Stand Up Straight (Part I)

I know you have heard this from your mother at some point in your life even if you may not have said it to your kids, yet. Posture is becoming an increasing problem. I like to call it the de-evolution of man. You know the pictures where you see the monkey turning into cro-magnon man etc. until eventually walking upright like we are supposed to. Well imagine we add one more picture where we are hunched over a computer like a monkey.

Let me get one thing straight (no pun intended) before I stand on my soap box about posture (actually, I am not standing at all; I am lying on my couch typing on my laptop), I appreciate ergonomics as much as the next guy but there is no perfect position. We were designed to move! How we move and what we do when we are moving is what is important.

Let’s start deep, shall we? The spinal column from the side should be curved. There should be a nice arc with the apex at the front of the neck, another at the back of the mid back and another at the front of the low back. The shoulder joints (ball and socket or glenohumeral if you want to be technical) should rest slightly down and point out about 20 degrees. Likewise, the hips and knees should rest at a slight angle called the “Q angle.” The feet should then rest hips width apart point straight. This is the foundation. It is structurally sound and can carry the greatest load.

If the foundation is good then everything else will follow suit. Muscles will rest at their strongest point, ligaments will have less stress, joints will maintain acceptable pressure, and the intervertebral discs will be situated such that they are fairly even from front to back in resting position.

Ligaments hold joints together and muscles dictate motion with proper signals from the nerves. The problem is that trauma can cause weakness, nerve irritation, and muscle spasm (see earlier posts) and gravity can be considered a slow moving trauma. When you consistently place a strain on the above mentioned structures with gravity things start to change for the worse.

The ultimate resting posture looks like the picture with a straight line going through the ear, the shoulder, the hip, back of the knee and ankle. Stay tuned for more specifics on proper posture of the neck and shoulders, feet and legs, and the low back and core!


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