Our feature article talks about the all-important subject of posture and how to improve your odds of keeping yours more ideal. Why is that important? To a high degree when our posture is more ideal which relates a great deal to our spine and pelvis then the efficiency of our movements in daily activity, sports and work are usually more ideal too. Postural balance and strength contribute to a body that is going to be more comfortable as the decades add up.
What is difficult about posture is keeping it ideal relies on so many variables. We each have body habits that are difficult to change, work can make maintaining good postures a challenge, muscle weakness and tightness patterns add to the complexity of keeping good posture, our desk, chair and the related ergonomics or to how we use that equipment can add to the problem. Today we can be working from home with less than ideal office equipment, or your employer is not interested in getting better equipment. Even breathing and its associated partner, stress, add to the problem of keeping ideal posture. Then there is the all too familiar topic of emotions and how our posture can communicate our mood or general disposition?
So, with all these things working against you, how can you win the postural battle over time? Oh, that is the other variable – all this is working through time and with time we have gravity. It is hard to escape these influences. Someone who is 55 is feeling the postural stress of life more than a 20-year-old after 30 plus years at a desk.
After 35 years of helping people with improving their posture I have come to the conclusion that we can only do so much with the above changes. They are quite important but ultimately it is really hard to escape the negative effects of poor postural habits especially if you sit at a desk for the majority of the day. Sitting and working at a desk as an occupational position has expanded immensely with the computer. Fortunately, there has been innovation with sit to stand desks and numerous ergonomic developments but no matter how good we make it, there is going to be some negative influences accumulated as the days, months and years add up. Add to this all the opportunities to be looking down at your phone when not at a desk as a student or an adult and it is just more insult to injury.
Winning the postural battle has to recognize a simple truth found throughout life which is called the Principle of the Opposite. We have to adopt the principle of the opposites in how we influence our body on a daily basis. What is the principle of the opposite? It is recognition of the polarity of life; that many things have their opposite. Light – dark, hot – cold, or up – down. In the body, we have balance between opposites and so we have a working body. Blood pH is a balance between acid and alkaline, there is a balance between inhale and exhale, and every ion or chemical in your body is existing in a balance of too much v. too little such as when you get a blood test and see the range compared to the normal. Our bodies and in nature survive by how our systems balance these extremes. So, if we could balance the extreme of forward, slouched or sitting posture we should be able to help ourselves.
A simple opposite posture is depicted in the exercise section in this blog. It gives some detailed instructions to help you do it correctly. The floor is a great reference to reestablish a more neutral spine. Add the towel or roller and we now have a fulcrum to enhance the effects. By laying in this position for up to 10-15 minutes you give the body a chance to reverse your forward head and shoulders, flatten your lower back, and improve the flexibility in the middle of your spine. A ton of good influences to off set the negative effects of fighting gravity all day. This is a simple idea but with many years to observe how the body responds to various influences I can say using this posture daily to counter gravity has many positives.
The principle of the opposite is a time proven strategy to keep your body balanced. Postural balance is one element of health we need to maintain through time for a better quality of life. If you would like to learn more about the Principle of Opposites and how you can apply them throughout your day to deal with pain talk to your doctor about a referral or you can come in for a consult to see how this principle and PT can make your life not only more comfortable but put you in more control of it too by learning how to apply the principle of opposites. Contact us today!
- Lay on a foam roller or if you do not have a roller use
a rolled up blanket and tape it into a 4-5” diameter roll.
- Keep your knees up and arms by your sides. Make sure
your head and neck are comfortable. Sometimes you
may need a folded towel behind your head for comfort.
- Try to relax, put on some calm music, focus on allowing
your body to exhale longer and breath lighter with less
- Keep your attention off your problems or “to do” list.
Just observe your breathing.
- Lay here for 5 minutes at first and get used to it for
several days, progress by a few minutes up to 10-15
minutes to really allow gravity to help your posture.