We all remember our mothers and fathers telling us to walk tall or sit up straight. Most of us never listened or brushed it off until we got into our later years. Having bad posture may not be severely debilitating but it accounts for most aches, pains and dysfunction in the body. The problem with trying to consciously fix your own posture 24 hours a day 7 days a week is that it doesn't work, especially if your only two years old. Most people think of bad posture as a conscious decision by the person to allow their muscles to be lazy. Normally, it would make sense to strengthen these "weak muscles'' in order to fix this problem. However, that is usually done with a regimen of repetitive and tedious exercises that have little results by themselves. Having said this, our therapeutic protocols help patients achieve their goals by correcting improper movements in the patient and supplementing with exercises to drive normal motor patterns in the brain.
Bad posture is a sign of health problems, not the cause of health problems.
Just like we can observe adults exhibit abnormal posture, we can see it in our children too. Any patient and/or parents of ours can tell you that we assess motor planning, function and execution of movements. These findings are used as an indicator to help make recommendations for care and to monitor through out care. The postural distortions are only seen as muscular condition only, we are looking for something much deeper. Posture is the window to the structure of your spine and function of your nervous system. This information tells us a lot about the structural and neurological health of the body.
So what happens when the structural alignment of the spine and motor planning is lost?
1. Information is relayed back and forth through the nervous system. Having even small deviation(s) of spinal segments will give scrambled information. This will cause the brain and other structures of the body to work harder, making simple tasks become difficult.
2. Blood flow and cerebral spinal fluid (CSF) that exit the brain will become sluggish. This fluid is crucial for the nourishment and cleansing of the brain. Kids have a brain that is growing at a high rate. With that growth comes more metabolic waste which must be pumped out efficiently.
3. Neural plasticity is your brain’s ability to learn new things. The more you do something, the further entrenched it becomes in your brain making it difficult to change. Now imagine walking in grass field over and over, eventually you will make a path that can be made stronger or weaker depending on the route you take. Learning ways around these “bad pathways” is what we strive for when helping our patients.
When you have these three factors together it will produce "bad posture''. More importantly, there is an obstruction of information from the nervous system to the body and a slow but steady decay in motor planning and action. Posture is important for the reason that it can show a nervous system problem but it is not the CAUSE of the condition. Our highly trained and skilled therapists do just that, identify the weakness and then implement evidenced-based therapeutic techniques to improve it.