Do you talk to much? Well it can cause back pain you know!
We all have heard that back pain can occur as a result of bad posture, strain, poor lifting techniques, repetitive stress etc. But have you ever thought that the amount of talking that you do every day can contribute to back problems, neck stiffness and even tightness in your hamstrings?
Yes, that’s right.
It does not mean that you should suddenly stop talking. Who doesn’t enjoy a good natter, right?
But seriously, if your job requires a lot of talking or you do a lot of talking all day every day anyways the chances are that you don’t get enough chances to exhale.
Every day in the clinic we see people with lower back pain that affects their quality of life. We look at people’s vitality test score, posture and range of motion. What we also want to know is what happens to the person when they are not at the clinic and how that contributes to their health. If during the assessment your ribcage’s ability to depress, retract and internally rotate is restricted, one of the things we want to know is, if you can exhale well throughout the day.
Why is this important? Whenever we lean forward to tie shoe laces, put socks on, pick something up from the floor we want the ribcage to depress and retract (think- slouch) This ensures that the lower back and hamstrings are not doing all the work. The ability of the ribcage to depress largely depends on the ability of the diaphragm to lengthen, which happens on exhale. Therefore, if throughout the day we do not exhale well (long enough) the diaphragm doesn’t get the chance to lengthen. Let’s think about that way: if we were working out a muscle without ever stretching it. That’s not an ideal situation, is it?
There is a lot more to it though. Shortening of the diaphragm leads to ribcage elevation and protraction (chest up) which affects the pelvic tilt and the tension between the abdominals and hamstrings, basically meaning that your hamstrings are getting tight.
What can you do then? The tip is simple. Exhale.
If your job requires a lot of speaking, you are all day on the phone, talking to clients or students, make sure that you take long exhales, slow down a bit if possible and take breaks just to focus for a few moments on breathing. Breathe through the nose, feel your belly raising a bit (not just your chest) and exhale all the air out. This will give a good signal for the nervous system to relax and for your diaphragm to lengthen.
Using this simple tip may not solve all your pains and aches but bringing awareness to our breathing, especially when we need to speak a lot, is a good starting point. If you would like to have a thorough health and posture assessment to find out more, what is really giving you back or neck problems, give us a call and arrange consultation.