Try this experiment. Close your eyes and try and touch your index fingers above your head, I’ll wait.
How did you go? Did fingertip touch fingertip or did you miss? This is proprioception in a nutshell, your body knowing where it is in space (not literally outer space). When you move, sensory nerves tell your brain what is moving and where it’s moving. While this is happening, motor nerves are creating the movement and adjusting depending on where you are at with your movement. This is happening all the time, constantly.
Think of how hard it would be to walk if you didn’t know where your feet were….
MY PERSONAL EXPERIENCE
Many years ago, I was told that I had an anterior tilt in my pelvis, which basically means the front of my pelvis is lower than the back, which can also cause a more curvature in the low back, which is bad, or can be.
The typical remedy for this that a personal trainer will prescribe stretching and strengthening certain muscles and muscle groups. Don’t get me wrong, this will definitely help, however I didn’t do this as I was too inconsistent and don’t like wasting a lot of time stretching…sssshhh.
Instead, I constantly thought about my posture, specifically my pelvis, and was always focusing on staying neutral when standing, walking or performing other tasks. And now it’s neutral and I have better awareness of my body!
Here are a few examples of common postural dysfunctions and how you can remedy them.
I mentioned anterior tilt above, and you can also have posterior or lateral tilt (left higher than right for example), however anterior is usually more common.
Remedy: Maintain a neutral pelvis as often as you can.
Stop where you are right now and look around (if there are other people around), and see if anyone looks like the picture on the right. This is another common condition where we fall into a bad posture, and a lot of people just can’t sense (proprioception) that they are in a bad position.
Remedy: Shoulders back and down, palms facing forward.
This is also illustrated in the photo above where the head ‘pokes’ forward. We do this all the time, in the car, at work in the office, and lying in bed on your back and you have too many pillows under your head.
Remedy: Double chin, it’s not pleasant so maybe do it when people aren’t around if you’re worried of what they’ll think!
Go for a walk and look at your feet, where do your toes point? Forward? Or do they point out or in? They may even be different to one another. A lot of people walk like a duck and even some like a pigeon. Good news, it’s easy to fix! Unless you have an injury or genetic defect.
Remedy: Point your toes forward when you walk. This was another issue I had which I corrected by just thinking about it.
MIND OVER MATTER
A lot of people underestimate the power of their mind and what it can do. Here are some simple steps to take control:
- Know what the problem is (see a physio, osteo, chiro or GP for an assessment, and it’s usually FREE)
- Learn and FEEL what is correct and neutral
- Use your grey matter to constantly stay in that correct position