GPR physio in Toronto
March 18, 2012 9:15 PM   Subscribe

Please help me be an ex-hunchback! Does anyone know of a physio clinic in Toronto that offers Global Postural Reeducation (GPR or RPG)? Anecdotes of experience with this method, or suggestions for other methods of correcting poor posture are welcome as well.
posted by khregs to Health & Fitness (2 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite

Sorry I can't help you with your main question. I haven't seen any responses yet, so I'll give it a shot. I'm not a doctor, or in any way qualified to really help you.

I used to have minor posture problems when I was a teenager, this was mainly due to lifestyle and possibly confidence issues. If your problems are more severe, or have some congenital origin, my advice may not help.

Most postural issues in western culture are probably due to lifestyle. We spend most of our lives hunched over: computers, reading, driving, eating an so on. We sit down too much which causes our posterior muscles to lengthen and weaken while our anterior muscles shorten and tighten. This is compound by the fact that when exercise, we tend to focus on "mirror muscles": pecs, abs, quads etc. People, when they do exercise, over-emphasize pushing motions like push ups or bench press.

What may help you is a program of strengthening your back muscles (rhomboids, various scapular muscles) while simultaneously stretching your front muscles (pectoralis major etc). You'll need to focus on pulling motions. Off the top of my head, I'd recommend learning how to deadlift properly. (Excellent for upper back and posterior chain muscles such as hamstrings and gluteas muscles.) Other exercises might include a Pendlay barbell row, TRX rows, and especially "face pulls". Some people recommend "YTWL" exercises for fixing external rotator imbalances. I've included a generic example, search for Nick Tumminello's youtube series on them.

You'll want to start lengthening/loosening/releasing your front muscles. Do daily mobility exercises. Your shoulder mobility is probably low. You'll want to do wall slides, "no money" exercises, band pull aparts and similar exercises daily. Possibly 2-3 times a day. In addition to your shoulders, you're going to have limited thoracic spine mobilitiy. You'll want to buy a foam roller and start working on self myofascial release, make sure you hit your lats and chest.

It's entirely possible that your hunched over posture is also connected to pelvic tilt problems. Your hips may tend to tilt forward (anterior pelvic tilt) or backwards (posterior pelvic tilt). This will be due to a combination of muscle over/under development also caused by sitting all day. There's a good chance that your glutes are underdeveloped along with your "lower" abs. Perhaps your quads are relatively overly developed compared with your quads. Look up Vladimir Janda Upper Cross and Lower Cross Syndromes.

The easiest and cheapest solution would be to start a well-designed workout routine. The person I'd really recommend your read is Eric Cressey. He's not a doctor or a PT though he does work with MDs, PTs and Chiropractors. He's a CSCS (Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist) with an MA in Exercise Science.

Here's a popular online article entitled "Neanderthal No More" (1 2 3 4 5). It gets technical, but it's the gold standard in self correction of postural issues on the internet.

So in summary:
1) Strengthen your back muscles.
2) Stretch out your front muscles.
3) Work on mobility.
4) Don't hunch over a computer etc all the time. (Stand more.)
5) Read more about this. Look up Eric Cressey and Vladimir Janda.

I'd recommend going the physical training route as you'll see a host of other benefits in addition to posture correction. Working on behavioral issues may help, but it won't fix the underlying imbalances.

Good luck!
posted by Telf at 8:46 AM on March 19, 2012 [9 favorites]

Wow ... that is one seriously great answer. I'd say that my bad posture is definitely lifestyle-induced. This advice makes complete sense. Many thanks, Telf!
posted by khregs at 8:27 PM on March 19, 2012

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