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Ten Easy Ways to Check Your Posture Alignment August 20, 2013

Posted by jeffrooney in Egoscue Method, Posture, Posture Alignment Therapy, The Human Body.
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You may be new to this idea but it is quite likely that if you have muscle or joint pain the ultimate cause is your posture alignment. This is the first in a series of posts I will make about this subject. My idea here is to help to facilitate your ability to become the driving force in evaluating posture and knowing the steps to be taken to change it and hence resolve the source of your pains or physical limitations.

So first things first. You get to  use your own eyes, and perhaps those of a friend or partner to help. So often when people come to see me for a first appointment for posture alignment therapy they are surprised to see from the evaluation pictures things they could see by  looking in a full length mirror! Knowing what to look for really helps. What I am looking for are asymmetries and distortions from the common standing anatomical posture of the human form(see below). We are not talking brain surgery here. Two eyeballs and a reasonably functioning brain will suffice.

Freddie

So slip off your shoes, wear a pair of shorts and a tank top (guys can slip off your shirt, females can use a sports bra if you like).  Lets walk through ten easy steps at determining your posture. Take a piece of paper and jot down your findings.

1 – So just stand up, gently march in place. Stop and look down at your feet. What are they doing? Are they both pointing in the same direction, is one off to the side, etc.? Does one foot seem more forward than the other

2 – Still in the same standing position. Close your eyes and take note which foot bears more weight. Secondly, where in each foot do you feel the weight, at the forefoot or heel. Don’t think about it just jot down your immediate impression.

3 – Next take a look at your knees. Are you bowl legged or knock kneed? Are the knee caps pointing in the same direction (imagine your cars headlamps – they should be pointing straight ahead like that). When looking down does one knee look more forward than the other?

4 – Now take your thumbs and place them both on the very front edge of your “hip bones” the boney protrusions at the very front of your pelvis. You may have to dig around for them but I am talking about the very front not the top edge. In any case it is like you are hugging your hips with thumbs facing forward. Now look gently down. Do you see one side of the pelvis going more forward than the other? Now look in the mirror. Is one hip higher? If you have sciatica this could be a big part of the reason.

5 – Now look at your hands. Do you see the back of the hands forward, are they different from side to side? This is a major indicator of shoulder position. Is one hand more forward and also is one lower than the other when you look in the mirror?

6 – Now looking at the shoulders, are they level? Is one more forward relative to the other? Are you able to lift the arms up toward the ears easily and evenly from side to side? If not is it less easy on the side that is more rounded forward?

7 – You still with me?! Now if you noted that you felt more weight on one side at your feet versus the other now take a look at your upper body. Is the upper body leaning more to that side? If you have foot, ankle, knee or hip problems a big component of the solution is getting the upper body more symmetrical so that the load bearing is more even to the lower extremities.

8 – Now lets note what the head is doing. Most of us in our culture have a distinct forward head that is not our birthright. To check this have your friend view you from the side or simply stand with your heels, butt and shoulders to the wall. Now take note of what effort it takes to position the back of the head to the wall. If when you do that the head seems to point your eyes upward your head is significantly more forward.

9 – Next pull out a chair and gently get yourself on the floor. Put both legs up on the chair with knees hip width apart. Scoot your butt right up to the edge of the chair so that your hips and knees are at 90 degrees. Here we can clue into a number of things. One, what is your immediate feel to your backside, is it even on the floor or different from side to side? If you noted earlier that one side of the pelvis was more forward than the other side does this correlate. Next, is your low back or lumbar spine have an arch or is it flat? This will likely tell you that your pelvis is either tipping too far forward or tipping back and is not in its neutral position. This deviation can be at the root of many problems.

10 – Lastly, lets get you up and walking. When you walk are the feet doing the same thing? Just walk your normal pace, taking note of your sense of balance. Now take your hands and put behind your neck and pull your elbows back. Walk again. Any difference in how you feel. Is it easier or harder, better or worse balance? If it seems to give you more balance, why do think that might be?

Well there you have it folks. You just went through some of the paces I use to evaluate clients posture in a session. I do more than this but I want you to see that it is straight forward and common sense oriented. Any asymmetries noted (and they may surely add up and have consequence) are part of the big picture of your body’s stature and the framework for how your body functions or doesn’t function. They will tell the story of your body and why things are going awry. At bottom this could well be the explanation for hard to treat conditions that have been illusive to the medical and even alternative medical community. It may be hard to fathom nowadays but in many ways taking note of what a persons knee cap is doing is a window into the status of a hip joint dysfunction, without X-rays and MRIs.

Let me know what your findings are and if this helps to connect the dots between whatever your pain condition is and what your body is doing. Now if it looks pretty disturbing don’t jump off a cliff, just get ready to do some work to change it! Muscles move the bones. So if they are putting them in the wrong place the right physical input can put them in the right place, if not ideally, at least to the point of giving you the best possible functioning body so that you can enjoy your life.

Stay tuned for more on posture as the source of many common pain conditions, limitations and effects on athletic performance.

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Youtube interview with David Smith at the San Francisco Egoscue Clinic December 12, 2010

Posted by jeffrooney in Egoscue.
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Here is a great interview on the basic features of the Egoscue Method as told by Dave at the San Francisco Egoscue clinic.  He talks about how Pete Egoscue got started and healed his own body leading to the discovery of the method. He describes typical cases that he sees in his clinic and the process of resolving any kind of musculoskeletal problems. Have a look. It is about 14 minutes in length.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=617ArdaCc6I&feature=related

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