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Author

Dr Katie Willy - Osteopath

Are you constantly having to hold yourself up?

Your body’s posture rests in a comfort zone; a familiar space.

But how did you get here?

The short answer is that your posture reflects your body’s history of things that have happened to it (the injuries, surgical interventions and scars.)

HOW?

Think of it like this.  Your posture is a result of your need to adapt the way you move to accommodate a significant moment and even the recovery from that moment. 

The recovery is the important factor here. Consider that you will intuitively protect an area during healing time – this may become your new comfort zone.

An easy to understand example is a bad ankle sprain.  Let’s go with the right ankle. 

Thinking logically, if you sprained your right ankle which foot would you then feel most comfortable to place your weight immediately after and while the ankle recovers? 

Logic says you would favour your body weight into your left foot, the pain and restricted movement in the right foot tells you to get off the injured ankle.

Now here’s the reason posture is not your fault… 

This injury has adapted the way you use your body, and so lands you into a new posture, an adapted way of standing. 

This becomes your new state of normal, your new comfort zone.  Unless that right foot is fully re-instated into your posture, you will stay dominant with you weight in your left foot.

Maybe this doesn’t sound like a big deal but what if you did this ankle sprain 10 years ago and never got back “fully” into your right leg?  Which hip, knee and ankle are you now loading more (for 10 years)?  The left. 

When a wooden tower game reflects your postural adaptions.

I have only presented a lower limb complaint but this process is applied anywhere in the body. 

No posture is adapted or changed for no reason, there is generally a traumatic moment that pushed you to create your current posture. This creates a domino effect in the body. 

Using our example again, by accommodating the right ankle sprain, every joint all the way to your skull requires a little tweak for a particular purpose I will get to.  Think of a Jenga tower, you pull a block out on one side and the load has to be re-jigged throughout the tower to keep it upright.  Your tower (your body) has a very real goal and that’s to keep the eyes level, it’s so important for your ability to move around.  If you didn’t realise this, stand up and walk around with your head tilted to one side and see the challenge that presents.  Your brain avoids this challenge by adapting your posture.

How can you test your posture?

There is a very easy test.  This one’s all about feet. When you stand in bare feet, where is the pressure in the soles (only think of the underneath) of your feet? 

  1. Does more weight load into the right or the left foot?
  2. Where is that pressure felt?

Foot pressures reflect how you manage your body above.  You can experience how this changes when you move ie. keep your feet flat on the ground and see how your pressures change if you sway gently side-to-side, and back-and forth. 

Due to trauma you can land in a permanent sway pattern to accommodate an injured area.  The body will then account for the sway in joints above and below the injury by swaying in other directions to keep your eyes level.  This is always the end goal of posture. 

Think about it this way – have you noticed some people have a shoulder that looks like it sits higher on one side? That is an accommodating sway to the injured area.  They stayed swayed, their new sense of normal, their comfort zone.

What can you do about it?

First thing is to find out what significant moments you’ve had with regard to your body that might the reason for your posture.  Our process is to look at your full body history right back to birth if needed, to see when the timeline indicates where your comfort zone was shrunk down to the posture you hold today. 

You history will point us in the direction to look.  When the primary factors are found, next is to experiment & explore outside your comfort zone in a way that makes sense with the rest of your body.  The focus is always to undo the current adaptions to help you out of your current predicament.

Some people have a list a mile long, and that’s ok.  We look for the most traumatic, earliest stuff and talk to you specifically about when symptoms began and how that fits with your life time-line of body trauma.  Some people only have a couple of things that have created their posture picture.  Once again it’s only when we’ve listened to your detailed history do we expose the potential reasons for your posture to apply our craft.   

Funnily enough the earlier an event occurred often places it in the significant category for us. 

Most professionals will tell you the opposite but consider it this way, the earlier the event the more years there’s been to cause the issues in the posture you hold today. 

Our list below has many examples of what we have found significant to work out in others, including ourselves. 
How many do you have?

Injury

  • ankle sprain
  • broken bone (even a pinky toe)
  • joint dislocation (again, ANY)
  • ruptured ligament
  • muscle strain
  • stitches for any reason

Surgery

  • appendix
  • gall bladder
  • hernia repair
  • cesarean
  • hysterectomy
  • mole removal
  • wisdom teeth
  • joint reconstruction
  • arthroscope
  • joint replacement
  • tonsils/adenoids

Scars! ANY!

  • surgical scar
  • stitches anywhere
  • episiotomy
  • cuts from falls/accidents
  • childhood scars ie chin, brow

If you want to know more about this method of treatment, we would love to hear from you.  You can also check out a couple of our web pages on “Anatomy in Motion” with the links below:

About Anatomy in Motion

Chronic Pain & Your Clever Body

If you wish to see one of our AiM practitioners, click the booking link in the top right corner or call 9859 5059 and speak to our reception staff about an appointment.

Contact Info

Phone : 03 9859 5059

Shop 3/74 Doncaster Road, Balwyn North 3104

The Village – Balwyn North

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