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Dr. Dirk Farrell

Foundations of Health: Your Structure and the Posture Myth

Charlie Brown had it right when he called his slumped posture his "depression stance." There is a strong connection between being slumped forward and being depressed or, at least, not energized. The opposite of that is feeling on top of the world with your shoulder's back, chest up and open, and your head held high.

Ultimately, in a body that is aligned well, you don't need to hold your head up. You don't need to pay attention to your posture and your body is able to do what you want it to without suffering from aches and pains. Your bones are all in optimal relationships to one another in a well-aligned body. This seems straight forward enough, right?

So, "What is this Posture Myth?" you ask. The Posture Myth has two parts. One part is that you (and everyone else) can simply "stand up straight" and your posture will be good. The other part of the myth is that you can fix poor posture with exercise. While we certainly can influence our posture by using our muscles to "stand up straight," the resulting posture may not really be very good. To understand this, you need to know the difference between Global Posture and Segmental Posture.

Global Posture is how your body looks to the casual observer. If you (or anyone else) stand in a relaxed way and your ear lines up vertically with your shoulders, your hips and your ankles, then it can be said that you have good Global Posture. You look like your posture is as it should be. Yet it is most likely not well-aligned because of poor Segmental Posture.

Segmental Posture is the positioning of each bone compared to the bones they attach to. Good Segmental Posture means the bones are in optimal mechanical position so that they're aligned perfectly. Good Segmental Posture always leads to good Global Posture. However, bad Segmental Posture can also lead to "good" Global Posture. [Good is in quotation marks because although the Global Posture may look good, it actually isn't from health and body mechanics perspectives.]

The key to structural health is having good Segmental Posture. Sadly, your body, my body, and everyone else's bodies lack the ability to correct Segmental Posture in certain directions. Because bodies lack this ability, people are continually breaking down (visibly or not moving into poor posture) without knowing what is going on or how to correct it. Primarily, our bodies are unable to self-correct because their structures get pushed out of position (out of good Segmental Posture) and there are no muscles to pull them back into good Segmental Posture.

Have you ever wondered why people slump further forward as they age and why they don't slump backward? The simple answer is that bones of the spine (from the base of the neck to the pelvis) can and do get pushed and pulled forward. The body simply cannot pull those bones back into good Segmental Posture. Think of this in terms of a stack of boxes. If you push one of the boxes forward compared to the box below it, the box you pushed and all of the boxes above it also go forward. If you push the box far enough it starts to tip and fall. In your body, almost any amount of forward movement of the bone causes the body to tip.

When this happens, the muscles "rush in" to save the day by holding the body in place. When the muscles have to save the day for too long (weeks, months, and even years!), they get achy, sore, and painful. The lasting solution is to get the bones stacked by a professional specifically trained in Advanced BioStructural Correction™. Then the body works better and the muscles feel better, too! 

This is what we do for structural health at Align Wellness. Getting your Segmental Posture corrected is an essential part of creating optimal wellness.

Are you interested in learning more? Contact us to schedule a Structure Consultation today!

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