Body Language…Posture correlates with pain.
How a client stands, walks, sits or even lays on the table offers strategic clues to the experienced eye. In an instant the trained therapist can more efficiently help someone be pain free through postural analysis.
This is the picture that keeps on giving, and this post explores analysis of posture in relation to neck pain, but if you want to read about how her posture may contribute to lower back tension, read here:
Obviously the model is using a classic posture to highlight her outfit. However, in contorting herself to make that posture we have an individual whose upper body is not quite centered over her lower body. It seems to point to weak trunk and hip muscles on the right side of the body and same group being tight on her left. This sets off an imbalance that travels up the spine and puts pressure on the neck. She might even have scoliosis but now I am getting technical.
More than likely, this is a right handed person due to the larger shoulder (trapezius muscle) development on that side of her body. (Usually our “handed” side is stronger and heavier.) Notice that her chin is tilted to the left. That means the front of her neck on the left is tight. This might be in reaction to the tight right shoulder. An over developed shoulder muscle will put stress on the entire neck and likely the tendons where the neck and head bones meet are very tense in this case. These tiny tendons at the base of the skull will tighten up in an attempt to stabilize this important area where so many of our nerves and the fluids that feed our brain flow.
What does this mean from a bodywork perspective? Before even talking to this person, I know she will complain of neck pain. What I don’t know is how she will react to touch, but I do know it will go in one of two directions. She will either be incredibly sensitive in the front of her neck and in the tendons at the base of the skull and need a tender touch, or the muscles have become so tight and resistant with time that she will crave incredibly deep pressure. It just depends on how her unique nervous system interacts with the congestion that has developed in her tissues.
What can she do?
Number one: Strengthen her core through things like dance, pilates, yoga, strength training and zumba.
Get bodywork from an expert massage therapist. A lot of it. She needs to do this before her spine compresses, causes nerve damage and irreparable pain. Chiropractic and Acupuncture can also be helpful.
How does your posture affect you? Tell us about it in comments below.