Thoracic Kyphosis (forward rounding of the shoulders usually coupled with forward head posture) is something I see a lot in mamas during pregnancy and in the postpartum period. But this posture is not exclusive to motherhood! Our society really does a great job at reinforcing this bad posture habit. We are doing so much sitting and rounding forward due to our modern society. We are constantly rounding forward to look at our phones, while we sit, walk, study, work, feed babies and do all the things. This posture really does a number on our breathing patterns, making them very short and chesty. This over time can lead to neck, shoulder and chest tightness and not to mention a wide rib cage. Not exactly things that we are striving for. This posture also creating core and pelvic floor dysfunction which can make it very hard for mamas to heal from Diastasis and pelvic floor weakness after pregnancy and delivery.
The lack of thoracic mobility also leads to chronic upper and lower back pain which is something that up to 90% of pregnant mamas report in this study, which is shocking!!
We know how important thoracic mobility is so it is important to strengthen your core to help stabilize the spine and decrease that kyphosis in the spine as well.
A study found that there was significant decrease in the kyphotic curve of all thoracic segments in both sitting and standing postures with 3 weeks of exercises focusing on transverse abdominals. This group also expressed chronic low back pain previous to starting exercises.
This great news for all my moving mamas because we focus so much on strengthening and activating the Deep core muscles, the TA’s. How do we core the TVA? With minimal spinal movement, minimal extension and minimal flexion. The Job of the TVA is to stabilize the spine, it wraps around your body like a corset. When you step off a curb, trip and catch yourself, a kid jumps on your belly and you brace to protect your organs or even when you laugh, cough or sneeze, this deep core muscle is working hard to protect your spine and organs. It important that it functional and working to best ability. After pregnancy these muscles become stretched and lengthened and we lose touch with them. Thats why we focus so much on the slower, conscious movement to re-estabish the mind muscle connection of these very important muscles. 🙂