Slouching Away from Shoulder Pain

I’m a tall guy. And as many tall people can tell you, the urge to slouch is practically irresistible. For as long as I can remember, people have been telling me to sit up straight. And (obviously) for as long as I can remember, I haven’t been.

Some of it is because I’m in front of a computer, focusing on other things for so much of each day. I’ll start off with the best of intentions, and then within the first few minutes, I’ll forget myself and not think of it for the next long while. It’s just more comfortable to slouch.

Except when it’s not. As part of my physical therapy routine for my shoulder pain, my therapist has really been hammering the need for me to stop slouching. Apparently (as with many things), slouching is something a young body might be able to get away with, but an increasingly older body doesn’t handle it nearly as well.

Thankfully, my therapist hasn’t just told me to stop slouching. He’s the first person who has ever explained to me just how not to slouch.

Up until now, when people would tell me to sit up straight, I would concentrate on using the muscles around my spine to do the trick. (I’m not up on my anatomy lessons, so forgive the generalities.) This time, my therapist explained that the muscles I need to be using are my shoulder muscles. Apparently, those muscles are supposed to be always tight, keeping my shoulders back and in place. They’re indefatigable, like the Terminator.

Except mine aren’t, because mine are lazy.

So I’ve been really focusing on keeping those shoulder muscles tight. It’s a painful process, and I forget myself (still), but it’s less painful than the other approaches I’ve used, and I can actually feel it working, which encourages me. (And the shoulder pain is going away, which is even better!)

Will this finally be the trick that solves all my slouching problems? I hope so. Though in the end, it’s up to me and how faithful I am at following orders. If my track record is any indication, I’m going to need a lot of help.

So if you see me around, remind me to keep those shoulder muscles tight. I need all the reminders I can get.



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