Tight chest muscles and posture
A lot of patients that we see here at Dee Why Chiropractic Care have rounded shoulders and a slumped over posture. One of the major contributing factors for this is tightness of the chest muscles.
Not many of us think about maintaining good posture throughout the day and don’t even realise that they are slouching. There are many downsides to slouching and they include fatigue, neck and back pain and headaches. One of the muscles that get tight due to slouching is the pectoral (chest) muscle group.
Tight chest muscles and rounded shoulders are common in individuals that:
- Spend long hours at a desk
- Frequently use a computer
- Spend a lot of time on a phone or tablet
- Drive a lot
- Bend, lift and carry often
- Poor postural habits
- Lack regular physical activity, stretching and mobility exercises
When we are thinking of someone with good posture, their ear should be in line with their shoulder. But when they have poor posture their head will translate forward, there is an slouch in their mid back and their shoulders roll forward. The main contributor of forward rolling shoulders is the tightness of the chest muscles.
Effect of rounded shoulders:
- Increased load put on neck joints and muscles
- Neck and mid back stiffness
- Increased load on rotator cuff muscles
- Low back pain
- Subacromial impingement
Dee Why Chiropractic Care’s advice
The chest muscles get tight when you sit most of the day because they are in a shortened position. We advise that if you work at a desk to try and stand up every hour and reset your posture.
Stretch out your chest muscles. Stretching the chest muscles is extremely easy and comfortable. Find a door and place you forearms on the doorframe with your arms parallel to the floor. Lean forward until you feel a good stretch in the muscle and hold for 1 minute, breathing normally throughout the stretch.
If your chest muscles are chronically tight they have most likely built up with fibrous tissue within the muscle. Use self-massage devices such as trigger point balls or hand held massagers to break up these adhesions to make it more comfortable before you stretch.
Do mid back extension exercises to counteract the slouched posture and restore movement to the joints that are stiff. The easiest way to do this is to get a foam roller and place it across your back at the levels of your shoulder blades. Support your head with your hands and arch over the foam roller for 1 minute. If this exercise is uncomfortable or aggravates a condition you might have, stop immediately.
If you have any questions about posture or any of the exercises feel free to contact us.
Start stretching out your chest and correcting your posture today.