3-D Postural Perfection Guide

Casual people queueingCan you pick out who above has the perfect posture?

Currently there is an epidemic of injury and increased spinal decay related to poor posture in our society!

Here’s how we find out if you have it:

First, we measure and visually assess the balance between your shoulders, hips, and eyes. We note if you have a head tilt, a torso translation to the left or right, a full body lean over one leg or the other, and a variety of other variables from the side and from the front. We use a mathematical program into which the photos are imputed which also takes your height and weight into account and graphs your abnormal posture mathematically.

Based on the results and findings of this testing, we then weigh your complaints of soreness, pain, and repetitive injury against your 3-D imbalance on your test results.

What can we do with these test results?

The magic is that we now indeed have the research and the training to figure out how to unload each structure with postural exercises and treatment. This corrects not only your symptoms, but your bodies’ wear and tear. This is great news!

We are accurately able to get a baseline of your posture and give you homework accordingly. With these results, we know if you are improving and we can chart your progress. When you are back to neutral from doing in office mirror image chiropractic adjustments, customized mirror image exercises, and home traction to pull your spine back to neutral, we can discontinue corrective care and decrease the frequency of your care to monthly or quarterly check-ins at our office.

As we have only a small amount of the day to get you well, it’s up to you to come into the clinic for care, to do your homework daily and to ensure that the rest of the day that you are not in our office, you are not making your spine worse with incorrect habits. After care, it is important to check back in for your follow-up PostureScreen a few months later to make sure you are doing your homework correctly and that you are indeed improving. If not, we rarely have to make modifications of your exercises and lifestyle to ensure spinal health.

Habits take time and health take time.

Depending on how long you have been sick it could take months or years to get you better. As pills and cortisone injections usually cover up symptoms for short term relief only, it takes more time to actually fix the problem. Giving health back to the body is an investment in time, money, and hard work, but gosh darn it, its worth it!

Let’s Examine a Few Basic Postural Misconceptions.

1. Posture cannot damage or fix the spine.

False.  With the application of mechanical engineering to the spine and the soft tissue surrounding the spine it is safe to say that each joint, muscle and tendon is designed for an exact use. From the exact shape of each bone to the exact length of each tendon, these structures are designed for a specific load and usage pattern that we humans have been doing for hundreds if not thousands (and thousands) of years.

As an example, if you are walking around with your head bent to the right and in front of your head, you are placing extensive mechanical stress on the joints on the right front of your neck. These will wear down with time if continued stress is placed in these regions. Headaches and neck pain tend to follow overly stretched muscles and in this patient’s case, she is likely to have left sided headaches and neck pain as the muscles are stretched in what the body thinks is neutral position. Symptoms that correspond with abnormal posture are a daily occurrence in our office.

2. My posture can vary naturally from day to day.

False. Though you can modify your posture daily, your very best “perfect posture” does not change. Studies done on repeated postural assessments show little to no change on patients who have not done postural exercises and had mirror image adjustments. Though you might think that you are just “kinked” from sleep last night or an unusually long ride in the car, we are willing to bet that your head position is probably the same now in a photo as it is on your drivers license (be it that you haven’t had any falls skiing or bumps in your car since). Posture remains unchanged until we retrain the body’s nervous system as to where neutral is. Here is some research on that subject.

3. My bad posture is me just not standing up straight.

False. Your 3-D alignment has little to do with how “at attention” you stand and more on your bodies feedback of what is truly straight.  Often accidents or periods of time spent with the body in an abnormal position can make you stuck that way without your knowledge.

4. I can fix my posture, all I have to do is stand up straight!

False. Posture is 3-D and if you have been using bad habits for a period of time, standing up straight might not be a possibility anymore. Besides atrophy of stabilizers, contracture of unweighted muscles (and the Anterior Longitudinal Ligament) down the front of your spine you might be physically unable to attain postural perfection on your own. Additionally, improper feedback as to where neutral is from the mechanorecepters in your overly stretched, atrophied, or contracted muscles might tell you that you are standing up straight but in reality you have drifted into the abnormal zone.

Simple & Common Causes of Abnormal Posture:

-Leaning on the center console while driving

-Looking down all day at work

-Being a cyclist with prolonged abnormal curvature of the spine

-Sleeping on your stomach looking one way all night

-Sleeping on your side with a “twist”

-Standing with your weight over your toes

-Allowing your head to drift forwards from it’s balancing spot over your shoulders

-Rounding your shoulders while sitting


If you are abnormally balanced, there will be uneven use and incremental wear and tear on the joints affected. This is why most degenerated spines are in one spot or another and not the entire spine. It is most commonly mechanical issues and not genetically inherited arthritis. Often this imbalance which follows you from day to day can be corrected with a few simple homework steps, some focus on care in the office and modification of your daily habits. If you would like to schedule posture screen to see if you need correction, you are welcome in our office anytime. You can book this visit here or by calling 512-255-9711.

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