Postural Alignment: Three Trouble Spots


postural alignmentThere are three postural misalignments that I see over and over again. Compression in the lower back (lumbar spine), collapse where the lower back meets the middle back (thoracic spine), and forward thrust of the head. These three things happen because our skeletons are misaligned and our musculature is imbalanced due to the skeleton misalignment. Everyone leans backwards when they stand causing the compression of the lower spine which can eventually lead to lower back pain.

The compression of the lower back which shortens all of the muscles at the base of the spine, also stretches the front of the abdomen. The way we lean backwards when we stand stretches and extends the abdominals way more than we would like. The muscular imbalance between the lower back and the lower belly leads to the collapse where the lower back and middle back meet. In technical terms this is the lumbo-thoracic joint, or T12/L1.

The same compression of the lower back that leads to the collapse of the middle back is also responsible for the forward thrust of the head. It is a sorry story of a search for balance. Even though the misalignment of the bones throws off the balance of the muscles, the body is still searching for some sense of steadiness in space. Instead of the long upright posture of fantasy, where weight is transferred successfully through the bones, we force our muscles to work way too much leaning back into a compressed lower spine, which leads the middle and upper back to fall backwards, and then against all that backward pull the head is thrust forward to compensate in an attempt to keep us steady on our feet.

If you feel that you have one of these postural alignment issues you probably have them all, and even if you feel that you don’t have any of them, looking in a mirror might surprise you.

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