Then let us begin…
Oh what, sorry, you aren’t sitting comfortably at all? OK let us begin where you are actually starting, just now.
Do you want to learn how to sit up well, without pain?
Do you want to know how to stand up without strain, wincing or holding your breath?
To be able to bring compassion to yourself and your aching body?
Do you wish your back would stop hurting so you can get on with your work, and your life?
So many people take pain killers every day, curtail their hobbies or end up stiff, sore and sad at the end of each day with boring body pains.
It doesn’t have to be like this.
If your back is painful and doesn’t feel strong – people spend £thousands on swanky ergonomic chairs – and still continue to sit badly on them. I can show you how to sit well on any chair. It’s an inside job.
My favourite chair is a £5 Ikea chair, with a flat wooden bottom and a ladder back. I rarely rest my back against the chair, as my back’s structure and muscle tone is strong and I am self-supporting. I find a stool easier than a chair nowadays.
The health of our spine is foundational to every movement we do.
Signs of poor posture
- Your back hurts most of the time
- Your neck feels stiff and your head heavy
- Your back is rounded as you crane towards every screen
- You forget about yourself for hours at a time – then resurface to shouts of pain from your back
- You spend several minutes waggling your shoulders, cricking your neck from side to side and generally abusing your poor neglected body.
- Stretching and slumping in equal measure as you yo-yo back and forth, up and down through your day.
- Try and make up for being sedentary by going for a jog, a run or yoga class. Trying to do a week’s worth of movement in an hour’s session.
Online and in Sheffield here we use the Alexander Technique to improve your posture, resolve pain AND give you more energy and stamina. Like a kinder-egg surprise, you get all 3 in 1 method. It is so portable, endless opportunities for self development and fun.
According to the British Pain Society – Approximately 8 million adults in the UK report chronic pain that is moderate to severely disabling. Back pain alone accounts for 40% of sickness absence in the NHS and overall it costs £10 billion for the UK economy. 7 Mar 2018
That is a staggering statistic! 40% of people taking time off work in the NHS, do so with back pain!
Symptoms of poor posture
The effects of poor posture are many, here are a few, how many do you have from this list?
- Back pain
- Neck pain
- Shoulder pain
- Holding your breath (fuel)
- Clenching your tummy
- Dowagers hump
- Stiffness around your big joints
- Poor digestion
- Cold feet and hands – poor circulation
- Wobbly balance and bad coordination
- Pins and Needles in your fingers and pain in your wrists (RSI)
How many of these did you have out of 11?
1-3 bravo, you may be doing quite well, depending which 3 these are. Could you use a little help and fine-tuning and re-directing?
4-7 these are many tell-tale signs that your energy is depleted with excess effort and pain – best to get seen soon to head you back in the better direction.
8-11 you’ve got a long list of symptoms and stresses and strains. Don’t give up on yourself. You are in the perfect place to come and get seen and assessed by our highly trained staff and to learn with our expert help, how to release tension and restore natural posture – without painkillers, manipulation or exercises.
Book your free 15 minute consultation today, and take the next step for your healing today.
Good posture can help restore the full easy length of your spine with ease.
Your back muscles gets a more even tone, and actually get stronger through doing less, more clarity of thinking, and a longer stronger back.
When your posture is poor – it affects your state of mind and your ability to think too.
If your spine is out of kilter, it probably affects more than you realise. If you are sitting slumped, then your spine is out of alignment. Your spine houses your spinal cord and central nervous system where each and every piece off information comes in and out of your brain. If your spine is fixed and bent or overstretched – then of course this affects the nerves it protects, which can affect all the messages which your nervous system carries. Messages can be delayed, distorted and dulled by poor posture.
When your spine is out of alignment, your breathing and voice can also be impaired. These were the original problems and symptoms which started FM Alexander to discover the real, lasting, habit changing steps to his Technique.
He held his head too tightly, fixing into position on his spine which restricted the length of his spine, the way his ribs could then move, and his voicebox and breathing. He didn’t know this until he started to be curious about it and over time, began to see the underlying patterns of mis-use.
Obviously is your ribcage is slumped, compressed, over-stretched – this can easily get tyring too. Its all interconnected.
What’s your biggest problem?
Has the cost of your inner energy gone up through the roof? Do you wake up tired?
Are you waking up with a stiff neck every day?
Is there an ache or pain that has been around so long you can’t remember life without it?
Don’t lose hope. There are lots of things which can help you get out of pain, stay out of pain and address those habits which would set you back to the start.
Getting to the root cause of these issues and symptoms can be as simple as changing your thinking. We can show you how.
Work-related neck and back pain – Labour Force Survey LFS
470,000 of workers suffering from work-related musculoskeletal disorders (new or existing) in 2020/21 showed
45% had upper limbs or neck pain
38% back pain
16% lower limbs
Most work-related joint and muscle pains develop over time. They are specific to your job and daily activities, which can be aggravated by stress and become chronic when the workers continue in the same jobs for years doing similar tasks (construction workers / office workers) for years.
Sadly, for some, a change of job is eventually the only answer. For others, retraining themselves so they can learn new and easier ways of moving is entirely possible – could you be one of them? Relearning how to think and move can bring our body into more balance, equilibrium and getting your joints working better than ever!
3 things which can cause aches and pains
- Doing repetitive work, using excess effort, being disconnected from your body
- Habitually using your body in a one-sided way
- Mis-using your spine, joints and breathing
Sometimes the nature of our job itself is not good for us – using vibrating machinery, heavy lifting with poor technique – but 100% of what I see is people mis-using their joints, having excess effort and tension in their body and being disconnected from their body – err what body?
But don’t despair… you can stop this cycle, starting right now.
The ATEAM randomised controlled trial looked at one-to-one Alexander Technique lessons for people with chronic low back pain of 3 months or more. The long-term benefits from 24 Alexander lessons showed that even 1 year later people had an average 3 days pain per month – compared with 21 days per month with usual GP care. This was front page news in the BMJ British Medical Journal in 2008.
That is a massive improvement, I think you’ll agree!
Here in Sheffield, working with Lucy can give you a better embodied sense of yourself. Learn how to move well, how to do a range of daily tasks more easily. You get continuously assessed in a kind way, and guided to move so your joints move more smoothly and your muscles more easily and lightly. Sound good?
We’re all about helping you learn how to look after yourself better. Giving you the information you need, the skills and the practice to keep putting it all into your daily round to keep you out of pain.
Lucy came across the work in 1990 as a stressed music student with stage fright and had 10 years of individual lessons with various teachers before completing her 3 years full time training in 2003. She’s been teaching continuously since then.
Many clients want to know how to sit more comfortably. I tailor my lessons to suit each person and any challenges they bring with them. Poor posture is the most common issue people come to me with. It is one of the main things the Alexander Technique is known to help with. It is a different approach to exercise, stretching or manipulation. We look at how we can relearn to sit, stand and move well in various activities and situations. The principles stay the same. Many problems are hiding in your blind spot.
Poor posture actually makes it harder to sit well or comfortably. If you are not in balance with yourself, then you’ll be using extra muscle work (tension) to try and hold yourself up straight! And also, did you know, your spine isn’t even meant to be straight! It has many natural curves, which gives us flexibility and shock absorption.
Improving your posture through conscious thoughts and actions can immediately affect your appearance. This helps you look and feel more confident. You’ll feel taller and be healthier too.
3 tips to help right now
- Find your support – your sitting bones on the chair – and let the chair support you. You may be surprised to find yourself perched, propped up and can let yourself rest.
- Wish to sit tall and wide – with ease. Don’t hold your breath! So you can be resting tall.
- Keep your attention wide – if you over-focus on the screen or task – you may lose the ability to stay curious and attentive to yourself. Small issues build up into loud messages of pain. Stay present in a light way, including your self and your To-Do List.
Instead of strengthening an already over-worked upper back, neck or shoulder area – here we look at how we can release and reduce the excess tension, consciously. Harnessing the power of your conscious mind to manage the output of your own energy.
We do a range of movements, but not exercises as such. If you think you’ve ‘tried everything’ and are still suffering. Then this way of subtracting effort, rather than trying to add more work to your body – may be the best next step for you. Don’t worry, new experiences can be daunting, but this can also be fun and rather delicious. We will guide you every step of the way.
On Zoom and in-person in Sheffield
I’d already been teaching lessons online before the pandemic and continue to for some clients, because it works so well. I am a teacher not a treatment-giver.
May I tell you about Paul, a computer programmer who couldn’t put his socks on and had spent the winter with no socks or shoes! His back was so painful he’d crawl out of bed and it would often take many minutes before he could stand, walk or achieve his full height. Working together helped him put his socks on and have warm feet again, have more stamina when sitting at his screen and get back on his bike, just for fun! And all of this over zoom.
Another man I worked with in-person and online, wanted to get rid of his neck pain, and back pain and stiff hip joints after falling off his bike. Yes, another cyclist. After working together for a few months – he started resting more, thinking before and during each activity and strengthening his back by doing less. The pain from his injury has gone. He now has tools to use on himself if he ever overdoes it. He is back cycling, climbing the Scottish mountains and playing piano most days. Sitting on the bike saddle and having a strong and reliable back really helps when going up hills, better balance and increases safety. Sitting well on a piano stool is different again, and it really helps to have a strong back for using your hands and fingers so delicately and strongly for finding all those fiendish notes.
As a trained musician myself, I love working with music makers who wish for more ease and stamina. How we sit, breathe and the quality of all our movements are central to how well we can play.
So, if you want to sit comfortably so you can begin your next chapter, without grunting or wincing, now you know where to start.
If you want to have a go at being more mindful and moving with more ease, try sitting tall without stretching, finding balance and don’t hold your breath.
Do let me know how you get on and – as ever – if you have any questions or are unsure about anything you’ve read here or how it applies to you, get in touch. I’m always happy to hear from you.
Would you like more tips, assessment, or personal guidance? Give me a call and book a FREE 15 minute phone consultation and see if I’m the best person to help you learn to help yourself.