Total Therapy Blog
Healthy Community Seminars – Back to School
This article was contributed by Jordy Shumay. Jordy is Registered Kinesiologist with the BC Association of Kinesiologists. He has a Bachelor of Kinesiology from the University of Calgary, as well as a Masters of Science in Kinesiology from A. T. Still University of Health Sciences.
“Determining an appropriate level of fitness and functionality for my clients is paramount to helping them achieve optimal movement patterns. The methods used to improve weaknesses, imbalances, or correct dysfunctions is accomplished through dedication to research, development, and application of the most current scientifically-based practices. Returning my clients to fully functional movements and beyond is the ultimate goal.” – Jordy Shumay, BKin
It’s that time of year once again… back to school!!! (Finally)
As a student of almost 20 years now I realize what it takes to successfully maneuver your way through a healthy and happy school year. Through completion of grade school, an undergraduate degree, and now working on my masters designation, I have had plenty of personal experience with going ‘back to school’. All of my post-secondary education has been in the area of Kinesiology, which is the study of how the human body moves and reacts to various stimuli. This knowledge allows me to view ‘back to school’ time as a chance for our body’s to breakdown in numerous way if we don’t take care of them properly.
Getting into the everyday routine of ‘back to school’ comes with increased stresses being placed on both our mind and body. We’ve all been there at some point in our lives, sitting at a desk for hours upon hours studying for the next big exam or completing the never-ending project. How are we sitting at that desk? With perfect posture? Likely not. Our mind’s aren’t focused on what’s best for our bodies, they are focused on getting the work done on time!
Why have our parents told us countless times throughout our lives to “sit up straight” or “don’t slouch”? Probably because they were instructed to do the same thing when they were growing up. Although this may have fallen on deaf ears at the time, there is underlying evidence as to why this is important… POSTURE! Posture means many things to many people, but to a Kinesiologist, Physiotherapist, or Chiropractor, it is essentially how your body aligns itself. This alignment could be perfect (good upright posture) or riddled with dysfunction (poor slumping posture).
The spine is the central structure in the human body that we associate with postural alignment, as it essentially runs from the base of our skull down to our tailbone. As expected, many primary muscle groups attach to the spine and when the spine is misaligned (poor posture) these muscles are unable to properly perform their stabilizing functions. When our bodies fall into this pattern of misalignment, generally pain or discomfort will result (associated with the common lower back and neck pain).
Good news is on the way! Correcting this poor posture (i.e. slouching over a desk for hours) can be accomplished in various ways. If pain and discomfort is not an issue and we want to keep it that way, conscious awareness of this issue is paramount. When you are sitting at a desk, on a computer or reading a textbook, be mindful that you are sitting up tall with your shoulders back and head in a neutral position (not tilted excessively downward). Also, be sure to have a chair with good lower back support that maintains a slight, but not overly curved, lumbar spine.
If you are someone who is already suffering from back pain or has been prone to back pain in the past, there is a solution for you as well. Proper strengthening of the posterior chain muscles (the muscles that run down the back side of your body) and adequate flexibility in the upper anterior muscle regions (i.e. chest and shoulders) can aid in diminishing the effects of pain by improving postural control. Keep in mind, this method of addressing back pain is specifically for those with postural issues that may result from various ‘back to school’ activities. General back pain may need to be addressed through methods of mobilizing the back muscles and/or strengthening the core musculature. Any well-qualified Kinesiologist, Physiotherapist, or Chiropractor will be able to properly assess these issues and put you on the right track for a healthy and successful school year!