Postural Correction: Let's Get Real!
When other people look at you, what do they see? Do they see a person
who "stands tall and looks good"? Unfortunately, as we accumulate years
our ability to "stand tall" deteriorates. Our muscles weaken, our
shoulders stoop, our spine bends over, our head gets out in front of the
rest of our body, and sometimes when we look at a photograph of
ourselves, we can hardly believe what we see!
The biggest liability to deteriorated posture, however, is not how it
reminds us of our age. The greatest negative impact of failing posture
is that it dramatically increases our risk of falling and breaking our
There is good news on this subject, and it is that posture can be
corrected, often dramatically! Better still, with these corrections
come improved function and quality of life, significantly reduced risk
of falling, and improved self-confidence and self-image.
Oftentimes people recognize that their posture is "going south" and make
an effort to improve it (usually by trying to remember to remind
themselves to "stand up straight"). When this fails to work for them
(and it never does work) they give up in frustration. This strategy,
though well-intended, is guaranteed to fail because the underlying cause
of failing posture has not been addressed.
Deteriorated posture chiefly comes about through the weakening (atrophy)
of some muscles of the body and the over-development of others, causing
the natural balance of the body's postural muscles to go awry. The only
way to truly correct these postural muscle imbalances is to know which
muscles need strengthening and which need stretching and then work hard
for several weeks to accomplish this.
It often takes the expertise of a professional therapist to evaluate
your posture and make specific recommendations that are right for you.
Sometimes a special kind of brace can be used for part of the day to
help exercise postural muscles. Very specific muscle groups have to be
strengthened with specific exercises. It will take guidance from your
therapist and hard work on your part, but the results are there in the
long run if you stay the course.
Don't give up on standing tall and looking good. Putting in the effort
will pay big dividends!
Dr. Wayne Bennett is a Board-Certified
Chiropractic Orthopedist at the Bennett
Clinic, Prescott/Prescott Valley AZ