Posture as Reflection of Musculoskeletal Health

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A few years ago I was working in the computer field sitting in front of the computer long hours and experiencing a chronic shoulder, neck, and back pains.

I was sure back problems were a normal course of life and I thought chiropractor visits were my only path to salvation. Besides, we are all born with different bodies and genetically programmed to have different postures, right?
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Boy, oh boy was I wrong – as well as millions of people living with chronic pain and blaming their back problems on age or heredity.  It must be arthritis, you are not getting any younger, or you need a knee (or hip) replacement – you heard this before, right?
 
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I always thought about posture as something that contributes mostly to good appearance, more of a vanity factor than health. And, until I started practicing something called an Egoscue method, I never realized that our posture is one of the most effective but neglected methods of diagnosing one’s musculoskeletal health.
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It is the most accurate reflection of how our joints, spine, and pelvis are aligned in relation to one another and shows, without expensive equipment or invasive tests, what muscles are not doing their assigned jobs and what bones are out of alignment.
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Let’s talk about a good posture and a compromised posture: a good one is shown on the left and a poor one on the right.
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Two-women
Look at the lines connecting the four pairs of load bearing joints: shoulders, hips, knees, and ankles.
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Each pair is created equal and supposed to carry an equal load on each side.
If they are equally loaded, there is a parallel horizontal and vertical 90 degree angle alignment. From the side view we should see a proper spinal S-curve (not shown).
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A good posture means that muscles on each side of the body and muscles on the front and back respond equally to physical demands._
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A good posture allows us to stand, walk, sit and lie in positions where the least strain is placed on supporting muscles and ligaments during movement or weight-bearing activities.
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That is, unless we live a motion deprived life. Then our body shuts down the unused muscles as a survival adaptation mechanism – use it or lose it.
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But once in awhile even the most sedentary people need to get up from that office chair and perform tasks involving the unused muscles – pick up a heavy object, move furniture, or climb the stairs.
Since the assigned muscle is shut down and not capable of performing this task, the body borrows another muscle to do the jobcompensating for a weakened or lost function.
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With repetitive misuse, the compensating muscle moves bones from their proper positions and posture becomes compromised.
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When skeletal structures are misaligned, muscles are forced to continually compensate for the postural deviations changing their length and tension and pulling bones out of alignment even more. It becomes a vicious cycle.
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The good news is our postures can be fixed and with proper posture fitness program muscles can be re-trained and lost functions restored at any age.
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A person trained in the Egoscue method® can evaluate posture deviations and back problems of each individual and solve these problems through a series of simple but very effective individually selected strengthening, stretching, or positioning exercises.
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You can find out more at: www.uprightposturefitness.com.
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Be Upright. Be Happy. Live Pain Free.
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Natasha

Natasha

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