Posture and the Posterior Chain
By Deryk Harting, DC
Posture generally refers to the position in which you hold your body when sitting or standing. But an interesting way to think of posture is that it’s your relationship with gravity. Gravity pulls you straight down, muscle keeps your skeleton upright against it. Gravity is always in effect and if your body is not physically conditioned to resist its effects, bodily compensations occur leading to gradual break down with age. Good posture reflects optimal musculoskeletal alignment. When viewing someone from the side, good posture looks like this:
An imaginary gravity line should pass straight down through the top of the skull:
The head floats over the neck with easy rotation, flexion, extension, and side bending. The shoulders are aligned with the ear and shoulder blades rest flat on the back, creating shoulder width. Arms rest in a neutral position, at the sides of the rib cage. The rib cage and pelvis are aligned, and the pelvis is parallel with gravity, not tilted forward or backward. This should maintain the spine’s three natural curves. Body weight is balanced equally between left and right, with equal weight distribution between the forefoot and heel, called the ‘tripod foot’.
Good posture is not subjective. When the body is aligned, you maximize lung capacity and breathing. There is fluidity and efficiency in physical movement. There is no wasted energy or energy leaks. Good posture reflects a well-functioning nervous system. People with bad posture will commonly have coordination issues. Posture cues from trainers or coaches can be helpful in the short term but these reminders are temporary, not permanent solutions. A more permanent solution is strengthening the body with muscle. If you want aligned and straight posture, you need to have the muscle to support and maintain this alignment. More specifically, you need to have the muscle on the posterior chain, where most people lack muscle (thanks to modern life). Posterior chain is a technical, catch-all term that refers to all the muscles on the back of the body, from the neck down to our heels.
Your posterior chain goes in this order, starting from the head:
Having your posture, movement patterns, and posterior chain assessed by a trained physician can greatly help to identify and avoid potential injuries before they ever occur. If you have been suffering from an old recurrent pain or sustained new injuries then a postural assessment is crucial to avoid flare ups, enhance recovery, and ultimately – live without pain.
Dr. Deryk Harting
Florida Licensed Chiropractic Physician
If you or somebody you know has been in a car accident, be sure that you seek medical attention from a car accident doctor or car accident chiropractor to treat your injuries. Visit Chambers Medical Group to receive world-class medical treatment for your injuries.
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