Correcting American Posture
American Posture: Chronic Lower Back Pain, Forward Head Carriage, Weak Core
Mr. F. was a 26 year old male garden worker who attended the Practice with what we call ‘American Posture’.
This is a real patient within the Clinic, with untouched photographs. And yes, he was only 26 when he started care.
He was suffering with chronic low back pain (CLBP). He had been enduring spinal pain for some 10 years. The pain and bad posture were getting progressively worse. Indeed when he presented to the clinic he simply could not stand up straight due to the pain.
In terms of postural distortion; Mr. F. had what we affectionally call an ‘American Posture’. This is a common postural disturbance we see in the Clinic. And, as the name suggests it is a very common structural and postural problem in the USA. American posture, can come in different shapes and sizes. It is a driver of many lower back and neck conditions. As well chronic pain and disability.
American Posture in easy terms is the forward translation of the hips and pelvis (in the Z axis). The posterior translation of the shoulders (in the Z axis) relative to the hip. Then the forward translation of the head and neck relative to the shoulders.
Usually it is associated with the large roof over the tool shed. Increased weight due to poor diet, sedentary lifestyle and prolonged sitting. Weak core stability, rounded shoulders, decreased gluteal activation and tight hamstrings are all part of the package.
Think Homer Simpson and You are pretty much there in terms of postural analysis.
Here we show the stages of correction in Mr. F., along with a number of other positive changes, during a Corrective Care Program.
One of the key features of American Posture is the forward head translation. The X-ray above shows the side view of the neck with a terrible anterior head translation (+TzH) of 81 mm. It should be zero!
A forward head translation of more than 30 mm usually results in chronic neck pain.
Interestingly, forward head translation of more than 30 mm also strongly correlates with chronic lower back pain and lumbar disc injuries. Remember in posture; what ever goes forward has to be held up by something. If your head and neck translate forward, it will be your shoulders or lower back having to work very hard to hold them up.
Yes, the neck and the lower back are connected.
After his Corrective Care Programs, his translation had reduced to 35 mm. While not perfect, this is a great result.
Remember it is about Progress – Not Perfection.
Each degree of curve change, or few millimetres of decreased translation is clinically significant. Changes in curves and improved posture makes a big difference in how you feel and will usually result in decreased pain.
One of the most notable features of this case is the ‘hunching’ of the mid back. As the patient lamented when he began care; ‘it looks terrible’.
Initially the curve within the mid back was 64 degrees. Normal is 44 degrees. Now, the increase in thoracic curvature is a big deal – and significantly loads the joints structures of the spine and makes you prone to Osteoporotic fractures.
However, of bigger concern is the translation. The normal value is 0 mm. That is; your shoulders and thoracic spine should line up above your pelvis. For this patient the translation is 78 mm.
Prior to care the patient had nearly 160 mm of forward translation in the mid back and neck. This is extraordinary in terms of not only positioning, but the pain that it causes.
After Corrective Chiropractic Care; involving specific adjustments, traction and mirror image exercises, the kyphosis decreased to 50 degrees and the translation to 31 mm. Still not fantastic – but it is about progress not perfection. He still has work to do to achieve optimal function.
As with all patients we recommend eating like a ‘Meat Eating Celiac Vegetarian’. The reduction of grains – in particular wheat – really does make a huge difference to inflammation, acidity, blood sugar, ‘brain fog’, energy levels and your overall health. And…. you will usually drop body fat, or normalise your weight as well.
Our eating programs are not necessarily about weight loss. They are about reducing inflammatory loads. The weight loss tends to take care of itself. It is really about feeding yourself quality foods and good sources of nutrition.
Lose the grains. Lose the Inflammation. Lose the belly. Check the Nutrition Section of the site for more detail.
He Was Only 26. What Would Have Looked Like at 36, 46 or 56?
Would he have made 66? Don’t know? It is difficult to say.
What would the quality of life look like in his 60’s without Corrective Care? Again difficult to say, but it is a sobering thought.
Research shows that loss of disc height correlates with loss of life span. You simply cannot live effectively, or comfortably, hunched over like an old man when you are in your twenties. Let alone later in life.
Unfortunately posture rarely gets better by itself. You have to do something to correct it. Evidence shows that exercises alone, or ‘trying to stand up straight’ does not work. Indeed, if you are out of correct alignment, standing up straight can just be plain uncomfortable.
Perhaps it is time for a Spinal Check and Evaluation? What will your posture look like as you age?
Are You Ready to Feel Great Again?
This Is Not a Testimonial.
Disclaimer: This is a Case Study of a real patient who attended the Practice.
As part of the Chiropractic BioPhysics Advanced Training Protocols, we will be collecting and writing up case studies of patients within the Practice. It is the only way to show the very real and measurable changes we see in patients under care.
Once sufficient case studies have been acquired, and in submission through CBP Seminars advanced training, we will look to publish these studies in peer reviewed journals where appropriate.
The Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) forbids the use of testimonials in Australia. This is not a testimonial. There is no guarantee of outcome in treating complex neurological and spinal conditions such as those presented in the Case Study.
In keeping with the regulations of the Authority, we provide this case for your interest as an example of the type of patient we regularly assist within the Clinics.
If you like this article be sure to visit the Spinal Centre website at www.thespinalcentre.com.au and view more content by Dr. Hooper and the Spinal Rehabilitation Team.
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