Stand tall, shoulders back, head high – good posture?
I’m sure we have all heard that expression or even had it said to us. Of course it isn’t as straight forward as the phrase makes out. Soon after qualifying I would be continually looking at the position of heads in relation to shoulders, curvature in backs, looking for knee-caps that where turned inwards or outwards and numerous other pointers for imbalances. However, picking out apparent imbalances in one feature on the body is missing the point as is the phrase ‘stand tall, shoulders back, head back’.
Good posture, in brief, is the optimum length and tension of muscles with optimum alignment of joints. As a soft tissue therapist I look at the whole three dimensional picture of the body, looking from the front (anterior view), back (posterior view), side-on (lateral view) and even from above. So we assess muscle imbalances, examining the body as a train of soft tissue and joints.
When clients come to us with pain and or injury, we look for faulty tension (loads) examining the body as an integral whole or an interconnect train.
Here are two examples:
a) Intermittent headaches – tension arises in the right shoulder causing an increased load in the neck muscles and tension headaches develop, but that is not the full story. The pectoralis minor shortens, the rhomboids lengthen, which then due to the altered patterns of movement on the opposite side of the body results in the hip muscle quadratus lumborum shortening.
b) Pelvic tilt may lead to tension (load) in the left calf, with groin muscle length ensuing and shortening of the hip flexors. On the opposite side of the body the lateral thigh muscles may be in pain as it trys to take up the slack created by the body’s altered movement patterns. I’m sure that some of you may recognise some of these symptoms.
So why not come to us for an assessment of posture, weaknesses and points of imbalance that ultimately cause pain and injury. We observe, test, give therapy, and reassess. The aim is always to ease pain by regaining mobility, stability and strength.