The holidays are nearly here and it's a perfect time to start thinking about your goals for next year. While so many of our patients say they've gotten tired of setting and failing at New Year's Resolutions, it doesn't mean you can't find one "easy" thing to work on to make your health and your life better.
What about working on improving your posture? Where should you start? We're in the middle of finishing up a book on that very subject and we can't wait to share it with you. Since it won't be ready in time for you to get one before the holidays this season, I thought I'd share some things you might consider for your posture-improving efforts. Pick up one for yourself, suggest it as a gift idea, or get it for a loved one that you know needs some help.
We still strongly believe that consistent chiropractic care and working on posture exercises is the key to long-term changes to your posture, but the items I've listed can be helpful in accelerating your progress and helping you avoid developing a "hump."
The Cervical Traction Wedge or "Neck Wedge"
It's such a simple device, but we regularly see changes from our patients experiencing forward head posture. With so many people working at home right now, it's worth the 10 - 30 minutes you can spend lying on your back. You'll feel pressure off the back of your head and neck. We sell these in the office for a lower price, but this version has an extender that allows for even more traction on the neck than ours. We explain how ours works in this video.
Cervical Orthotic Traction Block
Very similar in concept to the Cervical Traction Wedge, this device more closely aligns with the type of cervical traction wedges you'll see in many chiropractors offices. We more often recommend the wedge because it seems to be much more comfortable for a larger number of patients. However, if you feel like the wedge "isn't doing anything" or you wish you could get a stronger traction feeling, this would be your next best step. Some patients have longer necks or are more flexible, and they need the extra pull to improve their neck posture.
Hypervolt by Hyperice
These are the same "massage guns" we use in our office prior to your adjustment. We use the flat head attachment shown in the photo most often, because we like how the attachment allows for the device to glide along the clothes. This lets us know when we've hit a particularly tense area so we know to keep it running there a little longer. Some patients (very few) think the device is too strong, but they would still benefit from regular use. You will definitely get your money out of this device. The Hypervolt is comfortable for long periods of use, because you don't feel it "kick" in your hand like other massagers. Highly recommended.
TimTam Power Massager
The price of Hypervolts has started to come down, but it can still be a higher price point than some people want to pay. I have no idea if the $99 options out there are any good and have heard mixed reviews from patients about the power they get vs the Hypervolt. The TimTam is highly recommended by a member of our team. She's an athlete and needs the device to be strong enough to make a difference without breaking the bank. The TimTam Power Massager is a great device to help you work out "knots" and improve your mobility.
TriggerPoint GRID Foam Roller
We offer a cheaper, plain foam rolling option in our office but if you've been using a foam roller for any length of time, eventually you'll want to kick it up a notch. I personally have not like the foam rollers with "spikes" coming out of them, but some patients think they're great. The next best option is to pick up a foam roller with a texture on it. The Trigger Point GRID Foam Roller offers that texture, increasing your ability to work on the connective tissue and alleviate tension in your spine, shoulders, and legs.
The Original Body Roller
Another option is The Original Body Roller, which is less expensive and has a different pattern on it. This roller is available in multiple colors. I think your home should have several foam rollers available. As you get comfortable with foam rolling, you'll find one works better on your spine, while another works better when you're trying to loosen up your IT band. Having a variety of options will help you get to that area with enough pressure to make a difference.
MOBILITAS Mobility Sphere
Speaking of having additional options and tools at your disposal, the MOBILITAS Mobility Sphere works for areas that the foam rollers just tend to miss. I've recommended using a baseball or softball for years, but that can be way too uncomfortable if you're not used to it. The ball feels more like a foam roller, but the different shape allows you to get into your hips and shoulders easier and deeper than the foam roller will allow. Unlike the foam roller, the ball is easy to use against a wall if you need that option while at work or if you just can't get on the ground very easily.
All of these items can go a long way in helping you keep your spine moving and alleviate the tension from bad posture, but don't continue to use mobility devices that cause pain! If you're not sure which item would be best for you, ask your chiropractor for additional help and advice.
What you don't see here are items I consider too "gadgety" but people do seem to like those items as well. If you think you need a "reminder" device, check this out. If you're still set on getting a posture brace of some kind - this one has been recommended. If you want the item that's all over social media, you can check out this one. But your best long-term options are still the items I've listed above along with the right exercises and a personalized chiropractic care plan.
Good luck and Happy Holidays!