At Advanced Balance Clinic, a major part of our treatment philosophy focuses on body alignment to help get people moving better. When we refer to alignment, we mean how each body part is positioned relative to each other. For example, if you are standing and you look down where is your foot pointed relative to your hip? Is in angled out, angled in, or pointed straight forward? You might wonder why we spend so much time emphasizing these subtle variations throughout the body.
There are several components to this answer. The human body is complex. We might be focused on alignment, but also realize this is far from the whole picture. Take chronic pain for example. A focus on alignment might be a good start for some people, but pain is much more complex than meets the eye. More and more research demonstrates that chronic pain has nothing to do with what we call “posture” and is not even not well correlated with disease state. For example, someone can have terrible...
In order for your hips to be building bone density through the day, they need to be supporting the weight of your pelvis and torso in a certain alignment.
A common pattern we see with resting standing positions is standing with the pelvis pushed slightly forward (as in the first picture). It is subtle but has major implications for bone health of the hips (not to mention the long term impact of this position on foot health, core strength, and balance).
Shifting the pelvis back so your body weight is carried over the heels (second picture) and maintaining this position throughout the day allows for optimal bone health. However, getting to this position if this is not your usual requires taking a closer look at the muscle groups that attach to the pelvis.
A quick and simple test to help you determine where you carry your center of mass: make a plumb line from string with something weighted at the bottom. Position yourself facing sideways toward a mirror and find the boniest...
When it comes to walking, most of us have a strong preference between walking outdoors, indoors, or on a treadmill. We tend to think these activities are interchangeable from a health perspective, but are they? The surfaces that we walk on change the experience of our body and the muscles that we use.
Walking overground should be powered by the backs of our legs with our torso vertical. In order to propel us forward, our muscles generate a pushing action behind us to push the ground away. On the other hand, a treadmill forces our body to do exactly the opposite, relying on a walking pattern driven by the muscles in the front of the hip and thigh to catch yourself because the “ground” is coming toward you. Therefore, treadmill walking is not the same as walking overground.
So Why Does This Matter?
For most of us, the muscles of the fronts of our hips are already shortened due to time spent sitting every day. Treadmill use encourages further shortening and overuse of...
Chronic pain is the leading cause of disability in the United States, with an annual cost estimated to be about $100 billion. These costs are associated with healthcare expenses, lost income, and lost productivity. A majority of adults experience acute pain at least once in their lives with about 28% later developing chronic pain (3).
With the nation’s growing opioid epidemic, there has been considerable emphasis on understanding the sources of chronic pain. Many mistakenly believe that tissue damage is directly correlated with a person’s risk of developing chronic pain. Statements from medical professionals to their patients which include “Your MRI shows that you have the spine of an 80 year old and you can expect to be in pain for the rest of your life” or “just avoid stairs or squatting entirely if it your knees are hurting” just further exacerbate the myths surrounding chronic pain.
There is much confusion regarding body alignment, movement,...
One of the most common topics we address with our clients is osteoporosis. Lifestyle changes to build healthier bones should start at any age! There is no right time to start to worry about developing osteoporosis, but with the right movement it doesn't have to be a concern.
This may or may not come as a surprise, but building bone density starts decades before osteoporosis is a concern. The good news is it's never too late to start building bone density even if you've already been diagnosed with osteoporosis.
How Bone Growth Works
Fun fact: Bone cells take about 10 years to completely turn over, so every 10 years your skeleton looks completely different!
Bone, just like any other tissue in the body, continuously undergoes a process of new cell growth and old cell breakdown. Different factors, generally lifestyle choices, change this process and may start to cause problems with healthy bone formation.
Osteoporosis doesn't impact all bones equally, which...
Based on our years of experience in helping our clients reach their health goals through better movement, we compiled this list of our top 10 tools for starting a movement practice. Get your free copy today and sign up for our newsletter!