With the surreal amount of stress we are exposed to these days, it is no wonder that our posture is becoming more and more of an issue. Many people are “sympathetic dominant” meaning that the sympathetic nervous system is stuck in the “on” position creating issues with sleep, digestion, mental clarity, quality of life, autoimmune disease and many more situations. Medication will only make these issues progress faster as they alter the pH of the body and create more “sticky” fascia. Below are the top 5 postural deviations, see which one’s you resonate with and work the solution into your daily activity. This lifestyle adjustment can mean the difference between creating an injury and living a healthy happy balanced life.
Over Pronated feet
Identify: put both hands 1 inch away from each side of your foot, straighten your ankle so that the space is equal on both sides. Naturally let your ankle and feet rest, if the ankle caves inward, you have over-pronated feet.
Cause: obesity, pregnancy, improper foot wear, repetitive pounding on hard surface can weaken arch.
Problem: Stresses the foot, tightens calf muscles, can internally rotate the knees. Often leads to plantar fasciitis, heel spurs, metatarsalgia, tendonitis, compartment syndrome, shin splints and bunions.
Solutions: If arch is fallen, orthotics will help, if arch hasn’t fallen or is weak, barefoot walking/running may help strengthen arches. Physio-taping calf and ankle to correct deviation and massage therapy on locked short muscles contributing to the deviation.
Anterior pelvic tilt
Identification: Purposely tilt your pelvis forward as far as you can, then backward as far as you can. You may realize your natural hip tilt is not far from the exaggerated forward tilt. Inability to contract lower abs and low back pain are clear signs.
Cause: Sitting too much and not stretching. Overtraining piriformis, emotional trauma, bad form in core and compound exercises.
Problem: Associated with tight hip flexors and psoas, this pulls on the knees upward. As you walk, this prevents the glutes from performing their function properly, forcing the hamstrings to compensate, becoming extremely tight and guarded, this in turn pulls on the low back along with the psoas compressing lumbar spine and QL causing low back pain, which can trigger a number of other injuries/issues.
Solution: Stretch the hip flexors, hamstrings and psoas, increase mind muscle connection with glutes during training. Foam roll IT band, quads, hip flexors and hamstrings.
Identification: Excessive curve in the upper back (greater than 45 degrees)
Cause: Sitting with bad posture, like at a desk working on a computer. Not letting go of emotional stressors.
Problem: Sitting hunched over a computer forces chest muscles to tighten which can cause Thoracic Kyphosis. Postural muscles in the upper back weaken and loosen. Tension in the neck/upper back caused by stressful conditions becomes “embedded” and the deviation begins to “guard” the area to protect it from further damage.
Solution: Relieve chest tightness with self myo-fascial release and stretching. Strengthen upper back muscles ensuring full mobility of the scapula (protraction and retraction). Meditate to reduce emotional tension.
Identification: “The pencil test” hold a pencil in each hand and allow arms to relax naturally at your side. If the pencils are at an angle of facing each other, you have rounded shoulders.
Cause: sitting with bad posture, overtraining chest, Insecurity, using bad form during training.
Problem: Sitting hunched over a computer forces chest muscles to tighten, which can internally rotate the shoulders forward. Training to make the chest too strong will “Pull” the shoulders forward and internally rotate the humerus. Guys that are insecure and “flare” their lats constantly are consciously internally rotating the shoulders to hold that muscle contracted, which shortens the chest muscles, prolonged exposure like this creates a subconscious consistent contraction and creates this deviation.
Solution: Similar to Hunchback, stretch the opposite muscles of the back, accept who you are, and meditate.
Forward head (texting neck)
Identification: Have someone take a photo of you standing sideways. Find the AC joint and the ear lobe. They should be aligned. If earlobe is forward, you have forward head.
Cause: Sitting hunched over, inability to forgive yourself.
Problem: muscles in the back of the neck become tight, along with the traps and levator scapulae.
Solution: Practice proper head posture by sliding your head back while keeping your line of sight in tact. Be sure not to tilt your head upwards as you slide back. Get a massage or use a foam roller on your sub-occipital ridge. Meditate, allow yourself to face your fears and dig deep to learn to accept and forgive yourself.