Pain and Posture

Posture is Everything

Remember when your mom used to tell you not to cross your eyes or they'd get stuck that way?

 It turns out, she was right! Well, sort of. It could actually happen if you kept them crossed long enough. 

She probably told you to stand up straight, too. Good advice, but easier said than done, because poor habits in posture and movement can cause muscles and other soft tissues to stick to one another and reinforce themselves with scar tissue. This in turn can misalign the spine, pelvis and shoulders. As a result, the body must make compensations in other areas in an effort to stay upright. While certain tissues are shortened in contraction, others are lengthened and weakened. This puts uneven wear on joints, which speeds the process of osteoarthritis.

We all know the foot bone is connected to the ankle bone, but did you know the foot bone is also connected to the head bone? Let's say you tend to roll your foot inward when you walk (pronation). This causes your knee to shift inward leading your pelvis to drop on that side. This in turn creates a rotation in your sacrum and a bend in your spine that affects the vertebrae all the way up to your neck. This creates unbalanced stress in your neck and shoulders that can result in headaches. 

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, and this one was taken from Kathleen Porter's Natural Posture for Pain-free Living: 


Notice how the
pelvis is rotated slightly forward in the people on the left, while it is tucked under in those on the right. Over time, the impact this has on the spine causes the bent over posture we so often see in elderly people. We think of this as being the "normal" aging process. However, the two gentlemen on the left are proof that it doesn't have to be this way.

In my practice, I'm always looking to help you help yourself with stretches, exercises and postural awareness. I use what I see in your posture to guide me in my treatment. If you have lower back pain, is it because your hips are rotated forward? Is your upper back extended to compensate? 

No one will ever have perfect posture, but even small changes can make big differences in pain and function. By improving the state of the soft tissue, massage can make the changes that relieve chronic pain, improve joint and organ function, and even help you breathe better (which can reduce anxiety). 


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