Alignment & Posture

What is alignment?

Imagine a skeleton hanging on a stand - head neutral, shoulders down, tailbone slightly pointed downward, and toes pointing forward – this is your body’s prefered alignment. Your muscles, tendons, ligaments and fascia hold your bones in place. These soft tissues are like the strings of a puppet that pull on the bones for movement. If the strings get tangled or tightened, the puppet’s movements are limited, much like the flexibility of a person.

Each joint has a “normal range” of motion, based on what that joint does and where the two bones comprising it can move no more. In other words, the normal range of movement is determined by the construction of the bones and the soft tissues that surround the joint to hold it together. Range of motion is very related to flexibility. An ideal range-of-motion for any joint requires muscle strength, tension and relaxation.

When a joint does not have the normal range of motion, and it is not a result of surgery, the “strings”, the muscles and ligaments, are not releasing their pull on the body, restricting the joint’s ability to move freely and without pain.

When you are unable to move freely within the “normal ranges” you have a greater chance of injuring yourself.

Understanding how your body should move and how it actually moves can help alleviate pain and re-establish and improve functional movements. Maintaining correct alignment requires a balance of muscle tension and relaxation, and strength.

For example, with a normal range of motion, forward flexion of the spine allows you to bend at the waist and touch your toes. According to Rahn’s observations, less than half of the people she assesses can touch their toes without bending their knees. This lack of flexibility has a direct relationship with the strength of the hamstring tendons and muscles, and the gluteal muscles that make up your buttocks. If the hip flexors (a group of muscles deep in the abdominal cavity, that allow you to lift your knees and bend at the waist) are stronger than the hamstrings, you will be unable to fully move into a forward flexed position, making the spine more vulnerable and increase the likelihood of injury.

A person who sits at the computer all day with knees bent and hip muscles flexed, these muscles often tighten up or become shortened, with range of motion restricted. Then if for some reason they trip and fall, suddenly the muscle may become overstretched, resulting in strain or pain.

This same person who sits at the computer for long periods, is likely to have tight muscles and ligaments at the front of the shoulder joint, and overstretched muscles in the upper back. This imbalance in muscle tone is most likely to affect that person's range of motion at the shoulder.

To gain a greater range of motion, you need to firstly release the connective tissues and muscles. A neuromuscular treatment with Rahn is a good first place to start.


Strengthening and stretching

Although many people will stretch to try to gain flexibility, the way to achieve and maintain flexibility is through muscle strengthening as well as stretching.

To gain a greater range of motion, you need to stretch the connective tissues and muscles, then strengthen the muscles that are restricted and reducing your range of motion.

Stretching alone will not maintain flexibility. Strengthening exercises are crucial to maintaining stability and achieving an improved range of motion.

It’s important to establish an exercise routine that you complete a minimum of four times each week, as well as maintaining a healthy weight and eating an anti-inflammatory diet.

Comprehensive joint nutrition that supports and strengthens joints, cartilage and connective tissue is available from as Well as Wellness Centre.

We also provide nutrients that relieve muscular pain, spasm and cramping and improve the production of cellular energy.

For more information contact us on 07 83 83 83 2

Like us on Facebook