There are different postures in life. When we lie down, we sleep. When we stand straight, we are ready for action. When we are seated, we are primed for study. When we recline, even slightly, we are ready for a nap.
With each change of body position and orientation, the alignment of our skeleton shifts and the tension within our musculature changes as tendons and ligaments adjust.
Sensors within those muscles tell our brain about balance and the need to produce a counter balance when things are off kilter or misaligned for a given position.
Enjoy Greater Health With Better Posture!
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The human body creates posture and adjusts muscles and skeleton without conscious thought most of the time. We think of our bones as being “connected,” but they are only connected because they are linked by tendons, ligaments, and muscles. Muscles function in groups and may move the skeleton in a given direction, but there are opposing muscles that can counter that direction. This arrangement allows many potential intervening positions in the range of muscle movement and the setting of the skeleton into a given orientation. Those muscle groups control our orientation in all space.
What Happens When We Have Poor Posture
We have a broad range of built-in muscle synergies. When we change position, those muscles automatically rebalance for the change in bone orientation. Our built-in proprioception sensors within those muscles trigger that rebalancing activity and give us a sense of body balance for any given posture. That’s why we automatically know which way is up!
Muscle strain, loss of muscle tone, compromised joints from trauma or disease, stroke, other neurologic disease, etc. may alter the synergies that are so automatic for us. Muscles that counter other muscles for balance or that allow for small, fine muscle movement, do fail. Fully functional muscles, when not counterbalanced, overpower weaker muscles, and the posture frame gets bent and out of kilter.
We are “binary creatures,” right sides and left sides typically in balance with one another. When muscles on one side of the body are compromised, posture gets complicated. For our spine to give us proper posture, not only do we need our agonist and antagonist muscles working on a given side of the body, we need both sets of muscles on the contralateral side working as well, or we will have posture problems, the inability to set our body in an appropriate orientation for a given activity.
Chiropractor for Better Posture – Can it Help?
All health care begins with hearing the complaint and assessing the problem. Simple questions like “When did your posture start to bother you?” or “How long has it been since your family first noticed your posture problem?” or “Where does it hurt?” or “What happens when your body is tired—where do you feel it?” or “How were you injured?” or “How long have you recognized your posture has been bad?” etc.
Can a chiropractor improve posture? A chiropractor will assess a patient’s posture based on recognition of the potential “normal posturing” for a patient and determine what has brought about the abnormal posturing of the patient. The practitioner will assess joint stress, agonist and antagonist muscle tone and strength, and body symmetry. Referred pain in certain posture problems may confuse the locus of the posture problem, so issues like pain in knee, pelvis, eye, neck, etc. may not be the problem source point.
Typically, the chiropractor for posture will evaluate patient mobility, spinal alignment, muscle symmetry strength and size, flexibility, and strength of muscle groups related to posture. Depending on findings in this assessment, one or more of the following strategies will be implemented to reprogram the body’s posturing system: exercise of muscle groups, stretching of certain muscle groups, application of heat and massage to relax and stretch problem muscles/tendons/ligagment complexes.
Supportive strategies may be required to augment natural muscle function. Manual manipulation may be required to reestablish appropriate posture.
In Toronto at Core Wellness Centre, Dr. Kris Dorken will give a full electronic posture assessment. Call 416 479 – 8311 for more information.