Posture is the way you position or hold your body. You can have standing posture or sitting posture. Your posture is dynamic it is part of your every movement. It can make movements easy or difficult.
It is all about the alignment of your joints. And alignment of your joints is all about the balance of tension in your muscles. So by working on the strength and flexibility of your muscles you can maintain or improve your posture.
Routine patterns of moving or holding positions that do not involve good alignment of your joints will over time lead to poor posture, potentially all the time.
Poor posture or poor joint alignment will overtime lead to pain either as adaptive shortening occurs in a muscle or group of muscles causing muscle pain or in joints where excessive friction occurs between the cartilages on the bones as one bone is not correctly aligned with another.
So what is good posture?
Here we are just going to look at static standing posture.
Good posture is the body position that minimises the amount of load and strain on your joints. It is the position of optimal efficiency for whatever you are doing. In practice if you are simply standing still it means a few things which are probably best explained with the use of a few pictures. In words though it is ears above shoulders above hips above knees above ankles.
A straight line from the lobe of the ear through the shoulder joint, slightly posterior to the hip joint and slightly anterior of the middle of knee and to the front of the ankle.
There are a number of terms used to describe the most common deviations from neutral posture.
Hyper lordosis (excessive curvature of the lower back)
Hyper kyphosis (excessive curvature of the upper back)
Scoliosis (lateral or sideways curvature of the spine)
(Scroll over the picture for a description)
These terms all refer to the spine and usually a postural imbalance will reflect in an imbalance in the spine but it may be generated by an imbalance elsewhere in the body.
Postural assessment is not a simple assessment. There are almost always multiple factors at play and as a therapist or trainer once you adjust one imbalance it may show up another. Although most postural imbalance centre around the back and pelvic girdle it can be that a problem in the foot, ankle, knee or other joint is the primary cause and it takes an appropriately trained therapist to properly assess this. An initial consultation when a client comes to see me with an injury for sports massage therapy treatment will always include an assessment of posture and it will usually include a movement assessment of some sort depending on the nature of the problem. With a PT client I will always assess their posture within the first session, usually through getting them to carry out certain exercises and closely observing how they carry out those movements. If there is any uncertainty about the specific areas causing the imbalances then a full screening process can be followed. As a Personal Trainer there is no point me getting you as a client to lift a heavy weight if your posture means that action risks injury. Equally so with cardiovascular exercise and particularly running, if your body weight is transferring too much load through a joint due to poor posture you risk injury.
And it is not just about risk of injury it is also about performance with good posture you can generate more power through the optimal use of levers (your bones).
I have corrected many people's posture over the years to something that resembles neutral (almost nobody's posture is completely perfect even in the pictures above listed as neutral, however the imbalances displayed are within what I consider normal ranges). This has been done through massage and exercise normally, although it can be achieved through exercise alone it just takes a lot longer.
If you have concerns about your posture and would like advice then you can contact me via
tel: 07980 695185