I sometimes bring up the centaur – the mythical half-man half-horse creature – when explaining to certain clients why I believe they’re in pain.
What’s posture correction got to do with a centaur?
Well, with this mythical being, you can see that the lower horse half provides a strong and stable platform upon which the upper human half can sit, and crucially, it’s the lower half which drives the creature forward during movement.
We want a similar thing to happen with your body.
Your hips and pelvis should provide a balanced, aligned and strong platform for your upper body to sit upon, and should drive you forward when you walk, jump and run.
Now don’t get me wrong, your upper body has an important role in walking, running and stabilisation, but it should not be the driver.
The driver should be your hips and pelvis!
I also want your hips and pelvis to be aligned and strong so that they can support your back, shoulders and neck when sitting for long periods.
Remember your pelvis is the foundation of your spine, so if it’s in the right position then your back will be too.
Unfortunately with many people I see, because of our modern day lifestyles their hips and pelvis are unbalanced, misaligned and weak.
For example, one hip is higher than the other, or there is a twist in the pelvis, or an excessive tilt one way, or their hips ‘bail’ forward from the ankles like in the example below.
This forces their upper body to compensate and help out with work which is not being done efficiently from below. In some movements the driver is now the upper body, instead of the hips.
So what can happen when we get this role reversal?
Well, over weeks, months and years perhaps your lower back is exposed to excess work, strain, and wear and tear. Then one day you bend down to pick up a pen, or lift something, and boom you strain a muscle or blow out a disc, or your back spasms to try and protect you from further damage.
Maybe your neck musculature becomes chronically overworked, tight and eventually painful. Maybe certain muscles connected to your jaw overwork and you get pain there. Perhaps the muscles just below the back of your head get tight leading to headaches.
You get the picture!
Whenever I’m working with a client to improve their posture, whether they’re in pain, or they want to change the way they look or they just want to age better, I always include exercises to balance and align the hips and pelvis.
Here’s one of the exercises I often use to do this. Feel free to give it a try.
It may seem strange to do exercises for your hips when you have neck pain, but I think in most cases it would be strange not to!
Remember, the site of your pain is rarely the source of your pain.
So that’s how posture correction is connected to a mythical half-human half-horse creature!
Take care and I hope this helps.
Ameet Bhakta BSc. DipHE, Posture Specialist in London and Tunbridge Wells.
Founder of Health Through Posture