Thursday, June 10, 2010

Shoulder–to–Arm Kinetic Chain - Forward Posture

It is very easy for you to learn how to become aware of your shoulder–to–arm kinetic chain and how this kinetic chain affects your ability to perform tasks! Lets take a look at a common upper extremity syndrome known as Forward Shoulder Posture (FSP). FSP is common among office workers, students, and probably over half of the patients who walk through my front office doors.

Anatomically Neutral Position

People with FSP exhibit rolled-forward shoulders, with a forward-tilted head, and raised shoulder blades. The onset of these postural changes is so slow and gradual that the majority of people don’t even realize that they are exhibiting these postures when they sit or stand. In addition to these obvious postural changes, numerous mechanical changes also take place within their musculoskeletal and nervous systems.

Try the following test to experience just what happens to your wrist, elbow, hands, and neck with FSP!

1. Starting Position: Stand up with your shoulders back, arms by your side, and your palms facing forward. Click on image for a large photo.
This is known as an Anatomically Neutral Position. In this position your thumbs will naturally point out to the side (externally rotated).
2. FSP Posture: Now relax your arms and roll your shoulders as far forward as you can. This position causes your elbows and wrist to rotate inward (internally rotated), and your thumbs now point towards your body.

3. Test Your Kinetic Chain: Keeping your shoulders rotated forward, pre- tend that you are holding a pen and writing on an imaginary piece of paper. The first thing you will feel is the increased tension in your elbows, wrists, hands, and neck.

4. Now try performing some of your daily living tasks in this position

Can you feel all the tension that would develop in all these areas? And can you see how much energy you waste by maintaining this energy– inefficient posture. Most people don’t realize that poor posture not only causes injuries, but also saps your energy!

What you just experienced are some of the more obvious stresses placed on your kinetic chain by Forward Shoulder Posture. Unfortunately, most of the other changes that take place are not so obvious! The tension from FSP creates friction that results in micro- tears and adhesion formation in your muscles, ligaments, and tendons. These changes cause inflammation and the formation of scar tissue.

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