Posture, alignment and avoiding pain

A few posts back I talked about how seated posture is becoming a more prevalent cause of pain in joints and muscles. Today i’m going to continue on from that and talk about alignment which seems to be another one of those terms I seem to be discussing with my patients and educating them on.

What Exactly Is Alignment?  

In terms of alignment in the human body, it relates to how specific parts of the body line-up with each other. The theory is, if those body parts are aligned correctly then the joints that hold them there will not be under stress. Furthermore, the muscles responsible for moving those same joints will not be under tension and should not shorten or lengthen. All of this added together means a body under less stress, which moves economically and is less likely to experience pain and injury.

So What Parts Of The Body Should Align?

Looking from the side of the body and working down, these points include, the ear lobe, shoulder bone or ‘acromion’  (the bone that sits at the top of the arm and runs from the front of the shoulder to the back), the hip bone, knee and the round dome like bone on the outside of the ankle. We use what is called a plumb line in physio’ to accurately assess alignment but a simple observation from the side of the patient is a good start, try it with someone you know!

So What Happens If We Don’t Line Up!!

Well there’s no need to panic. Many people have poor posture and alignment and most can live a pain-free existence. For those not so lucky, then there could be muscle sprains, back pain and joint wear and tear as a consequence. My advice is if you experience muscle tightness then this could be a sign of your alignment being slightly out. A simple stretching program is usually all that is required but it could be prudent to see what is causing the misalignment in the first place.

What Causes ‘Misalignment’?

Well, there are two things. A trauma such as a sprained ankle or twisted knee, can cause your alignment to change. But the more common cause is a combination of postural abnormalities ranging from the way we sit, to the way we drive. Even the way we sleep can be a problem to our alignment.

What Can Be Done?

At Mold Physiotherapy we offer a full postural and alignment check. We can accurately assess your alignment and advise on what to stretch and what things to avoid. We can even offer an evaluation of your workstation, office space or any of the other ergonomics in your daily life that might be contributing to aches and pain.

Faulty alignment has to be one of the top three causes of pain in my musculo-skeletal patients and cannot be ignored. If you need any help or have any questions, book an appointment and assessment today and make the change in reversing this 21st century problem! Contact me at paul@moldphysiotherapy.co.nz

Thanks for your time today!

Paul.

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