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Muscular imbalance..what is it?

Muscular imbalance, do you suffer from this? To be able to answer this question you need to know what it is. It can be simply described as when there is a muscle, or group of muscles, that are stronger or more active than the opposing muscle/s. Our bodies recognise when we spend excessive amounts of time with muscular imbalances, and as a result it adapts to these imbalances. This adaption to the imbalances then leads to postural dysfunction, which causes our incorrect posture to feel ‘normal’. These postural dysfunctions are generally found in the shoulders, hips and thoracic spine (upper back) however they are not limited to these areas. The good news is that no matter how long your posture has been dysfunctional, with the correct exercises and stretches you can undo some of the damage and lead a more functional life. Some things to look out for in identifying possible postural dysfunction: Shoulders

  • Spending excess amounts of time sitting at a computer/desk; when exercising favouring pushing exercises over pulling exercises; a feeling of tightness in the muscles in your chest

Thoracic Spine

  • Similar characteristics found in the above section; dull pain in your upper back and the base of your neck; large amounts of time spent looking down at any hand held device – this can lead to your neck protruding forwards (aka Poke Neck)

Hips

  • Excessive sitting, with upper leg parallel to the ground; tightness in the front of your legs just below your stomach down to your knees; noticeable pain in your lower back (a result of under-active hamstrings & glutes); when standing more time spent leaning on one leg over the other

Stretching alone isn’t always the answer. There is a need to build up strength in the muscle/s that are underused/under-active. This building of strength will assist in your body returning to a neutral position. The combination of stretching and strengthening is the best approach for sustained relief. Initially, it may feel uncomfortable or ‘weird’ because you’re retraining your body, but by sticking with it you can overcome many of the side effects of postural dysfunction. Attempting to identify all possible postural dysfunctions alone can be difficult. If you would like to know how much, if any, postural dysfunction you have, ask about having a postural analysis completed. A trained professional will be able to identify the areas of concern in terms of muscular imbalance, and give you specific exercises and stretches you can do to improve these imbalances. Enquire today, and begin the journey of returning your body to its best postural position.

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