How to Have Optimal Postural Alignment for Optimal Health

A few weeks ago, we were in the market for a new-to-us vehicle. We made a checklist of things to look for when we went to do a test-drive. For me, of course, the smell and cleanliness were important, as was how smooth the ride was.

 

We were also looking for things like oil splatters, rust, tire tread, and alignment.

 

The tires were new, so we weren’t able to see a wear pattern, but we did take note of how smooth (or bumpy) the ride was. If it pulled to one side. If the steering wheel was centered when we were going straight.

 

I think we can all agree that a well-maintained, well-aligned vehicle will work better, ride more smoothly, and last longer than one in which things are even just a little bit “off.”

 

For our bodies, it is much the same. We were designed to be in perfect alignment. All systems running smoothly and complementing each other.

 

In fact we were made in God’s image. God, being the one true God. The eternal God. We were built to last. Forever.

 

But then sin messed up the alignment. Of our bodies. Our lives. Our future.

 

We were designed to work in optimal alignment. Alignment of our bones, muscles, tendons, ligaments, blood vessels, lymph system, etc. When we are not moving in optimal alignment, there may be some or many kinks in the system(s).

 

Now the body is super adaptable. So for awhile, this might not seem to be a problem. But eventually an alignment problem in the feet can look like a bad ankle. Or knee. Or hip. Or jaw? Remember, our body parts all affect one another.

 

And just what is this “postural alignment” you ask? Here are the basics …

 

Optimal Alignment Points for Best Health

From the side, the skeleton is stacked vertically: external auditory meatus (“ear hole”), over acromion process (shoulder) over greater trochanter (hip) over middle axis of the knee joint over lateral malleolus (ankle).

 

In that position, the bottom of the ribs should be vertically in line with the anterior superior iliac spine (the two bones on either side of the front of the pelvis) and pubic symphysis (pubic bone). This pic doesn’t portray it well, but that would also mean that the sternum (breastbone) would be vertical and directly in line with the pubic bone. The sacrum is also in nutation, which means it is “untucked.”

 

Optimal Alignment Points for Best Health

 

From the front the skeleton is also stacked vertically. The legs are pelvic width apart which means that the midpoint between the ankles is directly below (vertical line) the ASIS (pelvic bones).

Postural alignment points for feet

The feet should be pointing straight forward. Basically a vertical line through the point at the midline of the ankle should pass through the middle of the foot as well. Another way of looking at it is to line up the outer edge of the foot (the point under the ankle and the fifth metatarsal head aka the outer edge of the pinkie toe knuckle).

 

Note I said the feet, not the toes should be straight. The toes will aim forward no matter where your feet are.

 

So if you’ve been walking with your feet turned out, your toes are likely pointing forward. Once you correct your feet to pointing straight ahead, you may look pigeon-toed. But take heart! The toes will adapt to your new position.

 

In looking back through my physical therapy books, these posture points date back to at least 1983. But really, this dates back to the beginning of man. We were made in perfect alignment in the image of God, our Father. It’s written in our DNA.

 

Could you use an alignment?

I, for one, am working on my postural alignment as I have been molded into the shape of a school desk. Plus I learned to walk from my parents who learned to walk from their parents who learned to walk from their parents … In other words, I didn’t learn to walk from God, so my gait pattern isn’t perfect. I have one foot that wants to turn out more than the other. I also have an old left hip injury compliments of gymnastics in high school.

 

I could go on, but the point is, our bodies have a history. And living in an imperfect world means that we may have some things to undo in order to get back to the image God designed.

 

In perfect alignment with His plan.

 

“For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord. Plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11

 

 

 

 

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2 Comments

  • Sarah Beth

    I could definitely use an alignment! We have a really good chiropractor that stresses the importance of taking care of the bodies God gave us (unfortunately I cannot afford to sign up for the program of regular adjustments, but I hope to one day). I did go in for an initial check up where I discovered I am beginning to have a hunchback and my hips are uneven (and I’m only 22!!). I was regularly doing exercises and stretches to fix my posture, but then I got pregnant and my morning sickness took over my life for about 3 months (I’m still recovering). Thanks for sharing this informative post about how God created the human skeleton!

    • Angela

      Hi Sarah! Thanks for stopping by! Well the good news is, we really don’t need to depend on someone else to give us regular adjustments to maintain alignment. Like you said, by doing simple corrective exercises and stretches (as needed for our individual problem areas) PLUS (and most importantly) being mindful of how we use our bodies on a daily basis, we can maintain great alignment, be strong, and healthy without spending a lot of money.

      Take heart! Most everyone has a disguised hunchback which can be addressed by keeping the ribcage stacked over the pelvis (see post). And as far as uneven hips, that is also likely due to asymmetric habits like standing on one foot more than the other, one foot turned out more than the other, sleeping on the same side all the time, etc. If the muscles are balanced, the frame will balance out as well.

      Many blessings to you and congratulations on your pregnancy!

      P.S. With the added loads of pregnancy, our imperfections/imbalances often come to the forefront. It’s as good a time as any to work on getting into alignment (actively through exercise, walking, etc.) to be better able to support our own bodies through the process. Pregnancy does not automatically equal pain. It just highlights the areas that were already imbalanced.

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