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The tilt and lean concern for standing, walking and balance

August 14, 2016

How many of you have see older folks, and not just older seniors but aging boomers as well, who have a forward lean in their stance.

For that matter, how many of you have seen folks who have a backward lean to their stance.

On the topic of leans, there is also associated pushing forward of the hips to offset the upper body leaning.

Oh yeah, let’s not forget about the sideways tilt, or listing if you like that term better.

In many cases these stances are also accompanied by an head tilt causing the whole stance, posture and skeletal system to run out of wack.

pat_stance_alignmentAs a perfect example, check out the photo of a woman I have been working with to improve her standing and walking balance.

In the photo you should be able to see the woman leaning forward in the beginning of a “face plant” position.  She also had the habit of looking down at the floor which added more forward weight and unbalance to her walk.

She found it interesting that she is able to stand up straighter and when she does her low back pain diminishes.  Initially she was unaware of how much she was leaning, both forward and to the side.  Once I made her aware she began to practice every day to correct it, yet  she has found that her habit of leaning forward is very hard to break.

She asked, why do I continue to lean forward when I found it hurts less when I stand up straight?  She knows what works yet the forward lean hard to stop.  I told her, many years of doing will take a few months of constant attention and practice to begin to undo the bad habit.

What is so bad about the lean?

The lean, whether forward or back, and the sideways tilt, or list, all contribute to the torso pulling your into an unbalanced stance.  

Balance is weight running in a straight line from the top of your head, through your neck, down your spine, through your legs to the floor. The more upright you are the more gravity works to keep you upright as long as your center is over your supporting legs (or leg).

When you have a lean it throws your balance off when taking a step or even simply shifting and turning to one side. The less balance a person has the more prone to falls they become. This down-slide  of loss of balance begins in a persons late 40’s to early 50’s and ramps up quickly as they age.

It is well  documented that falls to people in their 70’s and above lead to fractures which in a high percentage of cases a rapid demise. A quick search of the internet will bear this out.

So what do they do?

Mind- body awareness programs such as Tai Chi, Qigong  and yoga are great for helping to correct many balance and posture issues that are habit and not necessarily caused by medical or neurological issues.

These programs are beneficial to those with motor control maladies like Parkinson’s, MS and so on. They are without a doubt worth the effort to see how much assistance they can give in correcting and / or improving the situations.







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