Greg Rusedski, 45, is now plagued by aches and pains. Ironically, Greg now also gets backache because of the sedentary nature of his off-court work
Greg Rusedski was once one of the fastest servers on the tennis circuit. But powering balls at nearly 150mph and throwing his 6ft 4in frame into every shot has come at something of a price.
Though still remarkably fit, the one-time world No 4 is now plagued by aches and pains. These aren’t only due to the injuries he sustained during his tennis career — including shoulder strain, and a stress fracture of a lower vertebrae in his back that he gained in 2000.
‘Tennis is not a symmetrical sport,’ says the father-of-two. ‘One side of the body overdevelops, especially through serving. And that can have an impact on posture and how your joints feel.’
Ironically, Greg now also gets backache because of the sedentary nature of his off-court work — namely long hours in television or radio studios commentating on tournaments.
Greg, 45, who lives with his wife Lucy in Battersea, South London, says: ‘Sitting there, as anyone with a sedentary job will tell you, can play havoc with your back.
‘It tends to be in the lower back and can be a bit of dull pain. It’s exacerbated by wear and tear from having competed for so long.
‘I can wake up in the morning and my back might feel sore and my shoulders ache.’
However, the Canadian-born ace claims he has now found a rather unusual way to help: a T-shirt.
The Posture Shirt (£74.95, active posture.co.uk) features variable stretch sections in the back of the garment — the manufacturer calls them ‘NeuroBands’ — which are said to activate the postural muscles in the upper body by putting pressure on them.
The theory is that this strengthens muscles key to maintaining core strength, so keeping the back and shoulders in alignment and reducing aches and pains.
The T-shirt is one of a number of so-called posture-correcting clothing products on the market, including bras.
They work on the same principle as Kinesio tape, the strips of tape worn by athletes such as footballers that supposedly improve performance and reduce the risk of injury by increasing awareness of the body’s position.
The Posture Shirt has been approved as a medical device in the U.S. by the Food and Drug Administration and also has a CE mark, a safety mark for products in Europe. The manufacturer says users should see results after three to four weeks.
The Posture Shirt (£74.95, active posture.co.uk) features variable stretch sections in the back of the garment — the manufacturer calls them ‘NeuroBands’ — which are said to activate the postural muscles in the upper body by putting pressure on them
When he was sent one of the T-shirts to try out a few months ago, Greg says he was sceptical that it would help. But, having worn it for 20 to 30 minutes a day, and seen improvements, he has become a paid ambassador.
‘When you put it on, you can feel the way the T-shirt pulls so that your posture is set back in the right place,’ he says. ‘Usually, I wear it after exercising to put me in the right position — that seems to work for me. But it’s also helpful for my studio work.’
Sitting and standing in poor positions does cause excessive strain on tissues, ligaments, muscles and tendons, leading to inflammation, pain and weakness, explains Professor Tony Kochhar, a consultant orthopaedic surgeon specialising in shoulder and upper limb surgery based at London Bridge Hospital.
‘So, if you have back pain from poor posture, the shirt could offer immediate relief. This garment is designed to remind people to use their muscles in a better combination, so that their posture improves and they are less prone to muscle, tendon or ligament strains and, therefore, have less pain and weakness.
When he was sent one of the T-shirts to try out a few months ago, Greg says he was sceptical that it would help. But, having worn it for 20 to 30 minutes a day, and seen improvements, he has become a paid ambassador (file image)
‘As an addition to exercise and core-based training, it could be helpful.’ However, Professor Kochhar adds, it is also vital to keep moving, to strengthen the muscles the support the spine.
‘The shirt should not be a brace to hold you rigidly in that position,’ he says. ‘An overreliance on this could serve to weaken core and postural muscles — potentially making the situation worse.
‘There’s also the assumption that lower back pain is caused by poor posture. But, of course, it could be something else and, in those cases, such a T-shirt won’t help.’