Part 2: How Posture Informs Movement
Part 2: Swayback and C-Spine Remedies
In Part 1 we considered two common posture types, the swayback and c-spine. You learned how the spine shifts and the pelvic tucks, and as a result, these posture types have moved away from a neutral spine or good posture.
In Part 2, we’ll look at how these 21st Century postures steal away energy and efficiency in movement, and I’ll offer a few remedies for them.
Swayback Posture and Movement Impairment
Recall that the with a swayback posture, the thoracic spine sways back and the pelvis sways forward. The pelvis also tucks under and there is hyperextension in the hip joint and knees, the shoulders round and the head moves forward and down. (figure 2, Part 1)
This posture causes the gluteal muscles, the main walking, running and balancing-on-one foot muscles, to atrophy. The hamstrings are overused leading to muscles strain and the IT band become irritated.
A swayback also leads to a weakening of the abdominals and hip flexors, and along with the diminishing gluteals, the hamstrings are put at great risk in sports and outdoor pursuits involving running and climbing.
The C-Spine and its Ails
In the c-spine posture, (figure 3, Part 1) the head shifts forward, the upper and lower back shifts back, and the pelvis tucks under. This posture creates some of the same ailments as the swayback, but it makes the front body locked tight and short, impacting breathing and digestion.
The back body becomes weak and locked long, and can lead to rotator cuff strain and herniations along the spine, especially in weight bearing activities that involve any forward bending. Gardeners, racquet sport players, climbers and runners, will benefit from bringing their c-spine posture back to a more neutral one.
Check out the videos for some easy to do poses. You’ll begin to bring your swayback or c-spine posture back to neutral.
Please note: These poses can appear to be simple, and you may begin to wonder if they’re having any effect. So I have a new mantra for you–Sometimes you have to REgress to PROgress.
And here’s the other thing… challenge yourself to find opportunities to do these poses throughout your day. Yes, I’m talking about at work, before your workout, before you cook dinner, before bed… you get the idea. It doesn’t have to be a big workout that you add to your already busy day. Want to make change in your posture? Do theses poses regularly.
Periodically, re-check the wall test (Part 1). Can you begin to muscle-map your new normal into your seated and walking postures? If so, you’ll quite naturally translate the movement into your sports and outdoor passions?
In Parts 3 & 4 of this posture series, review two other common posture types: the desk jockey [posture name credit to Doug Keller] and the scoliosis spine. We’ll look at how these postures impair movement and I’ll give some feel good poses for each.