Sightpath is proud to work with more than 1300 surgeons in facilities and practices nationwide. As a partner in our customer’s success, we periodically provide resources and content to inspire efficiency and improve workflow. Frequently, we hear from surgeons with whom we partner that the positions assumed in case day situations cause stress, discomfort, strain or worse for them. The following is the first in a 2-part series written by our friend Kirk McFarland, CPT, NASM, NSCA. Kirk is a Certified Personal Trainer and Nutrition Coach with Life Time Fitness in Eden Prairie, MN. The following article was created to help Sightpath surgeons alleviate the aforementioned physical complaints.
Good postural alignment supports bones, ligaments, muscles and internal organs by maintaining their natural position. Practicing better posture can lower stress on joints, improve appearance, enhance health and help better our breathing technique. While correcting bad posture takes some effort, the benefits exceed the time and energy put into it.
Robert Direnfeld, a Physical Therapist of 28 years, uses core stability training as a primary strategy to relieve posture related stress. He notes, “if your lower back and your abdominal muscles are strong, that’s going to hold your entire spinal system intact and keep it stable, taking pressure off of other areas. That’s why we always work on core stabilization of a person has any kind of back issues or related knee or shoulder problems”. Exercises to strengthen the core and back muscles need to be safe and effective. It is important to maintain a neutral spine so that the intervertebral discs are not weakened.
Core Strengthening Exercises for Improved Posture
Front Plank and Side Plank
For the front plank, keep elbows under the shoulders with arms bent at ninety-degree angle. Keep the head and spine in a neutral position. Stiffen the mid-section while performing this exercise. Perform 5-8 reps, holding each for 7-8 seconds each. Increase reps instead of the duration of each rep.
For the bird dog, start on your hands and knees. Brace your core and lift the right arm while simultaneously lifting the left leg. Maintain a neutral spine and keep the shoulders and hips level with each other. Hold each rep for a 2 second hold and perform 8-12 reps. Return the hand and knee to the floor with each rep. Repeat this exercise using the opposite arm and leg.
Flexibility Exercises for Improved Posture
Perform each of these active flexibility exercises for 8-10 reps with a 2 second hold. Keep in mind the position of your pelvis, spine, shoulders and head as to maintain and reinforce good posture with both the core exercises and flexibility exercises.
Anterior Flexibility Highway stretch
In the Anterior Flexibility Highway stretch, myofascial tissues of the calf, hip flexor, external obliques, pectorals and lengthen your deltoids. Flexibility highways influence all three planes of motion and improve posture.
Lateral Flexibility Highway stretch
In the Lateral Flexibility Highway stretch, lengthening of muscles of the lateral side includes the peroneals, iliotibial band, tensor fascia lata, lateral gluteal complex, quadrates lumborum, obliqe complex, latissimus dorsi, and deltoid musculature.
Anterior X-Factor stretch
In the Anterior X-Factor stretch, muscle lengthening occurs in the hip flexor and adductor and opposing side anterior shoulder complex. When the fascia is tight along this diagonal pathway, it can inhibit rotation and extension movements and contribute to poor posture.