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Without even seeing you, I can almost guarantee you have a problem with your posture. That’s because nearly everyone I see has a postural issue. After 18 years of evaluating people I spot anatomical abnormality without even searching for it: the woman who sashays asymmetrically in her Jimmy Choo’s, the Sunday runner whose running form makes me cringe, to the 13-year-old child whose posture is already sadly destined for a future of back problems and inevitable reoccurring shoulder bursitis at the age of 55. Like that odd little boy in the movie The Sixth Sense who said “I see dead people”, well “I see back problems”.

The trouble isn’t just that slumped rounded shoulders make you resemble a Cro-Magnon Man. Over time, bad poor posture takes a tremendous toll on your spine, shoulders, hips, knees and ankles. It inevitably creates a cascade of structural issues in your ‘kinetic chain’ starting with reduced flexibility, compromised muscles, shortening of ligaments, loss of function and what motivates people to  come and see me- acute joint pain and health issues.

To help you assess yourself and your love ones. I am going to share 6 postural markers that I look for and their significance. I will list (A) What to look for (B) Cause (C) Problem and (D) Solution. Please note the solutions I present are only ‘possible solutions’. It is entirely possible that by age 35 you may have a moderate to severe postural problem that is already in correctable.

Postural Problem #1: Flat Feet

  1. What to look for– the foot rolls toward the inside, the arch drops and the foot flattens out while standing, walking or running. View the feet with shoes off to observe their balance and symmetry, then during walking. From the back look to see if the Achilles line up straight or if they angle inwards. The sharper the angle the bigger the issue.
  • Causes- a rolled ankle at age13 that was never addressed, a life time spent in thongs, obesity, pounding the pavement in poor running shoes even pregnancy.
  • Problem- foot pronation throws the rest of your kinetic chain out or whack. It creates undue stress on the ankle joint, leads to calf muscle shortening, bunions, plantar fasciitis and proximal knee issues.
  • Solution –
    • Orthodics – get yourself some generic half- shoe supports that lift your arch. Trust me they are super comfortable, they will fit in your shoe and only cost about $50. They will correct 90% of simple arch/ pronation issues. Job done.
    • Wobble Board- don’t waste your time on silly time rubber band time wasting exercises, get on a wobble board and establish correct function in no time. For a great wobble board videos ask our team  on your next appointment.

Postural Problem #2: Forward Tilted Pelvis

A) What to look for– Look for an exaggerated low back curve that creates an overly pert stuck out butt, a leaning- forwards- walk like they are constantly toppling forwards, or an overly pronounced hollow in the lower back when standing flat back against a wall.

B) Causes- sedentary lifestyle, inactivity, overactive hip flexors, misaligned pelvis due to poor habits or past trauma.

C) Problem- Forward pelvic tilt is always accompanied by tight hip flexor muscles. These muscles are located at the front of your pelvis and involve lifting your knees. When the hip flexors get tight, your butt muscles switch off and your hammys shorten up. I clinically find that nearly 70% of low back pain sufferers have anterior pelvic tilt and poor hammy length.

D) Solution- Click on the image and do my 3 standing stretches as often as you can.

Postural Problem #3: The Hump

A) What to look for– If you have constantly tight or enlarged neck and shoulder muscles and your back is highly rounded you are developing the hump. If it’s more comfortable to slouch than to even attempt to sit up straight this too is sign that you may be developing a hump.

B) Causes- Copying and adopting the posture of other family members, sedentary lifestyle, inactivity, tight hip flexors, poor sleeping habits.

C) Problem- Hunching forward can lead to not only an ugly hump but also irreversible damage to the discs in the spine, early onset of arthritis, osteoporotic wedging of vertebrae and a host of other health issues.

D) Solution- For a comprehensive set of stretches or our new chest stretch videos ask our team on your next appointment. Find out what level of change your back has undergone and we’ll give you the appropriate steps to  sort it out.

Postural Problem #4: Rounded Shoulders

A) What to look for– rounded shoulders can be subtler than what you think, the ‘pen test’ is quick way for you to assess yourself and others. Arms hanging naturally, hold a pen in either hand by your side. If the pens point: Forward- you have correct postural/ shoulder alignmentInwards- you have rounded or internally rotated shoulders.

B) Causes- Office life ergonomics, slouching, inactivity, poor sleeping postures, excessive pressing of the pecs!

C) Problem- Rounding of the shoulders can lead to a condition called upper cross syndrome, headaches, migraines and issues with the thoracic spine.

D) Solution- Stretch out your neck and chest muscles daily. On your next appointment, ask me our team for the new chest, shoulder, neck and office stretch combinations and we‘ll send them straight to your inbox.

Postural Problem #5: Tilted Shoulders

A) What to look for– Place an index finger on either shoulder of the person in front or you and look to see if a horizontal line joins the two reference points. A diagonal line indicates a shoulder tilt and a potential problem in the upper back. The mot common being scoliosis.

B) Causes- Scoliosis, slouching, poor postural habits, inactivity, poor sleeping postures.

C) Problem- Like the tip of the iceberg tilted shoulders may be just the surface of greater issues in the spine. If you have scoliosis it can be progressive and lead to further health concerns.

D) Solution- Consult a Chiropractor and organise a bulk billed thoracic spine study. Work out a plan or action as soon as possible. 

Postural Problem #6: Forward Head Jutt

A) What to look for– Have a friend take a ‘pic’ of you from the side. If your ear doesn’t line up with your shoulder but instead sticks forward- you have head jutt.

B) Causes- Office life ergonomics, slouching, inactivity, poor sleeping postures, excessive pressing of the pecs!

C) Problem- Rounding of the shoulders can lead to a condition called upper cross syndrome, headaches, migraines and issues with the thoracic spine.

D) Solution- Stretch out your neck and chest muscles daily. Try my two favourite chest openers in the video. On your next appointment, ask me for our new chest, shoulder, neck and office and stick stretch combinations and I‘ll send them straight to your inbox.

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  • Lindsay Rollo

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