Core Health Series – Part 3: Proper Posture

A few years ago I began having running injuries left and right. I didn’t understand it. I was in good shape. I was smart about how much and how far I ran. I did HIIT workouts or light strength training. I tried to cross-train. I did yoga. So why in the world was I getting injured?

Here Come the Injuries

Turns out my posture was horrid. And one alteration here led to an over-worked part there. And with time that over-worked part needed help and would stress another part, and another, and another. Until I was riddled with seemingly small injuries that wouldn’t let up. So much so I had to stop running in 2011. 

My posture wasn’t pointed out as the issue specifically at that time. So my poor form continued. I would get back into running just to get injured and stop. Finally in 2019 a wise PT figured it out and was straight with me.

Anterior Tilted Pelvis

My injury seemed to be because I had no glutes. What, how do I have no glutes? Turns out I had something called an anterior tilted pelvis. This deactivated the back side of my body and put tons of stress on the front side (like my quads, which were injured at that time). It also caused me to hyper-extend my knees (because my butt was pushed out my leg had go further to land under my body). Fast forward 6 months and this would lead to my next injury. I had no idea my posture was causing so much trouble.

When I thought over the previous 5 years, I remembered I had intermittently developed some low-back pain I’d never had before. At the time I didn’t think much of it. It seemed strange since I was otherwise healthy. I now can see how lifting 20+ lb every day all day long was straining my low back because my posture putting my back at risk. 

Forward Head Position

During all of this I also noticed my back would go numb just on one side. It started after my daughter (2nd child) was born. Nursing flared it up. Turns out a few ribs were out of place and my shoulders were arched forward. Imagine the posture you see when someone is on a cell phone. As I read more about this I learned that many people have this same posture for their upper body because of how much time we spend on computers and phone. This position is called Forward Head Position

Next Steps

I am not a posture expert (and won’t pretend to be one). But there are TONS of resources online to check your posture. I’d encourage all of you to look in the mirror and see if you notice either of these:

  1. Your pelvis is tilted so you butt stick out a bit. Try engaging your glutes and bringing your lower abdomen and belly button to your spine. Now look. Is it any different?
  2. Your shoulders are pushed forward and your back hunches a bit. Draw your shoulderblades down and back. Do you notice your chest sticks out just a hair more and you shoulders are further from your ears?

If you’re riddled with little injuries or low back pain, I’d recommend you see a physical therapist to have your posture evaluated. They can give you a list of exercises and stretches to try and realign your posture. For me, strengthening my core and glutes was HUGE for my pelvis. Stretching my shoulders with a yoga strap and strengthening my back has helped, but there is a long way to go still.

This is a long-game. You’ve probably been standing, sitting and walking this way for decades, so it’ll take some time to fix. I’ve been doing it for a year and still have work to do. I need to be intentional throughout the day to check myself and realign. Looking for some great reads? Check these posts out!

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