When I say “improve your posture” what is the first thing that comes to mind?
My guess is some you just started to straighten yourself up immediately. If you didn’t then I encourage you to do that right now as you’re reading this. Go ahead, I’ll wait…
What did you need to do to straighten yourself? If you answered “use my muscles” you’d be correct. Now I encourage you to continue to use those muscles to hold yourself.
How long do you think you can maintain that for? If those muscles are de-conditioned, then you’ll likely only last seconds or maybe a minute. If you have worked hard over years to condition yourself to hold up then you’ll likely last longer but almost inevitably you won’t be able to continue hold it. Perhaps more importantly it may start to create pain and discomfort itself.
It’s a common misconception that poor posture is the result of weak or tight muscles, but skeletal alignment plays a much bigger role than people give credit. If you have poor skeletal alignment and train hard to use your muscles to hold yourself up you may artificially improve posture but it comes at the expense of excessive muscular effort.
If you have difficulty believing this then look at some of the postural changes we have on our website. How are these changes possible if exercises to strengthen muscles were the way to fix posture?
Whilst exercises that condition weak muscles have an overall net benefit for the body and should be encouraged they do not create the same result as correcting these misalignments. I think of them more as complementary. Even more concerning is the problem some exercises can create as they can develop even more tension and tightness in muscles that are already too tight. Now your body starts to feel like it’s in a vice as opposed to a soft, supple and freely functional body.
Worse are the postural braces on the market (like shoulder straps) that hold your posture up. Not only is this artificially upright but doesn’t even carry the benefits of developing a more conditioned body that exercises will. We advise avoiding them at all costs.
The key to knowing if your postural alignment is balanced lay in your resting posture. Do this as you’re reading this. Stand up, breathe in, breathe out, relax and let your body slump. Go ahead, again I’ll wait. If you find that your head falls forward at all, your mid back rounds or your abdomen protrudes forward (just to name a few) it’s likely you’re carrying some skeletal misalignment.
The key to real posture correction is getting your body to hold itself up, even when you’re actively letting it relax. That is how profound, lasting changes are made to how your body moves and feels. That is why we’re able to resolve unrelenting pain and restore function back to your body and it’s done through correcting specific skeletal imbalances using the ABC™ techniques we use in our practice.
If you feel you’re in this category then come and see one of our ABC™ practitioners. It might be the answer to solving some of those persistent body issues.
Dr Ben Coupe