by Kerry Taylor
Me: “So tell me what your daily life is like.”
Client: “Well, I get up early to get ready for work. And I’m off.”
Me: “Okay, what do you do for work?”
Client: “I’m in sales.”
Me: “Okay, so you have to bring 2-3 bags with you every day, I assume. And do they happen to be in the back seat and you reach back there to grab the bag when it’s time to get out the car? Is the bag heavy?”
Me: “Do me a favor. Put the bag in the front passenger seat or trunk. And let’s see if the pain goes away.”
I have had different variations of this type of conversation over my 20 years of being a fitness coach. We all have aches and pains, some more than others. Sometimes we can’t pin point the origin of where they came from. I am here to point out some of your daily habits and rituals that may be causing you pain and you don’t realize it. Along with that I will give you some simple fixes that will, in time, alleviate the pain. Let’s get started with the prior conversation.
1. Keeping your bags in the back seat of your car
Is this you?: You put a heavy bag or two in the back seat for travel. When you reach your destination, you don’t turn fully around to grab the bag. You just reach back and grab the bag with your arm and pull it into the front with you to get out.
What happens: Holding heavy weight at the distal part of your arm puts enormous pressure on your shoulder. If you are not in a stable position to control and hold the weight, this will start to create more strain and agitation in your shoulder and elbow.
Easy Fixes: Keep your bags in the front passenger seat, lighten the weight of the bag, or put the bag in the trunk. By placing it in a place you can properly lift it up and take it out of the car, you will create a new habit and the pain will slowly disappear.
2. Carrying your baby
Is this you?: You are at a point where the baby isn’t able to follow you like you want it to, so you carry the baby everywhere, but you carry the baby on your hip and arm. You now have that constant slight leaning position when you stand.
What happens: Having constant weight held to one side of your body puts you in an unbalanced posture. Holding the baby this way will place strain on your back and hip.
Easy Fixes: Carry the baby on both sides. Whenever possible carry the baby in a central position on your body. This will help even out the extra weight and posture of your body.
3. Wearing a backpack
Is this you?: You have a ton of stuff you always need with you, or at least that’s how you feel. So you overload your backpack with double the weight that should be in it. You either wear it the proper way with both straps over the shoulders or just carry it on one side of the body.
What happens: The weight of the backpack will tend to pull us backwards. We will lean forward to fight against that pull, which will lead to a more forward neck position and rounded shoulder posture. Wearing the bag on one side will place the pressure on your spine causing strains in your back and constant compensation for the extra weight on one side.
Easy Fixes: Lighten the bag or get yourself a different type of bag that you can carry down by your side.
4. Typing, gardening, shoveling and raking
Is this you?: Whether it’s for leisure or work you decide to partake in these activities often during the week.
What happens: These activities cause a high usage of the wrist and forearm, which can lead to an overuse of the forearm, which can lead to straining of the medial tendons in your elbow. This often leads to Golfer's Elbow.
Easy Fixes: Ice the agitated areas for roughly 10-20 min. Stretch and strengthen the area.
Is this you?: You head into work to sit at a desk all day and/or work in front of a computer. The average person sits for about 9 hours a day.
What Happens: You start to have a rounded shoulder position, strain in the lower back and horrible posture because of that constant forward lean position, otherwise known as Upper Cross Syndrome.
Easy Fixes: Set an alarm to alert you to move around throughout your day. Adjust your chair and/or your posture when sitting. Get a new chair.
If any of these apply to you, make these quick adjustments and watch those aches and pains disappear. Until next time, continue to live life 1 degree above everyone else.