Do You Understand the Gravity of the situation?
If you went to our website after the last column Are You Square, you may have identified with some of the postural asymmetries shown. Even if you did not see the column, the question is, where do postural mal-alignments, hence injuries, come from?
The long and the short of it is gravity! How you hold yourself is the direct effect of gravity and how you have moved in it for years. Postural control, how you move and react to sensory input, is the end result of a pretty complicated system of sensory input from the feet, joints, muscles, eyes, emotions, and vestibular system. The brain’s main response to any sensory input is to seek the most stable position given the input. To do that, the brain has two main objectives; keep the eyes level and “don’t fall down go boom”.
Loss of your square develops when the most stable response to sensory input causes the brain to alter postural control. We adapt where we hold our center of gravity and compensate mechanical alignment for a visual horizon and stability. Most often, we become unstable in one of the three planes of motion causing us to become too stable and rigid in another. This is important to realize as most orthopedic injuries, both overuse and traumatic, are a result of the positioning of the joints prior to injury, through altered postural control.
If you don’t understand the gravity of the situation, prevention and treatment of an injury will be one dimensional at best. Once identified, it is easy to regain proper alignment and postural control through repositioning and plane specific exercises. Postural alignment and postural control in all three planes of motion is critical to restoring proper movement and function. In my next column, we will explore what postural instability looks like.
A quick preview: If you have poor balance or can place your hands flat on the floor, you are compensating for some postural instabilities.