In part 1 we looked at why posture is important and what can happen when imbalances occur. Beginning with the Ideal/Neutral posture.
In this part we will focus on what is known as a Kyphotic/Lordotic Posture.
This is often characterised by an anteriorly tilted pelvis and a kyphotic thoracic spine – translation – sticky-outy bum and hunched shoulders.
When you look at the picture you can see that for everything that comes to the left of the line, something will balance it out by coming to the right of the line. This is the body finding its centre of gravity, vital for remaining upright.
In this quest for balance, some muscles are shortened, meaning the opposite muscle to this becomes lengthened. Given enough time, the nervous system will come to accept this as normal and any attempt to lengthen the shortened muscle from its new position is felt as a stretch, further encouraging the muscle to return to its shortened state.
With the pelvis being tilted anteriorly, the hip flexors are being kept in a shortened state, making them more susceptible to injury. The Psoas major is one of the main hip flexors and it attaches onto the lumbar spine. When this becomes tight, it pulls on the lumbar spine, often causing pain in the lower back.
With the pelvis being stuck in this position, the glutes can become inhibited or ‘switched-off’ making the hamstrings and lower back work harder in movements like bending over to pick something up off the floor, which can, in-turn, lead to further problems.
The abdominals will be long and stretched and as a result – weak, causing a lack of core stability.
With the upper back being hunched over, the chest muscles can become tight, causing shoulder pain and restricting breathing.
The head can stoop forward into a forward-head posture – which we’ll look at in more detail later.
You can begin to see the domino-effect these imbalances can have and how one small postural deficiency can soon snowball into a load of other issues.
It can be difficult to determine which is the cause and which is the symptom in these cases so I will give only very general advice as to how to make corrections to this type of posture.
To put it simply, the short, tight muscles need to be stretched and the long, weak muscles need to be strengthened.
Stretch – Hip flexors, erectors, pecs
Strengthen – Glutes, hamstrings, rhomboids, abs