A superior solution to any problem is simple, wide ranging and requires minimal effort.
I remember when four of us were trying to move a very heavy weight machine with four stations, pulleys, weight stacks and a heavy frame from the second floor to our new first-floor office. The moving crew included me, having recently had a baby, my retired father, my husband, and one of the guys from the office who was a regular at a body-building gym.
My father, a rather small man, told the body builder that you would have to use your brains and not your brawn to move this heavy piece of equipment. He suggested removing all the weight stacks and then, using two pieces of cardboard placed under the frame, we could slide the frame along a moveable “track” created by the sliding cardboard pieces.
I was responsible for moving the cardboard ahead of the frame while the three guys pushed the heavy frame easily on this almost frictionless track.
So what does that have to do with tingling in the fingers, shoulder pain and jaw problems? Believe it or not, these seemingly unrelated conditions have a common, simple and inexpensive solution. Some doctors feel that it can alleviate 80% of the symptoms.
It does require discipline and changing your habits. You have to put some effort into it, not a lot, but frequently. Sitting or standing with your head balanced on top of your spine is all that is required.
From a side profile, your ears should be lined up with your shoulders, your shoulders lined up with your hips and your hips lined up with your ankles. It’s the posture of tall, elegant, and youthful appearing people.
Sitting posture should also reflect this aligned head, shoulder and hip positioning. Feet should be flat so that weight is evenly distributed on both sit bones, and the bones of the spine and head are arranged so that no muscle action is required to keep the body in an upright position. All the bones are stacked like building blocks in a very stable arrangement.
You can have someone push downward on the top of your head and if you are stacked in this stable position, there will be no movement in the neck.
The jaw is held in a sling of muscles and is very dependent upon the head position. When sitting or standing in this upright position, your bite is in a more neutral position so there is an even force along all the teeth. The more forward the head, the more force goes on the back teeth, causing abnormal pressure on your jaw joints.
Good posture is all about economy and efficiency of energy expenditure and less wear and tear on the body. Make your body last as long as it can with daily attention to your posture.
Sheila Yonemoto, P.T., has been a physical therapist for more than 30 years, specializing in integrative manual therapy, utilizing a holistic approach. She can be reached at Yonemoto Physical Therapy, 55 S. Raymond Ave., Suite 100, Alhambra, CA 91801. Sheila also offers a qigong “Chinese energy” exercise class. Your first class is free. Call (626) 576-0591 for more information or visit www.yonemoto.com.