Did you know that when your body is aligned, you can basically draw a relatively straight line from your head down to your shoulders and back, hips, knees, and feet?
Staying aligned, however, is not that easy. Gravity, stress, a lack of exercise—all of these factors tug our shoulders forward, compress our spine, weaken our core, and generally compromise our alignment throughout the day. Ultimately, this lack of alignment can cause bad posture, and eventually, serious pain or discomfort.
Although it may be tempting to just pop an aspirin and get on with your day, correcting the misalignment in your body can help get to the root of the problem. Below we list some suggestions that could help you.
As always, it’s important you do your own research and speak with a doctor or other health professional before making any health changes. Working with a professional who can listen to your specific symptoms is the safest way to correct misalignment in your body.
How Does the Body Get Misaligned?
If the body is supposed to work together so well, how does it get misaligned in the first place? Genetics or previous health conditions could be the cause. Aside from that, here are a few culprits:
- Inactivity: If you aren’t regularly moving your body, you may experience muscle atrophy that causes you a lot of pain over time. This atrophy could reduce the protection your muscles provide your bones, joints, and other body parts. Inactivity can also lead to changes in your nervous system. If you don’t use it, you’ll lose it.
- Poor ergonomics: Many businesses are putting more and more of a focus on proper ergonomics for their employees at the workplace, addressing back problems, neck problems, tendonitis, carpal tunnel syndrome, and other possible consequences of a work setting that doesn’t lend itself to proper posture and alignment.
- Repetitive motion: Some repetitive motion can lead to musculoskeletal disorders (MSD). These injuries to muscles, nerves, tendons, joints, cartilage, or spinal discs result from repetitive physical motions. If your job requires you to do repetitive tasks—anything from lifting heavy objects to clicking a mouse—you could sustain injuries that result in MSD.
- Stress: While physical stress can clearly cause injury, emotional stress also can take its toll on your posture and alignment: When the body is stressed, muscles tense up almost as a reflex to guard against injury and pain, putting tension on your spine.
How to Tell if You’re Misaligned
If you have chronic pain, misalignment may be a culprit. Remember though, pain is merely the signal something is wrong, not the cause of it. If you have pain in any muscles, joints, or other parts of your body, observe when and where this pain is at its worst. If pain is the signal something is wrong, you should then ask yourself what it might be telling you.
You can also determine whether you’re misaligned by examining your posture and checking for imbalances in your body. Do you have good or poor posture? Is your posture better when you’re standing than when you’re sitting at your desk?
A chiropractor will likely be able to identify skeletal misalignment. This type of misalignment might decrease your range of motion, cause additional pain, and decrease your quality of life.
Atrophied muscles may also be an indication of misalignment in your body. If you’ve ever broken a bone or had to stay off of a limb for a while, you’ve likely experienced the shrinking of your muscles from lack of use.
How to Realign Your Body
Western and Eastern medicine systems approach misalignment differently. Western medical practitioners often treat misalignment in the body by trying to control the symptoms rather than addressing the root of the issue. They may prescribe painkillers or recommend a back brace, surgeries, or “rest.”
However, if they fail to address and fix the cause of your symptoms, these solutions will only numb your pain for a while. This is where holistic Eastern medical practitioners can be helpful and, in recent years, these practitioners have begun to greatly influence the Western approach to pain.
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- Stretching for alignment: You can seek out specific stretches that are meant to help align your body. This strategy of stretching will help you ensure every part of your body is cohesive with every other part of your body.
- Yoga: Yoga, a popular practice which originated in India over 5000 years ago is a great way to realign your body. You can use yoga to engage with your entire skeletal system, stretch and strengthen your muscles and joints, and massage your internal organs, glands, and nerves.
- Strength training: Weight training is a great way to strengthen the muscles that protect every other part of your body. When your stabilizer muscles are strengthened, they can help prevent accidents and injury and even out any misalignments on either side of your body.
And, most importantly:
- Correct the cause: If you don’t get to the root cause of why you’re in pain, whether it’s your office chair, bad shoes, or your routine, you won’t be able to fix the misalignment in your body.
The Bottom Line
Typically, misalignment in your body doesn’t happen overnight. It’s often the result of poor habits or practices that gradually cause injury over time and with repetition. Be sure you are checking in with your body and practice realignment often.
Looking to create healthier habits? An Arootah coach can support you in making positive changes by identifying your challenges and helping you address them through self-accountability.
What steps will you take to realign your body? Tell us in the comments!