Sayer Clinics London Specialist Rehabilitation Clinics in West London W8, West End W1 and Moorgate City EC2 are amongst the leading posture correction specialists in the UK.
Are you worried about your posture? Do you have scoliosis or a neck hump with neck, shoulder and back pain?
Contact Sayer Clinics for a free expert Posture Guru booklet on how to sit properly and how to stand properly
A simple concept of Posture Correction
"To understand the concept of structural fitness, it helps to think of the body as a building. The muscles provide the decoration and, to some extent, the strength, but if the structure itself isn’t strong enough, the building is in danger of collapse. Structural fitness is about achieving a harmonious balance between the weights, forces and tensions within the body. It may sound intellectual, but it is actually quite easy once you have taught your body how to do it. Then you will quickly begin to feel the beneficial effects of being well-assembled and well put-together: the various parts of your body working in harmony; the spine will be protected from strains; you’ll be more balanced and you’ll move better; and you will feel two inches taller, and three inches thinner.
Fundamentally, the body is a long, slim upright structure supporting the head, and it has two main hinges – one at the neck and one at the lower lumbar spine. This structure houses your nervous system and supports the cavity that holds all your organs.
A healthy person in terms of structural fitness, standing side-on to a mirror, will see their lumbar spine join the sacrum in the lower back with a gentle, gradual curve. The pelvis is tilted upright, so that it is perpendicular, and the centre of gravity between the hips (the point where the horizontal line between the tip of the coccyx and the tip of the pubis is crossed by the plumb line from head to foot), is in the correct position. The abdominal organs rest in the pelvic basin, while the upper torso and the head are balanced on top of the pelvis, via the spinal column. When this structure is perfectly aligned within a lean body we have a feeling of wellbeing, of being well-assembled, and are able to enjoy a full range of natural movement.
If you’re hyper-fit, with a body lovingly constructed from hours of patient work in the gym, then no doubt you’ll have impressive deltoids, massive pectorals, and a six-pack stomach you could play tunes on. But take another look…If those pecs pull your shoulders forward, you’ll end up looking like Quasimodo. As for those upper abdominals, the pain they gave you when you were building them is nothing compare to the pain they’ll give you later. This is because as they shorten they pull a kink in the spine at its most vulnerable point, where the gentle curve of the lower back should flow smoothly into the reverse curve of the bottom. Chiropractors know this as the L5/S1 junction.
And don’t think you’ll escape this fate just because you’re a person whose idea of a six-pack is drinking one with bangers and mash. You won’t suffer the ill effects of being muscle-bound, but a side-on glance in the mirror will speak 1,000 unkind words. Sucking in your stomach will work for as long as you do it but this only shoves the strain further up your back.
To achieve whole-body alignment, you have to start at the body’s centre of gravity and the point where all balance and alignment ultimately come from: the perineum.
Think of the muscles here as forming a ”figure 8”. The centre point joining the two loops is the perineum. If you raise yourself up from the centre, tilting the pelvic basin neither one way nor the other, not only will your protruding gut problem disappear but also the perfect equilibrium you’ve established will propagate itself upwards and downwards throughout the rest of your body. You will find it easy to develop relaxed, open shoulders. You will experience a full range of natural, unforced movement and a new sense of wellbeing. No aches, no pains, no problems.
To find out what the perineum does and why is it so important, take a look at the guts. There’s a lot of them, and they mostly just flop about inside the pelvis. At the back they can’t fall out because there are bones in the way, but towards the front there’s nothing holding them in but a bit of neglected muscle. Therefore, if your bad posture tilts the pelvis down and forwards, then your guts will protrude. Think of putting several pounds of raw liver into a wok and tilting it, and you’ll get the general idea.
Finding your centre is only part of the story: you need to keep it. You’ll have a new bit of you to work out, especially that neglected lower abdomen. Most importantly you have to train yourself and your body to recognize when you’re in balance and when you’re not.
If your spine is already locking up in places, or you have twinges you think you shouldn’t be having, a diagnosis and a course of treatment, by a chiropractor (or osteopath), is essential. A specialist spinal manipulator can help unlock areas of stiffness and immobility, sort out excessive spinal curvature, and deal with any other structural problems. For instance if you have one leg slightly shorter than the other, the whole body gets involved in trying to compensate for the problem and a measured heel-lift can prove dramatically beneficial.
What is perfect posture?
Sayer Clinics highly trained and registered chiropractors and physical therapists in London specialise in achieving Optimal Posture ... the state of muscular and skeletal balance that protects the supporting structures of the body against injury or progressive deformity, whether at work or rest.
Optimal posture involves joint position and mobility to provide minimum stress on the joints while poor posture increases joint stress and damages discs and surrounding tissues.
Exercises based on the Pilates method are ideal for regaining alignment and good posture. Pilates-based exercises require the supervision of a skilled practitioner who can watch how your body is responding and adjust the programme accordingly. Once you have been trained properly in them, incorporate them into your workout.
Posture also involves the chain-link concept of body mechanics where knee pain or headaches can arise from low back joint disorders like scoliosis, spondylosis or spondlolisthesis, all of which are specifically aggravated by poor abdominal core stability and pelvic and lumbar joint arthrosis and stiffness.
The effects of posture are far reaching, involving your psychology and mood as well as physical energy, respiratory, digestive and musculoskeletal systems."
Sayer Clinic chiropractors and physical therapists are acknowledged experts in the diagnosis of Scoliosis and Scoliosis related musculoskeletal problems and pain syndromes. We have succeeded in helping patients for more than 30 years with our long experience with hands-on and specific physical body manipulation, structural and postural rehabilitation and body fascia retraining.
HELLO! Magazine Online visited Michael Durtnall, the leading London Chiropractor and award-winning Posture Guru of Sayer London Back and Neck Pain Clinics, who showed us exactly how to sit, stand and walk.
Most of us have office jobs that entail sitting down in front of a computer for most of the day, leading inevitably to poor posture. But a few simple tips can help you correct your posture and teach you how to hold yourself properly.
"Movement is the key to maintain good health – break up your working day with lots of short walks and standing to work using a sit-stand desk" says Michael.
How to sit:
"We're commonly told to sit with our backs against the chair, feet flat in front and with the top of the computer screen at eyelevel – but this is totally wrong and leads to a lot of pain and discomfort later on in life," he says.
Instead, Michael advises the following intelligent and logical way to sit without neck and shoulder strain. It takes a little getting used to and it is best if an expert at Sayer Clinics shows you exactly how to do it and monitors you until you've got it perfectly - then it'll work longterm for many hours a day without leading to neck degeneration, disc problems and headaches.
1. Sit in a chair that tilts well forwards or use an 11-13° seat wedge so you can sit with your feet tucked under the chair. Keep your knees well below your hips with most of your weight on the back of your thighs
2. Sit with your torso tilted slightly forwards and away from the seat-back with your stomach touching the desk – or as close as possible.
3. Raise your screen so the centre is at your eyelevel and the screen is at your focal distance.
4. Place your arms forwards on the desk where it feels comfortable and bring the keyboard to wherever your hands fall. Everything should come to you, rather than tense your shoulders if your keyboard is too close to you.
5. Keep your shoulders relaxed, down and slightly forwards and your abdominal muscles activated
6. Keep your chest up, and chin in.
Additional tip: take phone calls standing up. Take every opportunity to stand up and take a break from sitting at your computer.
How to stand:
"Almost everybody stands with most of their weight on their heels, leaning backwards, dropping their chest, shoulders up and back and head jutting upwards and forwards like a vulture " says Michael, "but your weight should be far more forward with 50/50 balance between heels and the balls of your feet." Nearly everybody who sits all day will stand so far back on the heels that they need special exercises to regain forward balance, exercising repeatedly for a few seconds every 20 minutes all day for about 4 to 6 weeks to break the pattern. Backwards leaning ultimately compresses the lower discs in your spine forcing you to counterbalance with your neck and chin jutting forwards and upwards which damages the joints on your neck - You need to change this as soon as possible!
Once you can see and feel the newly rebalanced posture and then keep practising it for about six weeks - you finally get it for life! It takes a lot of learning and constant readjustment from our practitioners for you to understand the drastic change in balance and to make it permanent.
1. Stand with your feet hip-width apart with knees slightly bent, tuck your tail down, scoop your lower abdomen in towards your spine and bow slightly forwards.
2. Raise your chest and keep your chin in
3. Relax your shoulder – don't pull them back, as is commonly and wrongly advised – so your head and neck align comfortably with your shoulders without muscle strain
4. Stand with your weight forward on the balls of your feet, as if ready to attack.
5. Stand to work for at least 80% of every hour
How to walk:
"Walking well is easy," says Michael. "Walk with your chest up and an imaginary parachute at the back of your head – look at the horizon, not the ground! And remember to keep your shoulders relaxed and down, not up and back."
Sayer Clinics boasts leading London chiropractors, physical therapists, acupuncturists and massage therapists who help to retrain your posture gradually over a month or two.
London's leading Scoliosis & spinal curvature diagnosis clinics.
Chiropractic and physiotherapy cannot cure idiopathic scoliosis.
However, Sayer Clinics' hands-on physical therapy and chiropractic treatment for alleviation of pain in spinal curvature, adolescent scoliosis and adult scoliosis has shown good outomes. We endeavour to help minimise progression of spinal curvatures, improve functional flexibility and symmetrically rebalance the strength of your spine.
For over 30 years we have helped many patients to regain forward weight-bearing, to reduce lateral curvature, to level leg-length difference and to achieve flexibility and spinal stability in order to relieve their pain.
The medical approach to scoliosis is to prescribe analgesics for scoliosis pain, to watch and wait and in severe cases to surgically fuse the spine with an implanted extendable surgical rod which can be externally activated at intervals using a magnetic field to lengthen the rod as the child grows, maintaining straightening and preventing scoliosis progression of advanced and severe curvature.
It is imperative to minimise early spinal curvatures as soon as possible in adolescence or young adulthood before progression of curvature, poor posture, sedentary inactivity and weight-gain act to increase and accelerate spinal vertebral misalignment and degeneration. This occurs when joints slip sideways on each other with calcification, osteophysosis (extra bone growth), severe joint rotation and forwards slippage - resulting in spinal claudication (narrowing of spinal canal), spinal stenosis (compression or clamping) and spinal nerve-root compressions. Resulting nerve pressure on the spinal nerves at the cauda equina compromises nerve function with cramping, weakness and loss of sensation in the pelvis and legs. Vascular arterial claudication or narrowing typically starts after a particular duration of exercise or walking and is rapidly, but temporarily, banished by stopping exercise or walking.
Neurogenic claudication is eased by sitting or stooping but aggravated by standing up straight and is typical of lumbar stenosis where the nerve root canals narrow in the lower back at worn and narrowed disc spaces between vertebrae and where spinal ligaments have calcified and thickened. Pain is worsened where the nerves are compressed as they exit the spine to supply the pelvis and legs. Intervertebral discs dehydrate and narrow through trauma or repetitive overuse of exercise weights or ill-advised, excessive physical training or sport and can gradually compress nerve-roots.
Sayer Clinics diagnose scoliosis and nerve pain.
If you would like to book online to see our specialists at Sayer Clinics, we will take your medical history, examine you physically and posturally. (If warranted and if indicated we can take standing, weight-bearing, digital computerised x-rays with clarity and precise detail.) Through these methods we are able to pinpoint early signs of :
- joint degeneration,
- narrowed discs,
- development of scoliosis,
- rotated joints or
- forward swayback lumbar lordosis,
- kyphotic thoracic curvature or
- early signs of posture-related excess cervical neck curvature and joint degeneration developing in the spine.
Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis (AIS) accounts for most scoliosis cases, with many painless and asymptomatic, so that it often remains undiagnosed until noticed by chance on a beach holiday or when the spine degenerates further over several years and starts to cause pain.
When a scoliosis starts to develop the spinal muscles are initially able to compensate. Research shows that the body is trying to minimise energy-use by minimising the curvature, keeping it as close to the midline as possible - that is why it curves and rotates compensating left then right then left all the way up the spine. This increasingly creates potential nerve compression areas in the neck at C5/6 with pain referred to neck, shoulder and arm, from the mid-thoracic spine with pain radiating between the shoulder blades and into the ribs and chest and from the lumbosacral spine at L4/5 and L5/S1 discs with sciatica into the legs. Pelvic torsion and sacroiliac joint subluxation and asymmetric pelvic muscle spasms may lead to pudendal neuralgia and pudendal nerve entrapment with referred pelvic pain.
Degenerative Scoliosis or Adult Onset Scoliosis occurs commonly, from our observations, with undiagnosed leg-length-discrepancy from a few millimetres up to rarely several centimetres which affects the pelvic level, causing pelvic obliquity with a resultant compensatory scoliosis. Over years, especially with poor posture, this may worsen to a point where it causes neurological symptoms from nerve compression.
Rapid Onset leg-length difference and compensatory scoliosis is sometimes seen following total knee or total hip replacement (THR) surgery if the surgeon is not aware of the need to assess the patient with standing weight-bearing X-rays in order to maintain a previous leg-length difference - a 1cm change in leg-length post-operatively means that an elderly patient who is unable to compensate due to disc and facet joint generation may suffer long-term pain unless it is properly diagnosed and treated with a precise shoe-raise to regain the previous level.
Adult Scoliosis Progression
Rapid Scoliosis Progression potentially accelerates at puberty, pregnancy and at the menopause linked with powerful changes in hormonal status in women and changes in physical activity or increased swayback posture as the pregnancy progresses. Interestingly, few women revert back to anywhere near good posture after their pregnancy without help to permanently re-train their forward balance.
Movement Affects Spinal Structure.
Studies have shown that abnormal movement patterns greatly contribute to scoliosis and in time worsen posture which, if uncorrected, cause structural changes which further affect movement patterns. This knock-on, vicious circle effect commonly seen in scoliosis needs to be corrected to prevent future problems and pain.
Poor posture, from our observations, appears to increase scoliosis. Turned-out feet with almost all the weight on the heels, weak abdominal core muscles with swayback, rounded middle-back, drooped and contracted pectoral, intercostal and diaphragm muscles in the chest and upper abdomen, and forward poking chin affect the scoliosis three-dimensional "corkscrew" curvature experienced and the pain suffered. These abnormal muscle patterns are self-reinforcing and worsen the scoliosis over months and years where the muscles, fascia and connective tissues shorten and contract laterally with joint rotation to adapt to and hold fast the curvatures of the spine.
To be overweight, with looser ligaments and little muscle, hours of slumped sofa-lounging and sitting every day, inactivity and poor posture must be addressed by specific and graduated exercises in conjunction with expert manipulation and physiotherapy.
We work in partnership with you and show you in the mirror your old posture and then, in stark contrast, how to stand with good posture which, with practice and repetition over many weeks, becomes 'reset' in your brain. Many patients become innately proud of their new positive, healthy, upright posture.
Book your posture rehabilitation
Book your Initial Consultation appointment to see posture expert Michael Durtnall for examination for your neuromusculoskeletal and postural diagnosis. Michael works closely with his multidisciplinary team of specialist master physiotherapists to retrain the brain's postural settings, using frequent repetition of precise postural-exercises to correct and rebalance muscles, by mobilising all the joints, muscles, ligaments and fascia affected by scoliosis or poor posture.
Choose your treatment appointments from early mornings to late evenings and Saturday mornings at our Back and Neck pain, and Posture Rehabilitation Clinics EC2, W1 and W8.
Book online 24/7 here or email firstname.lastname@example.org or talk to Alexandra or Lucie on +44 (0)207 937 8978 8am to 8pm
We are always here to help you