Why should we care about proper postural alignment?
The short answer is that posture is not just a vanity factor but a reflection of musculoskeletal health. There is a direct connection between compromised posture and our ability to function. If we don’t get enough of varied movement to properly condition all our skeletal muscles, some of them lose their original function. In other words, they become dysfunctional.
Our body works as a unit. Muscles are connected to bones, cartilage, ligaments, skin, nerves, etc. When a posture is misaligned the whole body is affected.
Dysfunction – a weak link in the kinetic chain
The term “kinetic chain” is often used to reference a sequence of actions that must happen in order for the body to move correctly. The dysfunctional muscles are weak links in the kinetic chain.
Why do they lead to dysfunction? They cause other muscles to change their proper role in support and movement. These other muscles compensate for a lost function. By doing it, they also change their proper length and tension.
Dysfunctions and compensations start travelling through the body laterally and vertically. Incorrectly used muscles move bones into wrong positions. This changes the location of the body’s center of gravity and causes a new, compromised posture and function.
Bad posture means more strain on your muscles, ligaments, and joints during movement or weight bearing activities. This often leads to the formation of inappropriate patterns of walking.
Consequently, pain and/or limitations of movement will follow. Chronic musculoskeletal pain is directly associated with a compromised posture. More so, over time, the musculoskeletal system and the neurological pathways that control its movement start to accommodate to this compromised posture.
The body begins to think it is normal. Despite the fact that misaligned posture causes muscle strain, cartilage degeneration, and pain.
The woman on the picture does not realize that her posture is compromised, but:
– The forward head strains neck muscles.
– The thrust forward pelvis shortens muscles along lumbar spine.
– The abdominal muscles are long and weak, creating an illusion of a big belly.
– The overextended knees change proper knee joints position.
She is young and may not experience musculoskeletal issues now. You can see however how her posture may later lead to pain and dysfunction. Incorrect pelvis position will negatively affect the spinal curve and may later cause hip pain, low back pain, or sciatica. Incorrect head position may cause neck and jaw pain.
Proper Alignment – Away From Dysfunction To a Pain Free Life
Proper posture alignment provides lasting pain relief for many musculoskeletal issues:
- headaches and migraines;
- jaw pain;
- neck pain;
- wrist pain;
- upper, mid and lower back problems;
- shoulder pain;
- tennis and golf elbow;
- carpal tunnel syndrome;
- knee pain;
- hip pain;
- IT band syndrome;
- ankle pain;
- foot arch problems(high or fallen arches);
- achilles tendonitis;
- arthritis, tendonitis, or bursitis of the joints.
Learn how to self-evaluate your posture here.