To understand postural alignment, we must first understand that every living thing on the planet is under a constant stress. What could that stress be? IT’S GRAVITY! No matter what you do in life, you cannot escape the constant force of gravity pulling your body to Earth. This is the main reason why postural alignment is so vitally important. At Integrity Chiropractic we understand the effects of gravity on the body are only limited when we are lying flat, but humans navigate our world in the upright position.
Second, we must define postural alignment and this has been researched and quantified for every joint in the body. The science of this is called biomechanics. Most importantly though, normal spinal structure and postural alignment has been researched, quantified and published for the spine as well. The Chiropractic Biophysics Organization (CBP) has published much of this information and Dr. Leatherman and Dr. Bak are both extensively trained through the CBP coursework.
The human body is the machine we utilize to navigate the world
If you compare your body to a vehicle, you see that it has many similarities:
- Your brain acts as an on-board computer to regulate all the systems
- Your nervous system acts as an electrical conduit to connect the computer to the rest of the body to deliver informational commands
- Your circulation and digestion acts as a fuel-distribution system providing all the needed energy to the moving parts
- Your joints, muscles and ligaments act as moving parts designed for locomotion
- Your bones give structure acting as the frame of your human vehicle
When everything works properly, your human machine is considered healthy, however all of these human parts can break down in the face of bad postural alignment. Postural correction of the spine is often a focus at Integrity Chiropractic.
Postural alignment helps and even dictates Movement
Ever heard the saying, “Function Follows Form”? Dr. Leatherman says it all the time and it is totally true! One of the most important components of your health is posture. Postural alignment influences your body’s movement, balance, stability, strength and flexibility. Movement is essential to life. Without movement, your blood would not circulate, your digestion would stop and you would find it impossible to breathe.
Movement and postural alignment are as critical to your health as air, water and food. In the spine, vertebral bones meet to form a joints, and their design and postural alignment (FORM) determine the movements that are possible (FUNCTION). Think about the vehicle example above, how does your car drive when the wheel alignment is off? The form has been changed, the vehicle will pull to one side or the other (functional change) and the tires will have increased wear (damage). Changing your postural alignment will alter the movements that are possible, including limiting your joint’s range of motion.
How easy it is to move a joint also depends on its postural alignment. Muscles are attached around a joint to allow their proper motion. Ligaments are attached around a joint to limit excessive motion. It is a delicate balance of forces and when bones/ joints are NOT aligned properly, muscles lose their flexibility and ligaments lose their rigidity.
The Importance of the Postural Kinetic Chain
Your body is constructed with over 350 joints, and 50 of those are the facet joints of the spine. Postural alignment and the stress faced by any joint will be affected by its relationship to the position and function of other joints. This relation-ship is known as the kinetic chain. With joint problems, and injury, it’s important to consider this kinetic chain. Every rehab program at Integrity Chiropractic start with an examination of the kinetic chain by Dr. Leatherman or Dr. Bak, and its relationship to the spine.
CBP certified chiropractors understand this relationship and perform a thorough functional, postural and x-ray analysis of the chain to determine the root of your symptoms. Although experts in biomechanics of the spinal column, CBP chiropractors are also well educated regarding other joint in the human body. In fact, the postural alignment of the feet is actually very important to the ankle, knee, hip and spine. All of this kinetic chain needs to be properly evaluated from the ground upward.
Postural misalignment Causes Damage and Pain
What happens when your body is out of postural alignment?
You’re likely to suffer joint problems, sprains & strains leading to chronic postural misalignment.
Most of us will suffer at least one of these harmful conditions at some point in our lives. Luckily, your immune system is self-repairing and can usually correct for minor damage and postural misalignment. If your immune system works properly, you typically experience a bout of inflammation in the affected joints. However, if your body cannot work properly, normal healing will not occur and you are much more likely to suffer losses of your activities of daily living. Poor posture negatively affects this healing as well.
Chronic poor postural alignment has been linked to multiple organ system problems, a reduction of blood flow to the brain and even early death. These things are published in the words best scientific journals. Posture affects and moderates every physiologic function from breathing to hormonal production. Spinal pain, headache, mood, blood pressure, pulse and lung capacity are among the functions most easily influenced by posture. Even neurosurgeons now agree that spinal surgery involving hardware needs to be performed in a manner to re-establish the proper curves and position of the spine. Wouldn’t you prefer to avoid spinal surgery though?
Chronic postural misalignment needs correction sooner than later
When stress and strain on the spine is high or cumulative, your body’s self-repair system may be over-whelmed. If this happens visiting a CBP trained Chiropractic office such as Intergrity Chiropractic can help correct this problem. Different factors influence the number of treatment sessions you may require: severity of injury, how long ago your injury happened, amount of degeneration present, original cause of the postural misalignment, ongoing poor ergonomics and the number of tissues involved. However, CBP has researched and published case studies, cohort studies, randomized clinical trials, and has an evidence-based standard of care.
BOTTOM LINE: Take care of your posture and it will take care of you. And if you have injuries resulting in poor posture or chronic poor posture leading to pain, correct it as soon as possible.
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