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A Finishing Piece in the Postural Puzzle

Some postural principles are seemingly contradictory, for example to a forward head being related to weaker muscles in front of the throat and tighter ones in the back of the neck. Another one is in our mid-back, and sometimes we actually have to drop forward to straighten up.

I recently had the privilege to swap services with physiotherapist Anniken Chadwick after her presentation on posture and pelvic floor health. She explained that with many women, especially those who have borne children, often weight is forward on the feet and hip flexors are therefore in a state of being permanently “on.” Of course, we’re all connected, top to bottom, so rather than being tilted forward, the “straighten up” part often comes at the mid back. That up, or backwards, thoracic (mid-back) spine tilt compresses our diaphragm muscle and inhibits proper, full breathing, not to mention creating tension in the mid back itself.

Counter-Intuitive but Powerful

Anniken got me to first shift the weight further back on my heels and then slightly drop the front of my rib cage. A very subtle move, and counter-intuitive for someone who usually emphasizes activating the back line of the body, but one that resulted in being able to breathe not only fully with the front portion of my diaphragm, but with the back portion of the diaphragm as well.

The other immediately visible benefit is in my spine alignment. It truly does feel like the missing piece of the posture puzzle; that small shift lets the ribs sit directly overtop of the pelvis, and what looks like lordosis, or an excessive curvature in the lower back, is reduced without creating any improper pelvic tilt.

The Future is Fascia

This video shows how the front line of the body is all connected by fascia and how the muscles all interact. Around 2:45, you can see how large the diaphragm really is and why it does matter to use the whole thing! For those who are sensitive, please be aware that this is an actual human being who has been dissected and not merely an animation.

To me, this opens the door to even more learning potential — for example, the connection between neck flexors and transverse abdominis, or how easily one muscle can compensate for another… and those may be future topics! Stay tuned. In the meantime, feel free to contact me to book an assessment and improve your own posture.