I often get asked, “my kid/parent/spouse’s posture seems to be worsening. What can be done to help?”
First, it’s up to that person to want to make the change.
Second, you can model it yourself with a simple formula that can be done without anyone being the wiser for it!
Drooping or rounded shoulders, a forward leaning head, or rounded upper back is of concern due to the awesome power of gravity and life stressors. But that can all be countered with daily posture corrections in a few easy steps.
So what does ‘good posture’ even mean?!
I prefer to say ‘strong posture’, as that is what it takes to maintain a solid upright position for a long period of time such as when driving, watching TV, working on a computer or eating. The strength must come from your core and thankfully that doesn’t require loads of sit-ups or burpees!
A strong posture can be achieved through the power of your breath and that is something all of us can do easily with just a few key points.
Here’s my formula for a strong posture:
Create a base of support by pushing down through your feet if you are standing or through your seat/buttocks if you are sitting
Add a line of pull from the top of your head to the ceiling/ sky to create a lengthening or elongation of your spine
Relax your shoulders and rib cage down and broaden through your shoulders
Now it’s time to add the strength by breathing . You want to think of expanding your chest by breathing forward and out.
Once you get the hang of this, it will become quick and effortless and may even help you gain that extra bit of height that you thought you lost !
Check out the video below with the arrows to help visual these tips.
If you’ve been diagnosed with Schuermann’s or Scoliosis, then a good place to start is to work with a physical therapist who is trained in the Schroth Method. A thorough evaluation is key to determine exactly what will be best to achieve that strong and effortless posture.#tallahasseephysicaltherapy #joyoftherapypt #scoliosis #schrothmethod #posture #scoliosistrength #scoliosispt #spine #Schroththerapy #postureexercises
(Also if you are curious as to why one of the risk factors is ” quadriceps weakness for individuals in the military”, that is because there is a large quantity of research in military settings due to direct access for physical therapists. This risk is also true for everyone else who has quadricep or thigh weakness).
As we skid into the final quarter of the school year, I would venture to guess that most of us aren’t checking our kid’s backpacks for fear of what actually may be in there! Most likely old food, crumpled up important notes, progress reports left unsigned, acorns, leaves, rocks or even slime in some cases.
Regardless of what is inside their backpack, take a moment to lift it up and check to see how heavy it has become over the school year. Books, notebooks and folders tend to accumulate, and then when you add a lunch, water bottle or a musical instrument, it can get quite heavy!
So what is too heavy for a backpack?
Good news is that has already been figured out for you! The research is here and published in the Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapy :
PREVENTION AND REHABILITATION| VOLUME 25, P174-182, JANUARY 01, 2021
A study in India observed 20 boys aged 9-14 years old and analyzed how they walked while increasing the load in their backpacks in respect to their weight.
What they found was this:as the load in the backpack increased, they noted marked movement changes “in the child’s ankle, knee and hip joints. These changes were evident when the backpack load increased beyond 15% of their body weight.”
“Carrying heavy backpacks may result in cumulative trauma later in life due to biomechanical adaptations during gait.”
The ideal weight to carry a backpack WITHOUT having it alter their posture was LESS THAN 15% OF THEIR BODY WEIGHT.
Here’s a table to help you figure this out:
WEIGHT OF PERSON
MAXIMUM WEIGHT OF BACKPACK
7.5 pounds or less
11.25 pounds or less
13.5 pounds or less
15 pounds or less
16 1/2 pounds or less
18.75 pounds or less
Get out the scale or just take a tug on the backpack and see if it falls into the range that fits for maintaining good posture.
And if you are brave enough, go ahead and take a peek inside …
Call, email or schedule your complimentary 20 minute posture consultation today
Can the way you breathe be affecting your health, both good and bad? James Nestor, author of ‘Breath: The New Science of a Lost Art’ and myself, both believe the answer is YES.
I recently read the book “Breath: The New Science of a Lost Art” , by James Nestor, and found it interesting how he delved deep into the long history of how we breathe and how it has changed our human skeletal structure as a society over the centuries.
I use the power of breath in ALL of my physical therapy sessions. and firmly believe that where, when and how you breathe is key to improving your posture and decreasing pain.
When you take a breath in, you create pressure, and pressure = strength. By improving how we breathe, we can, in fact, both decrease pain and strengthen our core without doing loads of traditional sit ups and painful burpees!
Plus, in Chapter 4, Nestor explores briefly how Katarina Schroth used breath to invent the innovative Schroth technique that I use in the clinic to help treat scoliosis.
” Schroth had been diagnosed with scoliosis, a sideways curvature of the spine. …At age 16, Schroth began training herself in something called ‘ orthopedic breathing’… She spent 5 years doing this. At the end, she’d effectively cured herself of ‘incurable’ scoliosis; she’d breathed her spine straight again.”- James Nestor, Breath
**Note: I advise you to read this book through a ‘thoughtful lens’, as the author trails off onto some tangents and inserts gratuitous expletives from time to time **
(the following is an excerpt from Amazon:)
A Washington Post Notable Nonfiction Book of 2020
Named a Best Book of 2020 by NPR
“A fascinating scientific, cultural, spiritual and evolutionary history of the way humans breathe—and how we’ve all been doing it wrong for a long, long time.” —Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Big Magic and Eat Pray Love
No matter what you eat, how much you exercise, how skinny or young or wise you are, none of it matters if you’re not breathing properly.
A New York Times Bestseller
“There is nothing more essential to our health and well-being than breathing: take air in, let it out, repeat twenty-five thousand times a day. Yet, as a species, humans have lost the ability to breathe correctly, with grave consequences.
Journalist James Nestor travels the world to figure out what went wrong and how to fix it. The answers aren’t found in pulmonology labs, as we might expect, but in the muddy digs of ancient burial sites, secret Soviet facilities, New Jersey choir schools, and the smoggy streets of São Paulo. Nestor tracks down men and women exploring the hidden science behind ancient breathing practices like Pranayama, Sudarshan Kriya, and Tummo and teams up with pulmonary tinkerers to scientifically test long-held beliefs about how we breathe.
Modern research is showing us that making even slight adjustments to the way we inhale and exhale can jump-start athletic performance; rejuvenate internal organs; halt snoring, asthma, and autoimmune disease; and even straighten scoliotic spines. None of this should be possible, and yet it is.
Drawing on thousands of years of medical texts and recent cutting-edge studies in pulmonology, psychology, biochemistry, and human physiology, Breath turns the conventional wisdom of what we thought we knew about our most basic biological function on its head. You will never breathe the same again.” – excerpt from Amazon
A special shout out and thank you to both my husband, Craig, and my friend, Collette C. for recommending this book to me
It’s gift giving time! So I’m sharing some of my “favorite things” or therapy tools that you can use in the comfort of your own home to help you feel better and stronger.
People often ask if I recommend a certain brand/product/tool and the answer is, YES!
Over the years, I have used countless therapy tools and these 7 are my current favs.
I’ve attached links where you can buy these items online for your convenience to help you ring in a Healthy New Year!
7 DIY PHYSICAL Therapy Tools
1.Occipital Float: This is now my ‘go-to’ tool for DIY neck pain relief!
It’s one that I’ve recently discovered to be extremely helpful for self upper neck mobilizations. . “Lightweight, portable device designed to provide smooth cervical range-of-motion exercises. Specially designed air bladder allows unrestricted range of the occiput; it accommodates all head sizes and can be adjusted for comfort by inflating or deflating. Ideal for post-cervical whiplash, myofascial, and osseous cervical problems. Latex-free.” – OPTP
2. Tommie Copper Compression Sleeves:If you need support for your back, ankle, knee or shoulder, the Tommie Copper brand of products is my top choice for joint support.
The fabric, choice in products and price points are unbeatable, plus the healing properties of Copper give that extra benefit.
“When you’re dealing with pain, “good” just doesn’t cut it. We go above and beyond to ensure everything we do completely wows you. We want you to feel great – all day, at work, sport, rest and play.”- Tommie Copper
3. Serious Steel Bands:The green and gray bands are perfect for doing the semi-hang exercises to assist with posture elongation, plus they work well for assisted pull-ups.
4. Biofreeze Spray: This is ideal for a painful ankle sprain, knee, shoulder or back injury that’s hard to reach. You don’t have to touch it , thus avoiding that accidental rubbing of your eye…ouch!
“Biofreeze 3 oz. 360° aerosal spray features the best spray technology available in the market with continuous flow even when upside down, making it easy to apply .Unique cooling menthol formula is backed by science and research-proven to deliver fast acting, long lasting and deep penetrating pain relief for sore muscles, backaches, sore joints, and arthritis.”- Biofreeze
5. The Breather:A fantastic tool to help enhance your breathing, which if you are my patient, then you know that: Breathing = Pressure= Strength.
“THE ONLY RMT DEVICE FEATURING INDEPENDENT INSPIRATORY/EXPIRATORY DIAL CONTROL | The Breather functions as both an inspiratory muscle trainer and expiratory muscle trainer with adjustable dials for independent resistance settings for inhalation and exhalation, making it the ULTIMATE device for respiratory care. Think of it as a lung trainer, supporting respiratory health and efficiency by promoting diaphragmatic (belly) breathing.
A GYM FOR YOUR LUNGS | The Breather Fit is an inspiratory muscle trainer that helps train your lungs to improve oxygen flow to your body. Oxygen training can help improve overall physical performance and give you an advantage over your competition.”- The Breather
6.Magnesium Oil Spray: A quick and easy way to take the edge off of feeling fatigued, weak or sluggish.
Simply spray on where you are feeling achy or onto the palms or soles of your feet for an all -over ‘pick-me-up” .
A good portion of the soil that our food is grown in is depleted of magnesium which is necessary for energy production. Early signs of magnesium deficiency include loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, fatigue, and weakness. As magnesium deficiency worsens, numbness, tingling, muscle contractions and cramps, seizures, personality changes, abnormal heart rhythms, and coronary spasms can occur.
7. Cold Pack (neck contour): This size works for most injuries/aches/pains and is durable
“Patented design of the Chattanooga ColPac gently delivers soothing cold therapy and stays pliable. Provides instant pain relief to treat fever, bruises, sprains, strains, and helps to manage swelling. Each cold therapy pack is latex-free and is filled with non-toxic silica gel, so it’s safe for all ages to use.
Simply apply immediately after an injury to control the inflammation of soft tissue.
Delivers up to 30 minutes of soothing relief.”- Chattanoga Colpac
So there you have it! My favorite therapy tools to help you feel better and stronger.
Get those fingers tapping and make your purchases today!
*I do not represent or receive compensation from any of these brands*
How flexible should you be? Well, flexible enough that you are pain free and functional.
That really is what matters for day-to-day living.
Muscles, tendons, ligaments and skin all have collagen which is a major connective tissue that provides elasticity. Collagen is the most abundant protein in your body and aids in strengthening your tissues. Before the age of 30, collagen is plentiful and in some cases, too much, as in joint hyper mobility.
The ‘other side of the coin ‘ is to be hyperflexbile.
This has its advantages for many sports and hobbies, but be cautious so as to not over stretch your joints as they can dislocate or move too much causing pain. Hyperflexibility is common in people diagnosed with scoliosis.
It can also be a symptom of Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome which is a connective tissue disorder that is “characterized by joint hypermobility (joints that stretch further than normal), skin hyperextensibility (skin that can be stretched further than normal), and tissue fragility. ” https://www.ehlers-danlos.com/ehlers-danlos-in-the-news/. The Beighton Scale is a clinical tool to assess widespread hypermobiltiy and multiple factors are assessed. Download this PDF to get more information if you think you are hyper flexible and contact your doctor if you think this describes you.
1- Hamstring test: Bend forward from an upright position and reach for the ground with your hands
Both hands completely touch the ground= 2
Both hands touch your ankles or lower shins=1
Both hands touch at mid shins or above your knees or your hands touch unevenly to your shins or above knees=0
2. Hip Rotator Test: Lie on your back, with the left foot on the ground and right ankle resting gently on top of the left knee. Lift the left leg up off the ground and try to reach for your hamstring or shin, bringing it in closer to your chest or into a Figure 4 position. Repeat on other side .
You are able to bring both legs close to your chest and easily grab the shins=2
You are able to grab behind your thigh and lift both legs so that the knees are in line with the hips =1
You cannot reach the back of your leg and/or lift it off of the ground 1-2 inches or one leg lifts higher than the other=0
3. Spine Test: Lie on your back and bring both knees into the chest.Then, keeping your upper body flat on the ground—it may help to stretch your arms out to each side—slowly rotate both knees to one side, getting as close to the ground as possible
You can rotate easily from side to side while keeping your back and buttocks on the ground=2
You can rotate your legs from side to side but your pelvis/ buttocks lift off of the ground= 1
You can rotate your legs unevenly side to side and/or less than 45 degrees either side=0
4. Shoulder test: Start standing with feet together and arms down by your side. Bring your hands behind your back and aim to grab the opposite forearm.
You are able to reach to the opposite elbow or above the elbow=2
You are able to reach to the opposite forearm between the elbow and wrist=1
You are able to reach to the opposite wrist or hand =0
5. Neck test: From a seated cross-legged position, slowly rotate your head to one side and look behind you.
You can easily look over your shoulder without lifting your chin up or down =2
You can turn your head to nearly your shoulder =1
You can turn your head in line with your collar bone or less and/or with pain =0
Let’s see your score by adding up the numbers:
8-10 points: You are very flexible! Your exercises need to include stability and strength and not to push your joints to hyper mobility or laxity. Be cautious not to dislocate your joints
5-7 points : You have good flexibility! You need to maintain an even exercise routine of flexibility, strengthening and stability.
0-4 points: You are tight! You need to stretch often and with longer holds.
So get to work on either stretching, strengthening and/or stabilizing your body today!
Sometimes being in the “right place at the right time” can be the difference between life and death. A heart attack, respiratory attack or choking can all lead to sudden loss of blood flow to the brain. Knowing just some basic CPR skills can help during those first crucial minutes before EMS arrives. It was in my 9th grade Health class at Coral Springs High School where I first became certified in CPR, and every 2 years since then I have kept up that certification.
But if I’m being honest, I’m always a bit nervous. Will I remember everything that they taught me if I need to use it in an emergency? Will I panic? Does this really work?
So, as my time came again for renewal this month, I felt compelled to share my story, albeit minor, and encourage you to seek training in Basic Life Saving skills for yourself, loved ones or the stranger you encounter who may need your help.
Three years ago, those skills did kick in automatically when at the dinner table, my husband of then 19 years, suddenly stood up from the table and silently made the choking sign across his neck. Our kids were exclaiming, “what’s wrong, Dad!” ,” what are you doing?!” I quickly got up and was able to do the Heimlich maneuver on him. After several ‘blows’ the piece of steak came on out of his throat and all was well. My husband was grateful and dinner proceeded. But I have to admit that after all was said and done, I couldn’t believe I actually did the thing that I had trained for over 3o years! Each time I took the CPR class, I worried that I would not remember the steps. Thankfully it all came rushing back to me in an instant and my husband is doing just fine.
Yes, he was grateful, but I did think of what could have happened had I not received any training. And that thought was sobering.
Too many tragedies occur when a little education could have prevented them. You don’t have to be a healthcare provider to take a CPR class. Anyone can take a CPR class! And now AEDs (automatic electronic defibrillators) are commonly placed in public places with instructions said out loud to you by simply pushing a button.
As for how to help someone who is choking, I found this great short “how to” on the Heimlich maneuver, courtesy of Southeastern School of Health Sciences.
“If you’ve ever had some food go down the wrong pipe, then you know that the sensation of choking is unpleasant and frightening.
When food or another object blocks a person’s airway, the flow of oxygen to the lungs (and the rest of the body) is cut off. Without oxygen, brain damage can begin to take place within 4-6 minutes.
Choking is a serious medical emergency. Fortunately, we have an excellent rescue technique to resolve a blocked airway. It’s called the Heimlich Maneuver, and it’s a very effective life-saving skill that everyone should know. We find that most people are quite familiar with the Heimlich maneuver, but they don’t always know exactly how or when to perform it. Here’s what to do:
• If you suspect someone is choking, ask, “Are you choking? Can you speak?” • If the person can speak or cough, don’t perform the Heimlich Maneuver • If the person cannot speak or cough, then you can help • Stand behind the person and circle your arms around his or her waist.Make a fist and place it just above the person’s belly button. Put your other hand on top of the fist. • Pull your fist toward you quickly and forcefully – these are called abdominal thrusts • Be persistent: sometimes it only takes 1 or 2 thrusts to clear the airway, but it may take more than that • If it doesn’t work, and the person becomes unresponsive, call 911 and begin CPR
The HM works by using air that is trapped below the airway blockage. When you perform the thrusts with your fist, you force that air upward, which in turn pushes the object out of the airway, sometimes across the room! You can use this technique on all adults and children over the age of 1 (about walking age). For infants, we use back blows between the shoulder blade to clear a blockage – more on that next week. One side note: The originator of this technique, Dr. Henry Heimlich, actually got the opportunity to use his rescue maneuver this past May when he saved the life of a woman at the retirement home where he lives. She was choking on a hamburger, and he calmly stepped in (at age 96) and literally performed the Heimlich maneuver. She’s doing fine and is quite grateful that she sat next to him at dinner. Providential…
It is estimated that about 100,000 lives have been saved using the Heimlich Maneuver since it was introduced in 1974. Even Dr. Heimlich at age 96 was prepared to take action. Please consider joining one of our classes that will prepare you to be the one that can step in and save a life. Register for a class today!“
Do it. Sign up for a CPR class if you haven’t taken one in a while or never have. There are loads of places to do this online and in person:
Josey is dedicated and driven to serve every.single.day at his job and in the community, so injuries and strain inevitably happen to him. I help him get back to his job, his clients and his wonderful family, so he can do it all again the next day.
It’s one of my favorite ‘tools in the toolbox’ to help your muscles recover from aches and pain, and it’s something that you can do in the comfort of your own home in just 5 easy steps.
Why should you try cupping? It’s very helpful for anyone with hip, knee, low back, upper back and shoulder pain. And, with the magical combination of physical therapy and cupping, you, too, can get rid of muscle strains and perform better than ever.
Did you know that Michael Phelps, the amazing Olympic gold medalist swimmer, had cupping done on his body before he plunged into the pool for the Summer 2016 Olympics in Rio? It definitely helped his muscles reach their optimal potential and grab those gold medals!
A physical therapist uses cupping similar to how a musician tunes an instrument: the musician first needs to make sure that his/her instrument is in tune before setting out to play a song. Cupping is like ‘tuning’ the human body before it goes out to perform in the Olympics or simply to take a walk outside.
Cupping is an ancient Eastern medicine modality that has been around since 1500BC. This form of cupping involves heating cups made of glass, silicone or bamboo, and then placing it on the skin and leaving it there for 15 minutes. The redness is caused by tiny blood vessels ‘breaking’, but no worries, as the redness disappears within hours.
In the clinic here, a modified form of cupping is done by using silicone cups or a small sink plunger, and no heat.
The key difference with this form of cupping in physical therapy is that movement is used while the cups are on the skin.
By moving the body while cupping, it releases restrictions in soft tissue (skin, muscle, fat, ligament or tendon) instead of it being a passive modality (meaning that you don’t move).
All soft tissues in your body need to glide on one another like sheets of paper that can easily move between themselves. When there is a restriction or a ‘stickiness’, the tissues cannot move freely and get bound together. When that ‘stickiness’ or binding between tissues is unable to release by itself, it can cause a decrease in movement. Over time, true tissue restrictions occur limiting movement and causing muscle strain and pain. By freeing up the soft tissues off of one another, there is less pain and the muscles have the freedom to do whatever function is needed.
You can give cupping a try at home on yourself with just 5 simple steps:
1- Purchase a cupping set ( Highly recommend the Lure brand , economically priced below $30) see image with link to purchase
2- Apply vasoline oil or lotion to the rim
3- Squeeze the closed end of the cup and place the open end on the area of your body that needs it ( safest to use on large muscles or the knee cap ) . You may also use multiple cups along a muscle such as on the outer thigh for IT band pain.
4- While the cup is on, do a movement that helps to stretch the tissue under the cup (example: if the cup is on your upper back, then raise your hand up and down as if asking a question in class)
5- Remove the cup after 30 seconds or up to 1 minuteand wipe the skin clean.
Now you’re ready to go toss a ball, swing a golf club, reach overhead to a shelf or swim for the Olympic gold medal!
Do you have a child between the ages of 10-17 or are you a teenager yourself and aching to grow taller?
If so, then Congratulations as they/you are about to, or are already going through the adolescent growth spurt. This time in their life is a roller coaster of changes both emotional and physical.
One of the changes teens are the most excited about is growing taller!
Here are some tips to help you or your child/teen get the most out of this growth spurt :
Height checks. Its time to get out your pencil and find a place in their/your room to measure height. By measuring every 3-4 months, you can easily monitor growth and be aware of any significant changes.
*Monthly height checks are ESSENTIAL if your child/teen has been diagnosed with scoliosis or if you are concerned, as scoliosis is somewhere in your family tree*
These monthly height checks during adolescence are KEY to keeping a check on the progression of their scoliotic curve.
If you are finding a ‘jump’ in height from one month to the next, and your child/teen has scoliosis, or you are suspecting it: that is a sign that their scoliotic curve is changing. It may be decreasing but it also could be increasing.
Please follow up with your pediatrician when you see this change. You may also contact our clinic for a complimentary consultation either in-person or Telehealth.
2. Daily exercise: 20 -30 minutes is ideal and can be as easy as going for a swim in the pool or a family walk
3. Hydration in the form of water
4. Daily multi vitamin and/or a balanced diet rich in calcium and vitamin D. ” 2 critical nutrients for bones: calcium and Vitamin D. Calcium is a crucial guiding block of bone tissue. Vitamin D helps the body absorb and process calcium. Together these two nutrients are the cornerstone of healthy bones.”- How to Keep Your Bones Strong as They Age
5. Lots of sleep– 9-11 hours per night for kids ages 6-13 and 8-10 hours per night for teens ages 14-17. Sleep is ESSENTIAL for growth and repair.
Also if you or your child/teen is a current patient, but have not been into the clinic for more than 6 months due to the pandemic, here are some tips for you:
Check your child/teen’s height.: It is during these quick increases in height, that the scoliotic curve can make big changes. If there is a marked change , then you need to come in to the clinic or schedule a Telehealth session for some new exercises. Schedule your session today
Get exclusive access to online scoliosis exercise videos: I now have created a library of video exercises for only my patients. If you are a current scoliosis patient and would like access to exercises tailored to you, please click on the link below :
Recent studies have linked back pain with increased blood pressure for a number of reasons, including stress, lifestyle, disease and genetics. But did you know that how you breathe also has a profound effect on both back pain and blood pressure?
And that you have the ability to change that by learning where you need to breathe more?
Think of the middle of your body or trunk as a pressure regulator from your vocal cords, diaphragm and all the way down to your pelvic floor . It is like an unopened carbonated beverage of your choice, such as Coca-Cola , Pepsi or LaCroix. When that can of beverage is intact, there is an inherent pressure built up inside. Once you pop the top, the pressure releases and you can pour out your beverage into an icy glass and enjoy. In other words, the pressure inside the can has now changed. Your blood pressure can do that too and how you breathe affects it, as well as genetic factors, cholesterol and disease.
Ideally you need to breathe proportionally in your upper chest, and lower abdominal cavity with the diaphragm in the middle helping to push the pressures up and down. But when you have too much of your breath focused in one of those areas, your blood pressure can increase or decrease. Over time, your muscles accommodate and work more or less in one of those areas, and your blood pressure can either increase or decrease beyond what is healthy for you for the long term.
In just 5 minutes in a physical therapy session with an emphasis on dynamic breathing with eccentric control, my patients have been able to lower their systolic blood pressure by up to 20 mmHG!
Try this at home to find out where you breathe:
Use a measuring tape or any long tubing or band and wrap it around your chest underneath your arms
Take a big breath in and then let it all out and see how many cm/inches/ or estimate how much the tubing moved
Now wrap the measuring tape, tubing or band around the middle or your body or just under your ribs.
Repeat step 2
Finally wrap the measuring tape, tubing or band around the lower part of your abdomen or at the umbilicus or belly button area.
Repeat step 2
If your measurements were relatively the same at all 3 levels, then Congratulations! You are an even breather!”Keep calm and Carry on”
If your measurements were highest in the upper chest, then you are a chest or neck breather and may want to focus on diaphragmatic breathing and getting your breath into your belly. This will help to lower your blood pressure and decrease neck as well as low back pain. Here’s your exercise: Blow into a party blowout or blow bubbles through a straw to begin to work your diaphragm and teach your body to breathe down there
If your measurements were highest in the middle region, then you are a lateral breather and that is quite athletic and efficient! “Keep calm and carry on”
If your measurements were highest in the belly region, then you probably don’t have a lot of low back pain, but you may have upper back or neck pain with some blood pressure issues. Try to focus on more diaphragmatic breathing and upper chest breathing. Add in pectoral muscle strengthening exercises like push ups, pec flys, and shoulder strengthening exercises.