Are you in Alignment?
Optimum Alignment allows for one’s posture to be balanced in relation to their center of gravity.
This balance is achieved when all components of the kinetic Chain are optimal. This includes the combination and interrelation of:
1. Soft tissues (muscles, tendons, ligaments and fascia)
3. The nervous system
When the Kinetic Chain is optimally balanced, the neuromuscular system is able to recruit the correct muscles at the right time, with the appropriate amount of force, to perform functional tasks with the least amount of stress and energy.
There are two primary types of misalignments:
1. Static misalignments
Static misalignments may alter normal soft tissue length-tension relationships. Examples include joint hypomobility and myofascial trigger points (adhesions) that lead to or can be caused by poor static posture.
Once a joint has lost its normal biomechanics, the muscles that surround that joint may spasm and tighten in an attempt to minimize stress at the involved segment.
This can lead to altered muscle recruitment and faulty movement patterns in an attempt to prevent movement and further injury.
This process initiates the cumulative injury cycle, which perpetuates the dysfunction.
2. Dynamic misalignments
Dynamic misalignments are caused by static misalignments.
Upper Crossed Syndrome
Lower Crossed Syndrome
Lower extremity postural distortion
90% of the stimulation and nutrition to the brain is generated by the movement of the spine.”
— Dr. Roger Sperry, neurobiologist and Nobel Laureate in Medicine
“If it were not for chiropractic, I would not have won the gold medal.”
— Dan O'Brien, Olympic gold medal decathlete
In these misalignments, There is a chain reaction that evolves in which some muscles shorten and others weaken, in predictable patterns of imbalance.
The Upper Crossed Syndrome is characterized by: Rounded shoulders and a forward head posture. This pattern is common in individuals who sit a lot or who develop pattern overload from uni-dimensional exercise. Common injuries include: Neck pain, headaches, rotator cuff impingement, shoulder instability, biceps tendinitis, and thoracic outlet syndrome.
The Lower Crossed Syndrome is characterized by: Increased lumbar lordosis and an anterior pelvic tilt. Common injuries include: Hamstring strains, anterior knee pain, low back pain and hip pain.
The Lower extremity postural distortion is characterized by: Excessive foot pronation, genu valgus (knees caving in) and poor ankle flexibility. Common Injury Patterns include: Plantar fasciitis, foot pain, shin splints, anterior knee pain and low back pain.
How do you know if you are out of alignment?
Many people, at times, feel like they are “out of alignment” and seek chiropractic care.
As you can see from the definitions of static and dynamic misalignments, the solution is often more involved than a 5 minute (or less) visit that involves an adjustment, or joint mobilization.
A thorough assessment of alignment should include:
A movement screen that evaluates the major Kinetic Chain checkpoints (Foot and ankle, knee, lumbo-pelvic-hip complex, shoulder and cervical spine)
Motion palpation of the joints and spinal segments
Range of motion testing to evaluate over active muscles
Manual muscle testing to evaluate under active muscles
A comprehensive alignment should include addressing:
Soft tissue relationships (over and under active muscles) with manual lengthening and strengthening techniques
Joint dysfunction with mobilization or manipulation
Faulty movement patterns with corrective exercise
The foot bone’s connected to the neck bone
Each joint can influence the joints above below and as such, misalignment at one part of the Kinetic Chain should not be viewed in isolation, but in relation to the entire neuromusculoskeletal system.