YOU SHOULDN’T NEED TO TRY AND HOLD YOUR POSTURE UPRIGHT – YOUR BODY SHOULD DO IT NATURALLY.
BREATHE IN, BREATHE ALL THE WAY OUT AND LET YOUR BODY SLUMP. YOUR RIBS AND SHOULDERS SHOULD JUST MOVE UP AND DOWN - NOT FORWARD, BACKWARDS OR SIDEWAYS. ANY THING OTHER THAN UP AND DOWN MEANS YOUR BODY IS BEING PULLED OFF CENTRE AND YOUR JOINTS AND MUSCLES ARE UNDER STRESS TO CORRECT THIS IMBALANCE.
People often say to me, “I try to pull my shoulders back and tuck my tummy in to correct my posture”. I reply, “sure, this will functionally hold your body more upright, but only for as long as you can remember to engage the muscles necessary to achieve this”. Chances are this won’t be long, and even if you can do it all day, those muscles will get pretty tired. A much better idea would be if the alignment of your spine was such that your body balanced in its natural position so supported itself effortlessly against gravity.
“What’s gravity got to do with it?” Well, gravity is a pretty big deal. It pulls everything towards the floor. If your body is aligned correctly, gravity will still pull you down but if the spine is opposing this force, then you will be much more stable. However, if your head and shoulders (for example) are forward of your feet / hips then gravity will pull them down in front of you. The only thing your body can do to resist this is engage muscles to pull back. This causes tension and fatigue in the muscles and stress in the joints. Long term, it basically compresses and buckles your body.
So, the simple reality is that you shouldn’t hold your posture – your posture should hold you. Because your posture is your structure. Over decades of what I and others consider poor education and communication, we have formed the mindset that posture is something you have to enforce with discipline and will power whether it be sitting at your desk, playing piano or standing on parade. If you have always struggled with this, it could be because your spine is not in natural balance. In addition, it is likely to be that the chair you are sitting on is not supportive of your spine and pelvis. When you sit your chair becomes your foundation, similarly your shoes when you stand and your bed when you lay down. If any of these ‘foundations’ are not supporting your body correctly, then even with the best will (and alignment) in the world, your body’s structure will fail.
Nowadays, if shopping for a pair of shoes, there is an abundance of soft squidgy shoes that feel lovely and soft on your feet. But your body is subtly wobbling all over the place when walking on such shoes, not to mention being pushed forwards by heel lift or backwards by arch supports. And our chairs are all designed to support your lumbar spine with soft cushioned backs. But what truly supports your spine is your pelvis and it’s orientation under your spine. If sitting too low, your pelvis rocks backwards and your spine pushes backwards and you SLUMP. If you have lumbar support, then your spine will just slump higher up in your spine transferring the stress somewhere else.
With Advanced Biostructural Correction, we look to position the joints in your spine into there natural and optimal load-bearing position using simple and gentle adjustments. We do not prescribe a tonne of exercises for you to do to strengthen muscles to hold your body because this is simply like attaching guy ropes to a structure that is falling down. Far better to reposition the structure so it is more stable. Instead we give advice on how to manage and care for the stability of your body when sitting, standing and sleeping as this covers all the foundations that can cause instability.
Posture (structure) isn’t all about slumping. Many people will also have curves and twists in their spine that cause them to lean left or right. This may cause one shoulder to be higher or one leg to be (feel) shorter. These issues are also addressed with Advanced Biostructural Correction. Remember I mentioned how the body ‘buckles’ under stress. Well this is how your body responds to stress that it cannot correct itself, so instead twists in an attempt to compensate. These compensation, over time, cause your body to ‘wind up’. The process of Advanced Biostructural Correction will unwind your body by correcting the primary mechanical faults and allowing the compensations to clear. Often it is the compensations that are what cause pain – your symptom.