Principles of Structural
Or What is "good" posture?
The word posture conjures
up many thoughts. Mom and Dad "saying stand up straight" or a picture
of yourself hunched over a desk and computer attached to the phone.
The word posture as per webster is (1) the position or carriage of the
body in standing or sitting; bearing (2) an attitude of mind; frame of
mind (3) the habitual or assumed disposition of the parts of the body in
a standing, sitting, etc. What relationship does physical posture
have on our overall health?
Developing how we see the
body is one of the first steps in assessing posture. A comprehensive view
of the body and how it moves as a result of the posture is needed to evaluate
the body. Here are some key point to tune into when looking at posture.
Look at the feet. Are the arches
falling? Are the toes clenched? Is the weight on the outside, inside
of the feet or balanced over the ankles? Does each foot look the same or
are they different? Are the feet pointed in or out?
Are the ankles falling in?
Is one ankle falling in?
The knees. Do the knees
point in the same direction? Does one point out or in more? Are they directly
under the hips or closer together than the hips?
When the person is standing
with feet hip width apart and asked to bring the knees forward as if they
were going to sit, do the knees remain in the same plane or do they move
outward or inward?
The hips. Is one hip bone
higher than the other? Is one hip bone farther forward than the other
or farther back?
Waistline. Is the waistline
straight or is one side higher than the other? Is the navel off to one
side or on the midline?
Shoulders. Is one shoulder
higher than the other? Is one side more forward than the other?
Arms. Do the arms hang
evenly? Are the height of the hands even or does one lie higher on
the side of the body? How far away from the body do they hang? Is one farther
away from the trunk than the other?
Neck/head. Does the head
tilt to one side or the other? Does the neck go one way and the head the
Can you draw a straight line
from the top of the head through the nose, chin, navel to the mid point
between the feet?
If you have the person roll
slowly forward to touch their toes (letting their hands hang) does the
length of their hands vary as they roll down?
After having the person march
in place, where do their feet fall naturally?
How does the weight look on
the feet? Does it look like the person is going to spring off a diving
board or fall over backwards?
Are the knees locked? Straight?
Are the hips forward over the
feet or behind the feet? If the pelvis were a bowl would the contents spill
out the front or back or remain in the bowl?
Does the low back sway forward
or is it straight as a board?
Is the upper back rounded forward
or are the shoulder blades pulled back?
Is the head forward or right
over the shoulders?
The ideal alignment is to have
the feet directly under the hips and knees and have the torso, shoulders
and neck balanced over the hips with minimal muscular activity going on
to hold this upright position. The knees should be straight ahead. The
feet should not be turned out. The weight should be balanced over
the feet evenly not with more weight on the heels or balls of the feet.
From the side you should be able to draw a straight line through the ear,
shoulder, hip, ankle perpendicular to the floor.
Are the achilles tendons straight
or curved inward or outward? Are the heels closer together and toes pointed
out more? How do the arches look? Are they high or falling?
Are the calf muscles equally
Are the knees locked or slightly
Are the iliac crests even or
is one higher than the other?
How does the tissue on the back
look? Is there more draping on one side than the other? Do the scapulas
stick out or are they close to the back?
Do the arms hang closely to
the sides? In which direction do the elbows point?
Are the shoulders even or is
one higher than the other?
Is the head on straight or off
to one side or the other?
Misalignment and imbalance
leads to more stress in certain areas of the body, just as in a case of
tires on a car that are not balanced. The areas involved will wear
out faster especially under stress or trauma.
How do we get misaligned
or imbalanced? Muscular tightness, having a dominant side, moving
in habitual patterns, emotional stress and trauma, birth, being in the
womb, repetitive activities, lack of or decreasing awareness - you name
it -it is all a part of who we are physically.