video assessment from a trained physio is really useful for this.

An expert physio assessment will uncover your issues in no time.

2. Physio treatment that addresses the underlying issues.

Treatment needs to be both hands-on to mobilise and stretch out stiffness and shortened muscles, and exercise based to retrain strength and postural habits.

3. Pilates.

Pilates is amazing for activating all those little muscles that we need for optimal posture.

4. Functional strength.

Once you achieve an adequate base strength Pilates exercises may be advanced to functional and dynamic exercises that work your entire body, building strength and muscle tone too.

Ask us for help!

At the OneBody Clinic we offer postural analyses, muscle balance testing and ergonomic (work set-up) assessments. We run Pilates classes too - lead by our posture experts.

Contact our team for more information


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