Fixing And Correcting Your Posture To Free Yourself From Muscle Tension And Some Back Pains

Although not all back and muscle pain is caused through bad posture. (If you suffer with back pain, consult with your Doctor to rule out any other causes)

Bad or unhealthy posture is responsible for a lot of back and muscle pain, soreness and stiffness as well as affecting our mood and emotional state of being.

There is a lot of advice about fixing your posture, but what is good posture?

Sometimes, what people often think is good posture, can actually be bad posture. 

One of the common mistakes that you often see is. When many people try to fix their posture into what they think is good posture.

They apply tension, by trying to pull or physically hold themselves up. This is where they pull themselves up, lift up their chest, pull back their shoulders and life their heads up.

They actually create more tension and stiffness

This is what you have to becareful and mindful of. Because if you physically fix or correct your posture or you try and hold yourself in position, it causes more stiffness and muscle pain.

If you do have to make any adjustments, only apply, very light pressure and movement. 

As a young child, you automatically and naturally knew how to instinctevely, sit, stand and move with poise, balance and grace.

Young children have good poise and balance. 

Your posture was not something that you had to think about or correct.

Yet as we progress through our life's journey. 

We can pick up or develop many poor posture habits or we can learn to negatively react to the many stresses and challenges of life, work and poor sitting. 

Which can cause muscle tension and imbalance as well as the lengthening of some muscles and the shortening of others.

If we continue with poor postural and bad tension habits it can result in:

  1. Back pain and joint pain (If you suffer with back pain, consult with your Doctor to rule out any other causes)
  2. Sciatica
  3. Mood swings, irritability, frustration 
  4. Low confidence, low self esteem
  5. Poor circulation 
  6. Muscle stiffness and feelings of discomfort 
  7. Sleep related issues 
  8. Low energy 
  9. Low moods and even depression
  10. Poor circulation
  11. Shallow breathing
  12. Digestive issues
Life, is forever pulling us forwards, and due to our lifestyle, many people spend far too much of their day, sitting and standing in a slumped position hunched over or bending forwards.

Our posture also reacts to our environment and life's struggles and challenges. 

Bad ergonomics, our negative experiences, our daily stresses and bad habits that we pick up. Can all start to interfere with our natural poise and balance. 

Some reasons why people have bad posture is because they have:

  • They created poor postural habits 
  • They have been deliberately trying to physically stand or sit tall
  • They have been working in bad workstation habits
  • They have been told wrong
  • They have created bad tension habits
  • They have experienced psychological issues like shyness, trauma, anxiety, depression
Therefore good posture is not something that you need to learn, but it maybe something that you may need to address or return to.

Good posture, does not entail, adjusting one part of your body nor does it involve trying to hold yourself up, trying to sit or stand straight or trying to hold yourself in position

Good posture is all about having good organization, throughout your whole body. 

Where you sit, stand and move with poise, grace and good alignment.

Returning back to your natural poise, alignment and balance

You already, naturally know how to stand and sit with poise and good alignment.

Therefore rather than trying to physically correct your posture, which usually leads to creating even more tension and discomfort.

A better strategy might be to work on getting rid of any bad postural or tension habits, releasing any tension and focusing on returning back to your natural poise and alignment.

Ideally, you should aim to stand and sit at your full, natural height, with the least amount of effort and tension.

Good poise, balance and alignment, is obtained, by allowing your bones to do all the supporting work, not your muscles.

When people are out of balance and alignment. Some muscles become stretched and tense, whilst others become shorter.

When many people attempt to get good posture, they apply tension or they try to hold or pull themselves up, which soon creates muscle stiffness and tension in the body.

But is not long before they realize that that does not feel right, so they flop back down to a slouched or collapsed posture.

Ideally, your

  • Ankles
  • Knees
  • Hips
  • Shoulders
  • Neck/head
Should all be free.

The head should balance freely, on top of the spine, slightly forwards and up and the neck should be free of any tension.

If we stand in an upright position. Ideally, our weight should be spread evenly. 

The head should balance freely on top of the spine, not pushed to far forwards or back. Then our weight should be distributed evenly, over our shoulders, hips and ankles.

Life, is forever pulling us forwards, and due to our lifestyle, many people spend far too much of their day, sitting and standing in a slumped position hunched over or bending forwards.

But poor posture is not all about slouching and slumping. 

Trying to stand or sit up too straight can cause chronic muscle tension and stiffness as can trying to hold yourself up or forcefully hold your body in a position, that you think is good posture.

Getting out of unhealthy and tense postures

Before you can undo all your bad and negative posture habits, you need to become aware of what you have been doing wrong.

The way we sit, stand, bend, move and lift. Will all come down to the habits we have picked up over the years, and over time these bad habits become our default setting and our normal way of doing things. 

It can help for you to have some mirrors or somebody you know, so you can observe yourself to try and identify what you're doing wrong.

The key to natural, healthy posture lies with the good organization of the whole body, what is especially important is the relationship between the head, neck and the spine.

The Alexander Technique, which is the most popular posture, technique, tell us that we should allow the neck to be free, and we should direct the head to go forwards and up.

The head should lead the body, and when the head leads the body, it will guide our movements. 

The only joints that you should bend, sit and squat are the ankles, knees and the hips, avoid bending from the waist, as the waist is not a joint.

Ideally, when you should sit, stand and move, you should be at your full natural height and expansion.

But all your joints should be free, without stretching, without tensing, without pressure, without holding and without forcing any part of your body.

Because, if you're unhealthy types of posture are kept up for a long period of time. 

Then this is going to cause problems and changes in the body, and over a period time.

Due to muscle memory, habit or learned behavioral responses. 

You can remain stuck in one of these unhealthy postures. 

Because, soon, the body, will start to make the, bad and out of aligned body, their default, automatic posture.

Which will not only, make them feel uncomfortable, it can also have some negative consequences. 

Fight or flight reflex response

A common postural habit that you sometimes see. Often due to emotional or psychological stress, depression or trauma.

Is where people have conditioned themselves or they hold themselves in the fight or flight, reflex mode.

This is our natural guarded response that we go into when we feel threatened.

When we are faced with a threat or perceived danger.

Our posture automatically shortens in stature, we pull the back of our head downwards and then protrude it forwards, we hunch up the shoulders, and stiffen our neck, arms and legs.

This response can become habitual response which can become a permanent, but unhealthy posture. 

If it is consistently repeated, and we can respond like this to all our anxieties and stresses.

Even though there is no real danger, some people can even get stuck in this fight or flight reflex mode.

Any fearful situation, even in the absence of real danger can put you into this instinctive survival response.

Most people have conditioned themselves to display this fearful habit and response to some degree, often many people aren't even aware that they are doing it either.

They just sense that something is not quite right, but they are not quite sure what it is.

This posture, which will throw your body out of balance, is bad for your health and well-being if repeated too often, and it can cause a lot of unnecessary tensions and strain on the body.

If you are doing this, the trick is to be mindful of what is going on. So you can free your neck, and release your head slightly forwards and up.

If you think you might have structural damage or posture problems, then you might need to pay a visit to a medical professional or seek help from a well qualified Alexander Technique professional.

You can purchase a good Alexander Technique book from places like Amazon. 

Or you might want to check out the website of The Posture Doctor Paula Moore at

www.posturevideos.com/

Finding good poise and balance

If we do not stand with good poise, alignment and balance. Our muscles will have to stiffen to prevent us from falling over.

When the head is balanced freely on top of the spine and our shoulders, hip cage, hips and ankles are in a column stacked in their natural alignment.

The muscles will release and soften as we allow our spine and bones to do all the supporting work.

Many people stand and sit, slightly out of balance, when this happens. The muscles have to compensate for this by over stiffening.

The head should balance freely on top of the spine, slightly forwards and up, as this will naturally allow the spine to fully lengthen.

Ideally, your legs should be vertical, but not tensed or braced. Not everybody has straight legs.

Your knees should be soft and you ankles should be free of any tension.

Your pelvis should be underneath your rib cage so the weight is distributed evenly over the shoulders, center of the hips and the ankles. 

You hips should be free and neutral, not pushed too far forwards or back.

The top of the pelvis should be positioned slightly more forwards than the bottom of the pelvis. 

Allowing your body is more vertical where your shoulders should be over your hips and your hips are over your ankles.

However, this should be natural, and not forced.

Before you can correct any bad tension or postural habits. You first have to know, what type of posture you have.

If we stand with our hips pushed too far forwards. To compensate for this, the back will arch backwards and our shoulders and upper back will hunch.

In this position, we will become off balance which cause a lot of strain and tension on our back and neck muscles.

When people try to stand up straight, correct or get out of these S shaped or collapsed, types of postures.

Many people, will make one of the most common mistakes.

Which is. They pull up and stick out their chest, which will unnaturally push the rib cage outwards. They will also force their shoulders back and lift up their chin and head or push their head forwards. 

This will curve the spine and cause chronic stiffening too the muscles. Straight is a bad term, as no part of the body is straight.

Trying to hold ourselves up, is just as bad as slouching.

When you are standing at your natural height, free of any tension. Your rib cage should, naturally hang down, without bending forwards.

Watch the video below, if you need help with this.



The importance of the balance of the head

One of the most important things to get right is the alignment of the head, because the head as a big impact and influence over the rest of the body.

The Alexander technique states that the head should rest gently on the top of the neck and the neck should be free of tension.

If you listen to an Alexander Technique instructor, then you will learn that they do not apply any physical effort to help people return back to their natural poise and balance.

They achieve it through thought processes and series of instruction, the head direction, which is classed as the most important, use the thought directions, "Allow the neck to be free and the head to balance forwards and up".

The average weight of an adult human head weighs about, 10 to 11 pounds, this means that you only have to have your head positioned slightly too far forwards or too far back, and it will put a lot of strain and load on your neck and your upper body.

The head plays an important role in the, good balance and movement of the whole body, and the head and spine relationship, controls the good organization and movement of the whole body.

The head sits on top of the spine, and it pivots up an down on its axis point which lies just below the ears.

When the head is positioned at its most balanced and tension free place, then there should be more of the head forwards at this pivotal point and axis.

The head should fall forwards slightly, as this will help to keep the spine at its natural full length, which will help to keep you upright and give you good balance and good organization.

The Alexander Technique tells us that the neck should be free, and the head should rest freely on top of the neck and it should balance forwards and up, but this should be natural and not held.

Although your head will move up and down at times during your day, ideally your neck should be free of tension, if you pull the back of your head down, then this will cause your neck and back muscles to contract, and if you bend your neck or drop your head forwards then this will put tension in your neck.

When we allow the back of our head to be pulled down, then this will cause the spine to collapse and curve, it is almost as bad to allow your head to drop forwards to much.

If you try to hold it, then you will bend your neck and drop your head forwards.

Try to avoid lifting up your chin, pushing or pulling up the head, tucking in your chin by force, or pulling the base of the back of the head down. The neck should be soft, with the head resting freely on top of the neck.



The shoulders should be free and relaxed by the side of your rib cage

A lot of people have rounded shoulders, which are pulled too far forwards, which causes the head to stick out too far in front and the back becomes rounded.

Many people are told to pull their shoulders back, which although is correct to a degree, if they are pulled too far forwards and too narrow, causing your chest to shorten.

The trouble is, it often leads to the person pulling or forcing their shoulders and their upper trapezius muscles way too far back.

Doing this will elevate the shoulders too high and to far back, causing the shoulders to go too far the other way, which will again pull them too short, causing tension in and around the neck and upper back region.

If you have rounded shoulders, then, they may need to come back and down, but do not force them unnaturally back too far. Ideally, your shoulders should be free, relaxed and down, but springy and loose, and at your sides. 

The shoulders are not meant to be tense or square, they are meant to be rounded and free, if your shoulders are too far forwards, then your back will be shortened, but if you pull them, too far backwards, then again, your back and the width across your shoulders will be too narrow.

Your shoulders should be free and loosely hanging down at the sides, as the video below will show you.



People assume or they are told to try and have good posture or to try and correct their posture, but when they attempt to find, what they think is good posture, they create even more tension, so they are actually creating bad posture.

If you have developed any bad habits over the years or if you have gotten into the habit of tension parts of your body, then those bad habits will need replacing with good ones and you will need to start to release any tension or any tensing of the body.

It is also fine and beneficial to  exercise to build or strengthen your muscles, or correct any defaults, and it is OK to align your body, but you should not try and correct your posture, because trying to correct your posture leads to more tension, more bad habits and more strain.

A much better approach would be, to start to undo all the bad habits that you have picked up or created, both physically and subconsciously, such as 

  • Holding yourself up or in position
  • Tensing
  • Forcing 
  • Locking of the joints
  • Fixing yourself in position 
  • Hypertensing 
  • Overstretching  
  • Bending forwards 
  • Leaning back 
  • Tucking in your butt/pelvis 
  • Pushing hips too far forwards or too far back 
  • Slouching 
  • Trying to stand up or sit up straight 
  • Pulling the back of your head down/ lifting up the chin 
  • Bending the head forwards at the neck, tucking the chin in too much
A lot of people think, or they have been misled into thinking that to have good posture, they should stand or sit up straight, which often results in people trying to stand or sit too tall, leading them to physically work against their natural balance and alignment.

This makes them too, ridgid, causing a flat back, overstretched muscles and hypertensing of the legs, which will require a lot of tension which will result in the muscles becoming tight to hold the body up in it's unnatural position.

The body is not straight, so you should not attempt to stand or sit up straight or or do anything else for that matter.

Instead, a better alternative would be to avoid doing the things that you should not do, and start returning to what you already know naturally, automatically and instinctively, like you used to do well when you were young. 

The kind of natural things that you did effortlessly as a young child, that left you feeling comfortable, aligned and balance with no real effort, having to think about it or trying on your behalf.

Because there was a time before you picked up any bad habits or before you started to try and correct your posture, where you sat, stood and move freely without any tension, strain, effort or pain.

Keep your shoulders relaxed and hanging freely by your sides

Many people advise people to pull their shoulders back and then bring them down, but this is all very well if you're already in a natural and aligned balanced posture or your shoulders are hunched forwards

However, some people are in a back bend posture, where they have their hips pushed too far forwards or their shoulders are already to elevated and pulled too far back. 

So trying to pull your shoulders back, when they're already too far back, or they are in the right position to start with, then if you pull them back, it will just make things even worse.

The shoulders should ideally be released, so they float freely at the side of the rib cage, practice releasing the shoulders and allowing them to find their own position naturally.

Develop good sitting habits

It is important to sit correctly, so you're sitting on your sit bones, with your spine positioned, so it maintains its natural and healthy curvature.

To sit properly, you have to stand properly and vice versa. This means that, when you go to sit down, you should first be positioned in front of your seat, so you're standing in healthy, natural alignment and balance. 

By learning to sit correctly, you will gain good experience of how to make the most of your hip and knee joints, which will help you when you have to bend down.

The pelvis is part of the torso and not the legs, therefore you should always bend from the hip pivot joints and the knees, not bend from the waist when lifting, getting in and out of your chair or if you're bending down to pick something up.

The video below will show you, the correct way to get in and out of your chair, so you end up sitting in an upright, but natural, tension and pain free posture, which will also put you in the correct standing posture. 

Get the sitting right, and you will be half way there, plus you will feel better and you will have less tension and back and joint pains.



If you have been slumping and hunching your back and shoulders, then a good quality posture brace can be very beneficial as they will ease your upper body and your head back into its natural alignment, you will still have to make sure your lower body is correct but they can help do all the hard work for you.

Eliminating bad posture 

So what is good posture? It can be hard to define with so many different contradictory opinions about and with so many different postures being displayed by people. 

To try and define what is good posture 

  • It's about being and maintaining your full but natural, healthy height, expansion and width, without stiffening 
  • Being vertical and in alignment with gravity 
  • Being poised, aligned and balanced
  • Keeping your joints as free, loose and flexible as possible where your muscles are free from tension

Healthy posture, involves having good balance, poise and movement whilst at the same time being at your maximum expansive posture without stiffening, forcing or unnaturally tensing, pulling or holding yourself up. 

Many of the less industrialized civilizations and cultures have less trouble with back pain and tension.

Whilst many western cultures are straying more and more away from their natural, healthy posture the less industrialized countries have kept a more of a natural upper back and leg posture.

This is where the spine is more upright with less curve through the length of the back with the big curve being at the lower back and bottom.

The spine curves more at the bottom to stick the buttocks behind which gives the buttocks that slightly angled position.

Standing with the least amount of strain and tension

Although there are some techniques that you can apply that will help you to bring your body back into alignment align, (see videos below) be careful not to try to physically correct your posture as this will only lead to more tension, pains and muscle stiffness.

A lot of muscle stiffness and back and joint pains are a result of people physically messing about with their posture. The reality is, you should not be trying to physically adjust your posture. 

If you're experiencing a lot of tension, then this is usually an indication that you have developed some bad habits that will need changing or,

  • Your body is out of alignment with gravity 
  • You're physically trying to hold yourself up 
  • You're physically trying to push yourself up 
  • You're trying to physically correct your posture
The reason why you should be careful not to correct your posture physically is because we automatically and instinctively know how to sit, stand and move with the least amount of tension and strain.

Therefore it should not be something that we need to consciously and physically interfere with or try and control, it is more of a thing that we should return back to doing.

Things only go wrong, when we practice and pick up bad habits, or we get stuck in a poor posture position and we allow them to get progressively worse, or we try to mimic others or we try to take physical control of our posture.

You should be careful trying to mimic others, because how do you know their posture or advice is correct.

Some people will advise you to stand against the wall so the back of your head, your shoulders and your butt are all touching without trying to force it. 

But again this is flawed because, people have different body shapes, whereas some will have bigger butts and others will have thicker backs. 

Some people will also have different leg lengths and slightly different knee structures, so there is not one exact standard structure or body shape. 

What you should aim for is, what feels most comfortable and tension free for you, especially to start with.

To begin to reduce any muscle tension, it might be better to take the approach of 
  • Releasing and letting go of any tension 
  • Correct any bad habits like slouching, bending forwards, leaning back, and looking down by bending your neck and dropping your head 
  • No pulling, pushing, forcing, tensing or tucking in your butt
For example, if your shoulders are pulled too far forwards, then instead of trying to pull them back, which is a case of using tension to release tension. 

Practice thinking the upper back muscles to be soft or smooth or any other muscles that are tense or unnaturally held. 

If your neck is tense, avoid lifting up your chin or bending your forwards from the neck, if your chest is lifted up, release it back down.

You can buy a portable electric shiatsu massager to help you relax the back muscles, then allow your shoulders to relax naturally and find their own position.

The benefits of massage, yoga or exercising, however, will be short lived if you keep doing the things that have been causing the shoulders to be pulled forwards or any of your other muscles to be tense.

If you have been slouching when you're sitting, learn how to get in and out of your seat correctly and smoothly. 

Do not stretch up, slump or lean forwards whilst working or performing activities, try and everything at hand, within reach or at eye level or use the range of your eyes to look up, down or sideways. Avoid sitting lazily on the sofa or in your seat.

To be able to stand, move and sit with the least amount of tension has a lot to do with the position of the pelvis in relationship to the legs and body and your abdominal strength and support.

The correct natural position of the pelvis

Your body should be more of a column so you become more in alignment with gravity. Try and avoid trying to stand or sit up straight, as again this causes tension by causing the spine to become too straight or overextended.

To stand in better balance and alignment, our weight should be evenly distributed over our shoulders, over our hip center and over our ankles, so if you drew a line down from your shoulders, through your hip center and your ankles, then these three points should roughly match up.

Standing efficiently with the least amount of strain and tension, does not just involve the work action of the legs, the whole is body is required to be in good co-ordination, alignment and balance in order to stand with the least amount of effort and strain.

When were are standing it is recommended that the sensation of our weight should be more towards our heels than the front of our feet, but although the weight should come more over the ankles. 

When you're at work, try to adapt your job or work station to suit your posture, rather than adapting your posture to suit your workplace.

We should avoid standing back on our heels as this can put us into a lean back posture, nor should we stand with our toes lifted.



Many people, sit, stand and walk with their hips pushed too far forwards or too far back, which will throw the whole body out of alignment and balance. 

One of the keys to having a healthy and naturally balanced tension free body is having good core stomach and pelvis support and strength, so the legs are underneath the pelvis and the hips are underneath the torso. 

If the hips are pushed too far forwards then the torso will lean back to compensate for the out of aligned hips, and the legs will become slanted or the knees will give. 

If the hips are pushed too far back, then the torso will lean forwards, again to compensate for the out of aligned pelvis.

Both of these can make you feel uncomfortable and they will putt an extra workload on the muscles, which can cause the body to collapse or it will become out of alignment with gravity.

The position of your pelvis is important on two accounts, first, it is recommended by some experts, that the pelvis should be angled slightly forwards, so the top of the pelvis is a bit more forwards than the bottom.

Secondly, the position of the pelvis in relationship with your legs, your head and your upper body, and it is extremely important to have the hips underneath the torso to give your upper body the key support and strength that is required to minimize any tension and keep you in good alignment and balance.

Ideally you should allow your pelvis to find its own natural position itself by releasing any tension that you're holding onto.

Many people stand with their hips either pushed too far forwards or too far back.

The position of the hips is really important if you want to sustain good balance and organization.

When your hips are in the right position, so they are positioned on top of your legs and underneath your torso.

Your spine will become stacked upright, so your bones to all the supporting, which will ease the tension on your muscles.

When your hips are out of alignment, not only does your whole body become thrown out of alignment and balance, it will also put a huge strain on your muscles which will have to tighten to help support you and compensate for the out of balance body..

Many people stand with their hips either pushed too far forwards, some have their pelvis tilted back or they are in a lean back type of posture.

This puts an excessive curve in the spine and throws the head and shoulders out of position in order to try and compensate for the hip imbalance.

Ideally, the spine should be a well balanced column, so your weight is evenly distributed, over your shoulders, hips and ankles.

It can be hard to advise people, because each person can vary from another.

Some may have too much curve in their lower back, whilst others have to much curve in their upper back.

Others may have their hips pushed too far forwards, whilst others, have their hips pushed too far back.

The first step to getting out of tense and stiff postures is all about being aware of what you're doing wrong and figuring out, whether your spine is too curved, or even, too straight.

You may need to visit a professional or take an Alexander Technique class to get help knowing what type of posture you have, and what you need to, put it right.

How long it will take to correct things can largely depend on how bad your posture is, but it may be something that you will have to work on.

If you have very poor or out of balance, posture, then you cannot go straight to balanced posture overnight, and you may have to take small steps, step by step.

So how can you tell if your hips are in their natural alignment and balance?

Stand with both of your feet firmly on the floor, and then try and lift up the front of your feet.

If you can easily lift up the front of your feet, then this means that your hips are pretty much in the right place.

If you struggle to lift up your hips, then this will indicate, that your hips are thrust too far forwards, or even too far back.



Getting out of tense and painful postures

Many people get stuck in those lazy types of sway back posture.

This is where they have their hips are pushed too far forwards, which can cause their back to angle backwards, the shoulders become out of alignment and the head starts to protrude forwards, 

When you are in a back bend type of posture, it can cause the lower back to become compressed.

Another typical type of tense posture, is where people enter into an S type posture, in this type of posture you will often see the legs become tilted and the knees become locked.

All these types of sway back or zig zag types of postures, can make it hard for people to stand and sit up properly.

To compensate for these out of aligned, balanced  and sway back postures, because they struggle to hold themselves up, you will usually see them leaning on something to help give them more support  to stand upright.

If you think that your hips might be are thrust too far forwards, or you have too much curvature in your spine.

Then you might find that the top of your legs and the weight of your hips need to come back a touch so your hips come over your ankles, so your weight goes over your ankles and your upper body comes over your hips.

If you think that you're in an S shape, posture, where your hips are pushed too far forwards, and your back is to curved and your legs are slanted.
 
Then the top of your legs might need to come back a touch and your upper body may need to come forward and upright a touch.

The legs should be vertical (as such), but not braced, and the knees should be soft, I am reluctant to use the term, straighten your legs, because the legs nor any other part of the body is straight.

Everybodies knees and bone structure and bone length will vary a bit.

Many people tend to hyper-tense their legs and lock their knees, if you do this, just soften the knees a touch, so your legs muscles are active, but not tense or braced stiff.

Others have their hips pushed too far forwards, which causes the legs to slant.

Another problem, is when you allow the knees to give too much and your calfs to drop and ankle forwards, which will result in the collapse of the body.

Generally speaking, the weight the body, should be more over the ankles and heels, and not towards the toes.

We have all been told to sit or stand up straight, but when you do this, it promotes the lifting of the chest, which will curve the spine and tighten the back muscles.

If you have a habit of lifting up your chest, just gently ease your chest and ribs down naturally. 

Be careful though, that you don't drop your chest too low, as this will cause you to bend and stoop forwards too much.

Just relax your chest and relax your back

If you think you're in one of these lazy, sway back or S type postures, then the video below by the founder of the Balance Center, Jean Couch, will demonstrate to you several techniques, on how to get out of tense and painful postures and fix knee, leg and upper body alignment issues.



Good poise and posture could be described as, having efficient use of our bodies, so we are in good alignment and balance, so we can sit, stand and move with the least amount of tension and effort, whilst still remaining at our full extension and poise.

Ideally, when you're standing, you should be in a position where you're not putting strain on your back or tensing muscles that don't need tensing.



Try not to fix yourself locked in one position

People who are out of balance and alignment, or people who have developed poor postural habits tend to use tension or they need something to lean or support them to compensate for their poor alignment. 

This is not the answer because by doing this they're unnecessarily creating tension and wasting energy by adding further muscular effort and tension to hold themselves upright in place.

Unfortunately, most people accept this state of tension as being normal or they are not aware they're doing it because it is all they know. 

Once you're more vertical, aligned, relaxed and balanced, you can allow yourself to sway and tilt forwards gently whilst keeping your whole body straight, then go backwards very slightly, but making sure you only hinge from the ankles. 

To begin with, tilt forwards slightly, until you reach the point of tension at the front of your ankles, then stop, and then go backwards until you feel the point of tension at the back of your ankles, then do this a few times, until you get to know the midpoint between the two extremes and try to stay in and around these two limits.

Because, although you're ideally searching for the position with the least amount of tension, you should not try to stay fixed or locked in one static position or attempt to hold yourself still, just try to remain within the small variations between the narrowest points of balance that you have, somewhere in between the two points of tension.

The same applies when you're sitting down, because again, you have not got to sit and hold yourself perfectly still or lock yourself in position, it is OK for you to sway back and forth a little, so long as you do not pass beyond the points of tension.



Do Not Pull Your Shoulders Too Far Back 

Most individuals who try to correct their posture lift their chests up and pull their shoulders back, your shoulders should be free and relaxed down and held in their sockets.

You may have even been advised to do this but neither are correct and in fact any lifting up or pulling will make things worst.

If you want to align up your shoulders then the best way to do this is either by using a reputable posture brace or by doing some shoulder correction exercises.

The video below will demonstrate the correct way to achieve this

If you have structural damage then you will need help from someone who is medically qualified and specially trained to work with you to try to correct your posture or alleviate some of your pain and symptoms.  

To have a healthy balancerd posture, you have to focus on your whole body, where most people go wrong is the only concentrate on the upper body yet the correct position of your legs is essential to support healthy natural alignment and your pelvis acts as the foundation of support for your whole upper body. 

Posture exercises for lengthening your back

Another posture correction exercise that will help you to restore your natural poise and balance by lengthening your back as well as helping you free yourself up from any tension you have gathered during the day is to use the semi-supine posture correction exercise. 

When we have been standing up or sitting for long periods of time our muscles are constantly working to support us and although, having a natural, balanced, aligned posture where your bones support you will significantly reduce the workload of the muscles. 

If you practice the semi-supine posture for ten minutes a day, then it will release the pressure off your muscles and lengthen your spine, thus reducing back and neck pains, improving your breathing as well as helping to release any tension. 

This exercise will also help you to correct your posture, this exercise involves lying down on your back flat on the floor with your feet flat on the floor and your knees bent and pointed upwards, your feet should be roughly about 18 inches away from your butt with your feet being about shoulder width apart.  

You should have a pile of books resting under your head, the height of the books should be the distance from your head to the wall when you're standing in a natural relaxed posture with your back against the wall. 

Your elbows should be placed slightly away from your waist and you should rest your hands lightly on your stomach, then scan your body for any tension, and then just think to yourself, relax and release all that unnecessary tension.

The video below demonstrates how to best perform this exercise





The correct sleeping position 

Your sleep posture is also important as your sitting and standing posture, because the average person will spend approx six to eight hours each day in bed sleeping. Having a firm mattress

Avoid sleeping on your stomach. The best positions for sleep posture is either to sleep on your back or your side.

Many experts suggest for sleepers who generally lay on their sides to put a knee pillow between the knees to align their hips and keep your hips in a relaxed position.

Your head needs to be level and in alignment with your spine which will help to reduce and prevent posture related back strains and pain.

You can buy cervical or memory foam pillows that are specially designed to keep your head fully supported and level with the correct position of the rest of your spine. 

If those pillows don't suit you a normal pillow that is the right height to keep your head in alignment with your body is fine so long as you don't sleep with your head to high or to low in relationship with your spine and neck. 

If you lay on your side, your knees should be bent and pointing out so it releases the tension in your back. Some people also have a supporting pillow that they can hug and rest their arms on

Try not to sleep in a tense stressed position, like hunching up to much or stretching your legs and back out to straight. It can pay to just make sure your lying in a comfortable and tension free position.

If you lay on your back then you need to have a small support underneath your knees like a small pillow to keep a slight bend in the knees. 

If you lay down with straight legs it will create more tension in the lower back and again use a memory foam or cervical pillow. It is recommend that a fairly firm mattress with a memory foam cover or soft cover is ideal. 



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