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The Posture-Balance Connection

 

 

 

The Posture-Balance Connection

 

dr tony tranfield flipped smallThe Posture-Balance Connection Part 1.

The Posture-Balance Connection is our Education, Coaching and Rehabilitation framework for helping people with problems of spinal pain, mobility, and balance.

Through this framework, I explain how it is that we are able to maintain ourselves upright and move with comfort and efficiency, what happens when the postural system which is tasked with keeping us upright starts to fail, and what we do to address it.

There is a lot of information here which I have separated into a 4-part series represented as four key principles.

 

The four central principles to the Connection framework:

#1: The Posture-Balance Connection.
Our ability to hold ourselves upright against gravity and perform any activity is wholly governed by the efficiency with which we are able to shift our weight.

#2: The Posture Deterioration Cycle.
When we lose the ability to weight-shift efficiency our posture deteriorates. This results in: Stiffness >> Pain >> Loss of Stability >> Loss of Mobility

#3: The Importance of Measuring Stability
For rehabilitation to be effective, we must be ABLE TO MEASURE weight-shifting efficiency.

#4: Education, Coaching and Rehabilitation within the Posture-Balance Connection.
For us to maintain ourselves upright and move efficiently without pain, we must UNDERSTAND what weight-shifting is, and have the TOOLS, SKILLS and FITNESS to control it effectively.

 

In this article, we are going to explore what weight-shifting means, and how we use it to stabilise ourselves. So, let’s start with why our ability to weight-shift efficiently is important.

Consider for a moment a skater gracefully skating around an ice rink. How do they do it?

Whilst they may use their legs to get started, for the most part, they control their movement across the ice by controlling the centre of their body. It looks so graceful because they have become highly proficient at manipulating their centre of gravity.

“The ability to maintain our centre of gravity over our feet is what gives us the ability to hold ourselves upright. The ability to project our centre of gravity in the direction that we wish to go is what gives us momentum.”

Every step that we take, and every movement that we make is a delicate balance between our ability to create momentum, and our ability to maintain ourselves upright.

 

Balance and Centre of Gravity

Consider again a novice skater, standing on the ice. A momentary shift in their centre of gravity from being equally balanced over the central point between their skates is enough to bring them down. So, what is our centre of gravity?

Our centre of gravity is akin to the point of balance on a sea saw. It is the point where all the competing forces on our body meet at any moment. When stationary it is located in our lower belly just below and behind our navel.

If I am standing on ice and I put my arm out in front of me, my centre of gravity will be shifted forwards and require me to make a postural adjustment to return it to the centre of my belly to prevent myself from falling. If I wish to move forwards, by throwing my arm and my torso out in front of me my centre of gravity is projected forwards, and my body follows.

Of course, this is the same process that we all went through when we learnt to crawl, stand, and then take our first steps. We learn to stabilise ourselves by holding our centre of gravity still over our feet and then we learnt to take our first steps by projecting our centre of gravity out in front of us until we fell forwards, and then we learnt to catch ourselves through a step… which developed into walking through the coordinated activity of our legs.

The ability to shift our weight efficiently is the connection between posture and balance and it’s the key to spinal stability. When our weight-shifting efficiency starts to decrease, we get postural change which leads to: stiffness >> pain >> loss of stability >> and ultimately loss of mobility.

When addressing chronic spinal pain, we need to repair soft tissue damage, mobilise joints, improve flexibility and strengthen the postural muscles; but the ingredient so often missing from most back pain treatment to ensure lasting change is to restore efficiency in the postural control system that provides biomechanical alignment and the moment to moment muscular support. This comes down to the efficient control of centre of gravity.

 

In the second article in this series called The Postural Deterioration Cycle, we explore how and why our ability to weight-shift deteriorates.

 

Have you found this article useful, interesting, thought provoking?

If you want to know more about how your posture works, instruction on how to improve your posture and exercises to improve your weight shifting efficiency, then we recommend our six-week video education program Perfect Posture Online.

 

Other articles in this series:
Article 2: The Posture Deterioration Cycle.

When we lose the ability to weight-shift efficiency our posture deteriorates. This results in: Stiffness >> Pain >> Loss of Stability >> Loss of Mobility

Article 3: The Importance of Measuring Stability

For rehabilitation to be effective, we must be ABLE TO MEASURE weight-shifting efficiency.

Article 4: Education, Coaching and Rehabilitation within the Posture-Balance Connection.

For us to maintain ourselves upright and move efficiently without pain, we must UNDERSTAND what weight-shifting is, and have the TOOLS, SKILLS and FITNESS to control it effectively.

 

WARNING: Balance training is not something to be taken lightly. Falling backwards can be catastrophic. When performing balance exercises, you need to seek the support of a professional who know what they are doing. If you are doing balance exercises, always make sure that you have something to grab onto whilst performing an exercise.

Please read our DISCLAIMER at the footer of this page.

 

 

 

PERFECT POSTURE ONLINE

Perfect Posture Online is our unique six week postural education system that teaches you how to stand, sit and move from the ground up. In this online course, we teach six principles that you can apply in your daily life to maintain a strong healthy spine. This course is included as part of our rehabilitation if you are taking one of our 12 week programs, or you can take it on its own. A popular option is to take it with a Perfect Posture Screen with additional specific exercises to work on.

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