Are you suffering from foot pain? Knee pain? Low bone density in the hip? Pelvic floor disorder? Sacroiliac Joint pain?
These are the most common ailments we see in our clinic.
The reason may be as simple as your posture. Often when people think of ‘good posture’ they are throwing their shoulders back and thrusting their pelvis forward.
This is not an ideal alignment at all. This is what we call non-vertical or non- neutral alignment.
Unfortunately, this is not the path to pain relief! In fact, with this posturing, there would actually be an increase in pain. See how the pelvis is moving forward while the torso is moving backwards? It is this motion that creates compression in the lower back area. Over time, this compression will result in inflammation, osteoarthritis and then result in disk degeneration or stenosis.
Also notice that in this posture, the knees are hyperextended and the hips are thrust forward. This creates a lot of forces through the joints and again over a period of time, leads to the degeneration of the ankles, knees, and hip joints along with the lumbar spine.
In this position, the body weight is over the front of the foot, creating overloading of the muscles of the feet. These small muscles were designed to support the arch, NOT the entire weight of the body. As a result, common issues such as plantar fasciitis, hammertoes, general foot pain, and neuropathy may develop.
In order for the joints to be healthy, we want to obtain an alignment where the joints have proper structural support so they are not subject to degenerative forces. Ideal alignment is to achieve a vertical position where a plumb line is directly vertical.
With this vertical alignment, the weight of the upper body is directly over the pelvis. This, in turn, makes the hip joints weight-bearing. And why is that important? We have all heard about the importance of weight-bearing exercises to maintain the density of our bones. Weight-bearing exercises are NOT resistance training. You must carry your body weight in order for the bones to build density. Walking with vertical alignment is the most effective and efficient form of bone-building!
If you have been diagnosed with decreased bone density in your hips, the number one thing you MUST do is to get your body vertical so your hips are weight-bearing. Resistance exercises do NOT send the build bone signal to the bones. Astronauts have been shown to lose 2% each month because they can not bear weight through their hips without gravity.
For those of you with decreased bone density, be careful with your resistance training program. Lifting weights does not activate the mechanical bone-building signal and in fact, could be harmful to weak bones.
Treatment and prevention do not have to be complicated. By simply changing alignment, many pain symptoms and disorders can be reversed. As well, starting with proper alignment may make your current exercise program much more effective.
Kathy Leung Degen
Physiotherapist/Osteopathic Manual Practitioner