In the last blog we discussed how posture is largely a function of how aroused your brain is. The higher level of activity your brain is currently working at the more upright and, generally, relaxed your posture is. There’s another important component to brain function though and that’s body awareness. Essentially, the ability to feel your body. The ability to execute different movements, the ability to relax, knowing where you are in space, are all functions of body awareness, and these can all be trained. Individuals with poor awareness of certain body parts will almost always have distorted muscle tone, distorted autonomic function and are more prone to experiencing chronic pain. Body awareness originally develops as a child, as you learn to move through your environment and against gravity. Injuries, immobility (casting), sedentary lifestyles, and others can all result in body awareness becoming distorted and now you just don’t have the mobility or control over that area that you used to. There’s excessive muscle tension there and lots of times you can’t even feel it.
Here’s an example of an individual I can guarantee has poor body awareness of his low back:
Despite laying down, his low back is extremely tense. It is most likely sweaty and has reduced blood flow (due to altered autonomic function), and he has no idea how to move his low back well or how to relax the muscles that control that area. Individuals with good body awareness can contract and relax muscles at will.
If this is you, and to a certain extent this applies to everybody, hope is not lost! Body awareness can be regained through chiropractic care and proper rehabilitation. Exploring your body, and your awareness of it, through movement (much like you did as an infant) can rapidly restore body awareness. You’ll be able to tune in to how that area is feeling, realize how you’re misusing it and have new ways of using your body that are pain free and easy.
Once again, we can see that there’s a very intimate relationship between brain function, muscle tone and posture. Use your brain well. Love it. Take care of it with diet, sleep and therapeutic movement, and it will get reflected as a body with excellent posture and that can move with ease and without pain.