What is good alignment?
Nobody is perfect, but if I asked you to stand up, relax, and not think about your posture, then I would look to see if your ankles, knees, hips, spine, shoulders and head were stacked symmetrically on top of one another, and balanced left to right and front to back (see body alignment guide picture). The closer you are to this alignment, the stronger, the more stable, and the more efficient your body will function.
What affects your alignment?
Your muscles keep your posture in alignment and require a variety of work to stay functional, balanced and healthy. Our modern-day lifestyles rarely allow the diversity and frequency of movement that maintains this balance. Even from a young age, we spend so much time sitting at a desk at school, and many of us have desk jobs. All of this combined with injuries and other stressors can lead to misalignments in your posture.
What are the effects?
As well as making some people feel unhappy with how they look, postural misalignments also cause certain muscles to compensate and can make them more susceptible to injury and pain. Joints that function less efficiently due to muscular imbalances can lead to abnormal wear and tear, impingement and pain. Ultimately, the ‘unexplained’ source of many health conditions is that your body does not work the way it was designed.
What’s the solution?
If you want to stop a leak, you can’t just keep putting buckets down to collect the dripping water; eventually you have to fix the pipe! This is something I don’t think modern day healthcare spends enough time looking at. There tends to be only a focus on treating the symptoms, rather than the root cause of the symptoms, and I think this often leads to costly, ineffective, and extreme treatments being offered, which may not help at all, might help temporarily or might even make things worse.
A better long-term approach is to tackle the root cause of your problem, which in many cases is poor posture. The Egoscue Method, a type of posture correction therapy, was founded in 1971 by Pete Egoscue, and uses gentle posture correction exercises to bring your body back into better alignment. The aim is to end your current pain (if you have any), feel more confident about how you look, and reduce your risk of future pain and injuries.