Posture: More Than Just Standing Up Straight

When you say the word “posture,” most people instinctively know what you are talking about. In fact, when hearing that word, you often immediately sit up a little straighter or stand up a little taller. Memories of your mother or father pulling your shoulders back while sternly whispering “Stand up straight!” in your ear may come to mind as well.

Good posture: the key for a pain free life

At Egoscue, however, good posture is not just about standing up straight and tall. Good posture is our foundation for moving well and living pain free. Our spine is designed with an elongated “S” structure and is the centerpiece of a musculoskeletal system that is based on parallel vertical and horizontal lines and 90-degree angles.

Our major load-bearing joints (shoulders, hips, knees, and ankles), as well as the ear, should all be stacked on top of each other in a vertical line.

When viewed from the front, our shoulders, hips, knees, and ankles should all be straight across from one another connected by horizontal lines that are parallel to the ground.

These vertical and horizontal lines form 90-degree angles when properly aligned. In this position, the wear and tear on our body is minimized and our muscles are able to optimally support and power our movements.

Good posture allows our body to do anything that it is designed to do, and do it pain free.

This means we can bend forward and backward, rotate to the left and right, and dance through myriad of different planes of motion easily. It also means that we are able to go for a three-mile run, or sit behind a computer for one, or two, or eight hours without hurting. Essentially, when your posture is aligned and balanced, you won’t have pain or limitations!

Are you out of balance?

If you are wondering if your posture is off, do this quick balance test:

  1. Stand up with your shoes off.
  2. Close your eyes.
  3. Tune in to where you feel the weight in your feet and answer these questions:
    • Which foot feels heavier into the ground?
    • Is there more weight on your heels or toes?
    • Is there more weight on the outside or inside of your foot?

If you feel any difference between the two sides (which the vast majority of you will), that tells you that your posture is off, and you are out of balance. And, it’s that very imbalance that we at Egoscue believe to be the reason why you hurt. Your pain is simply your body’s way of telling you that something isn’t quite right.

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