Postural Assessment / Structural Alignment

Good posture allows proper functioning of the body with ease of movement without risk of injury. Poor posture habits create many problems beyond appearance. Postural faults that go uncorrected can cause discomfort, pain, restriction in movement and even disability.

Think of the body as a tent pole (skeleton) and guide ropes (muscles). When the pole is upright and the ropes are even either side then the body is straight (aligned) and strong. If a single or group of muscles or connective tissue is tight on one side they will pull the skeleton causing it to fall out of alignment causing an imbalance in structure, which can lead to restriction in range of motion and function. If left untreated the surrounding muscles start to compensate and issues travel up and down the body. What might start as a sore knee, may end as a sore neck.

Postural assessment is exactly that. Your posture when standing, movement of the hips, shoulders and neck are all observed as well as special tests. These tests are used to determine whether the imbalance is structural (skeletal) or functional (muscular). If the fault lies with the skeletal structure itself, then you will be referred to another heath care practitioner for them to treat. If the fault lies within the muscles and connective tissue, a treatment plan is devised to counteract the imbalance.

Different techniques are used to treat effected muscles and connective tissue including myofascial release, trigger point therapy, soft tissue manipulation, deep tissue massage and PNF/MET stretching. Whilst one group of muscles will have become adaptive shortened (in a constant state of contraction) the opposing muscles will have become stretched and weakened. You may need to see a physiotherapist or exercise physiologist to get strengthening exercises for these muscles, depending on the severity.

Several sessions may be required to restore muscles and connective tissue their normal length, and regain postural balance.