Usually as soon as I mention that I am a Posture Therapist- most people will either sit up straight or ask “How do i look?”. The word Posture itself connotes with sitting up straight or standing tall. Even the dictionary defines it as “the position in which someone holds their body when standing or sitting.” There is truth to that, however I want to go a bit more deeper into the meaning and hopefully help you fully understand everything that POSTURE encompasses!
Lets start with a brief anatomy lesson. Muscles move bones, correct? Our bodies were designed in such a unique and complex way that everything has a place and a purpose. The body itself is a single unit- and everything must work together as a unit! There are 4 loading joints – Hip, Shoulder, Knees, Ankles. Our body weight has to evenly distribute onto these 4 joints. They also have to be aligned correctly with the one above and below it- as well as opposite. The anatomical structure below is what is used as the original blueprint when comparing your posture.
Any deviation from the original structure- creates issues. Since the body works and functions as a unit- it has to be treated as such. If your shoulder is elevated or rotated- the symmetry of both shoulders is going to be off. The body will then compensate and figure out how to keep you balanced and working. This is why it is important to look at the whole body- and not just the symptomatic area. The root cause and the pain/issue are seldom in the same place. Your body is like a car- if the alignment is off- unless you fix that- you will keep having issues occur. They may be minor at first, but over time become greater and more painful!
Muscles have memory and a specific function on how to properly move your bones. However, over time, due to bad habits/over use/underuse, the memory starts to create different patterns. You no longer move your hips properly, because you sit too much, the hip flexion becomes inadequate- the gluts slowly atrophy. You can no longer reach above your head, because your shoulder is stuck. Getting on the floor is now a vague memory. Running hurts the knees or climbing stairs. Bending over pulls your back out. Playing with the kids or grandkids becomes a tiresome act. Hiking? No way! Looking at your photos or in the mirror you notice your shoulders slump, your head is forward, you back is rounded. Any of this sound familiar? This is all because of your body losing the perfect postural design!
In this case- sitting up straight or trying to stand tall- will not CHANGE or IMPROVE your posture- and thats because you are forcing it to do something it doesn’t naturally do. The only way to do that is to RETRAIN those muscles that have started to function incorrectly. REGAIN and RESTORE them to proper movement. Since muscles move bones, as we mentioned, we use them to correctly learn the proper function by isolating the muscle during certain eCises. This helps to change the pattern and awaken the muscle memory that has been lost.
The GREAT NEWS is that no matter the age, condition, pain or issues, your MUSCLE MEMORY is always there and able to CHANGE! Your bodies posture is who you are, a definition of how you move, sit , stand, work and live your life. However- the pain and issues your body has because of bad posture, SHOULD not DEFINE who YOU ARE! You can take control of your health and take the responsibility to change how you move and you will change your QUALITY of LIFE!