Posture Plus


Did you know poor postural habits effect the whole body. The rib cage is 1/5 of the body. When it is challenged with poor postural habits which effect tone and tensions in key postural muscle a cascade of negative effects can be felt over a period of time. The old saying we may have heard from our mother’s and grandmother ” stand up straight” is excellent advise.


An architect has to take these same laws of gravity and weight distribution into account when he or she designs a building. And like a building with a poor foundation a body with poor posture is less resistant to the strains and stresses we experience over the months, years and decades of life.


Common Posture Problems

Uneven hips
Activities such as twisting to lift children out of cars, and frequent carrying of babies or young children on the hips, can cause your hips and shoulders to become uneven. Learn more about Uneven Hips >

Forward Head Posture
As a woman’s body adapts to her changing weight and shape during pregnancy, the spine and pelvis realign to serve as a counter-balance . One of the issues that can arise from this is Forward Head Posture (FHP). Learn more about Forward Head Posture >

Dowager’s Hump (or increased kyphosis)
Dowager’s hump (or increased kyphosis) is another postural issue that can occur during pregnancy. It is a condition that increases the natural curve of the upper back. Learn more about Dowager’s Hump >

Pelvis Forward
The increased weight from carrying a child can pull your pelvis forward, increasing the curve to your lower back (or increased lordosis). Learn more about Pelvis Forward >

In severe cases, long term bad posture can lead to Scoliosis, a condition that results in the spine twisting from left to right, instead of running in a straight line from top to bottom. Depending on the severity, scoliosis of the spine can have a detrimental impact on vital organs, such as your heart, liver and

Understanding the WHY to stand up straight is a little detailed , but picture are worth 1000 words.great posture image for spec. m.JPGfocused


The flexors on the front of the body are the work horses of life. We reach with our arm to access all our needs. The back extensor muscles weaken over time if they are not uses. The rhomboids are the key muscles to retract the shoulders.Rhomboid muscle

When they are strong the whole upper body is in a great alignment.

While the antagonistic muscle to the rhomboids,the pectoralis major and minor allow the shoulders to be more rounded if they are short. So understanding the balance between lengthening the pecs. and strengthening the rhomboids allows you to address a primary correction effecting the head neck and shoulders.


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An interesting FACT! For every inch our heads are too far forward the head carries an extra 10 lbs. per inch too far forward, so the muscles of the mid back can burn or spasm to compensate for post

The quadratus lumborium muscle is what I call the parenting muscle. Parents know about this muscle well ,they hold children on the hip and this muscle is often overly contracted on one side . More than one child this muscle repeats a holding pattern for years till the youngest is about 4 years old. This muscle is key to helping the pelvis come back to a balanced state. lengthening it on the contracted side truly allows the hips to square off and a normal gait can be regained.


Pregnancy and all it’s body changes effect posture in many ways.pregnant womanLearning to strengthen the erector spinal muscles and keep the pelvis in balance can save one much pain. The siatic nerve is often the primary reason posture in pregnancy triggers one to seek care for low back pain.   link to this to learn more about pregnancy and posture.

Sciatic nerve

For any mother or caregiver who has stopped counting how many times she  daily lifts, bends down, or carries her children and their assorted paraphernalia, physical therapists can offer tips on proper postural techniques and methods to accomplish these daily feats without aches and pains.  Mothers can avoid muscular strains to the neck, back and leg muscles by adjusting the way they go about their daily tasks.  It may be as simple as remembering to do a ‘half-kneel lift’ when picking up a child or holding them close to the body when carrying him/her.

Mothers-to-be should focus on arm and abdominal strengthening such as crunches and      pilates-based, core stability exercises, even before getting pregnant, since repetitive squatting, bending and pushing go hand-in-hand with motherhood.  Moms who are physically well-prepared will have a much easier time with these daily physical requirements.

Various programs can recommend simple exercises to help improve back posture such as:  stand up straight with your back against a wall, making sure that your heels, buttocks, upper back, head and arms are touching the wall.  Slowly raise your arms along the wall, going as high as you can while still keeping your elbows and shoulders touching the wall.  This exercise will help strengthen the muscles in the upper back.  Others include pelvic tilts, bridging/hip extension, upper back/shoulder and upper extremity exercises, mini squats and heel raises to improve overall strength.  Of course proper precautions should be followed including specific considerations from the patient’s physician.

It is particularly important for new mothers who are 40 years of age and older to be fit before pregnancy.  Because of the changes in hormonal concentration that accompanies pregnancy, laxity in ligaments and joints occur, so older prospective mothers tend to develop musculoskeletal injuries more often than their younger counterparts.  That’s why it is crucial that they follow a workout program featuring extension and postural exercises during pregnancy.

Various programs can also target more and more grandparents who are taking an active role in raising their grandchildren.  Education on increasing strength and flexibility, cardiovascular exercises and proper nutrition and hydration is important, as these older caregivers play an integral role in their grandchildren’s upbringing.  It has become increasingly important to educate them on how best to get physically stronger in order to prevent injury.’s-everyday-tasks


posture various types manPoor Posture
There are many signs you may have bad posture. Some of the most common are when you have rounded shoulders and a rounded upper back. If your head juts forward, that’s another sign. People with poor posture can also have an arched lower back and protruding backside. Simple back pain can also be a warning sign.

Proper Posture
A person with proper posture will have three natural curves in the back. Marshall says look for the line between your shoulders to be level, not tilted. Your head should be held straight; again no tilting or turning to one side. Another sign of good posture is when the little bumps on your spine are in a straight line down the center of your back.

Scoliosis is most common in adolescent females. It’s usually detected by either a doctor, coach or gym teacher, who will see that the spine is curved. You can spot it by looking in the mirror – if you see that the spine is curved, it could be scoliosis. Also, when people with scoliosis bend over, the curve looks worse.

Heavy Backpacks 
Poor posture in children who carry heavy backpacks is commonly known as backpack syndrome. You know a backpack is too heavy if the child leans forward or has rounded shoulders while wearing one. But, Marshall says there are ways to avoid backpack syndrome. A bag should be no heavier than 10 percent of your child’s body weight. For children under 10, the bag should be closer to five percent of their body weight. Also, encourage your child to wear both straps of the backpack.

Tips To Help Maintain Good Posture


  • Check Your Child: Poor posture, as can be seen with backpack syndrome, can begin in childhood. At your child’s next appointment with the pediatrician, ask the doctor to do the scoliosis test. Marshall says steps can be taken to correct alignment problems.
  • Keep Weight Down: Extra weight, especially a spare tire, puts excess pressure on your back and weakens the stomach muscles.
  • Exercise Regularly: If you exercise, you are more flexible and your muscles are stronger, which helps support proper posture.
  • Buy Proper Bedding: Marshall says to make sure your mattress is firm, but not too firm. This helps support your spine even while you sleep.
  • Examine Work Space: Many people spend their day at a computer. Marshall says if you are one of them, you need to make sure that your chair is high enough so that your hands are over the keyboard. Also, if you have short legs, you may want to consider buying a footrest, which will help take pressure off the legs.


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