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Sit Up Straight Or Not?

Doctor's Blog

Sit Up Straight Or Not?

Stop me if you’ve heard this before: Sit up straight. Perhaps it was your grandmother or mother giving you this instruction. The instruction was intended to help you; it was given out of kindness… and, as it turns out, misinformation. These conventional instructions are often spoken not just by grandmothers but also by others giving advice relative to posture, even professionals. Are you slumping your shoulders? Stand up straight. Are you slouching when you’re sitting? Sit up straight. Are you favoring one side? Strengthen the other side.

I know I have heard this advice. I’ve heard this in all different manners, from all kinds of practitioners over the last twenty years as I have been taking care of people in Boulder, Colorado at the Network Family Wellness Center.

And the thing is, it’s always quite frustrating to hear because it’s actually very poor advice.

Yes, anatomically the body is at its most efficient when it is held in the proper form. However, there’s a lesson I learned when I was very young: You never tear down a fence until you know why it is there. The fact is that the way a person holds their body is really a reflection of their life. As Carolyn Myss said, “Your biography becomes your biology.” Simply telling someone whose head is projected several inches forward to stand up straight is not the best advice. Telling someone who slouches their shoulders and tucks their tail forward to sit up straight or stand differently or to strengthen a certain area is really not effective.

Generally, this advice involves giving people some extra exercises or physical instructions to follow that they inevitably don’t do for long. At best, the person may attempt to follow these recommendations for a few days or even just a few hours and then will get frustrated, tired, and lose steam. At worst, these instructions can cause pain and can drive the underlying problem deeper into the system. That is because there have been shifts in the nervous system that are causing the body to change its structure.

These neural-behavior patterns have developed over time and have changed the perceptions the person has of the world around them and of their body itself.  As a result, they move their body differently and stand differently than the anatomical ideal. The course of action is not to try to mimic an anatomical ideal but to actually deal with the underlying concern. It is best to assess what is going on with the spinal structure and the neural-behavior to see how they have been altered. Are there changes or obstructions in the system that have altered how this person’s body is holding itself? What has happened to them in their life that has led them to this place?

Our job is to find out how to keep people from staying stuck or going backward. We work to help our clients adapt to the life that they have ahead of them so they can thrive with what they have going on now and in the future. That starts with an assessment of the neuro-spinal system. That starts with finding out why the fence is there before tearing it down. If you would like a complimentary consultation to see how we might be able to help you enjoy life more, please call us today.

By networkwellnesscentersJuly 21, 2017

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